Imprint or Line: Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme #159
Published by: Dell
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
SPOILER ALERT ⚠
There’s intrigue, murder, and a long-ago love affair between a teenage girl and a much older, close family friend.
Events lead to a dramatic and happy conclusion in this so-so-category romance.
The Characters and the Set-Up
Tracy Kuger has come to New York for her father’s funeral. Who was her father? He was Jesse Kuger, Liar’s Moon’s version of The Beatle’s John Lennon. Only in Liar’s Moon, these Beatles consisted of Jesse, Leif, Tiger, and Sam, and they called themselves The Limelights.
(Incidentally, this was also the name of a string of nightclubs run by entrepreneur and Ecstasy kingpin Peter Gatien. The most (in)famous of the clubs was located in an old, converted church in Manhattan. Lots of memories for me from the mid-1990s! Today it’s a gym. Do techno dance clubs even exist anymore? I’m old, so I don’t know about these things.)
Tracy’s father was inexplicably killed, and his murderer was shot dead by police in a subsequently prompt fashion.
Tracy’s instincts tell her this was not the work of a mere maniacal fan.
Leif Johnson was Jesse’s best friend. Years before the book starts, a “sexually precocious” yet virginal Tracy threw herself at Leif, and he being the mature Rock Star that he was, just couldn’t say no to his BFF’s daughter.
Tragedy and circumstances forced Tracy into exile to Switzerland for seven years. The Tracy who returns from Europe to bury her father is now a thriving and (supposedly) independent businesswoman.
The plot may be uncomfortable for readers who dislike significant age differences. Tracy was 17 years old when she “seduced” Leif, who was in his late 30s. But she came on to him, not the other way around! You can’t blame the guy, right?
Complicating matters is that Tracy became pregnant from the fling. As a result, her parents conspired to make Tracy believe her baby died at birth.
Then they shipped the baby off to Leif, who raised his son with his wife Celia, whom he deeply loved. The reader knows from the opening pages about Leif’s happy marriage, even as his dreams are haunted by images of an alluring Tracy in the moonlight.
Leif (with a name like Leif, you’d think he’d be a blond, but no, he’s a dark and hirsute stud) is concerned for Jesse’s children’s safety. He, too, suspects the killing was not an isolated incident. Jesse’s 20-year-old son Jamie is an up-and-coming musician whom Leif has taken under his wing.
And of course, there is Tracy (an independent woman, remember?), who does not need Leif’s role as her–ahem–guardian. But guard her he will, whether she likes it or not.
Leif and Tracy are still hot for one another, and passion rears its purple head. All the while, danger lurks as the pair search for clues to the mystery.
Someone had reason to murder Jesse, who wasn’t the saintly icon everyone painted him as being. Assembled together is a cast of assorted characters, with members of the old band, friends, and family forming a list of potential killers.
In the end, major revelations come to light, the bad guy’s identity is revealed, and he/she receives their punishment.
The lovers get their happy-ever-after ending.
However, the conclusion left me feeling like I’d been forced to swallow a pint of sour, curdled milk.
Liar’s Moon has “sort of” an icky plot with a big age gap between the main characters. But that wasn’t the icky part of it.
What skeeved me out was Leif’s role as the best friend of Tracy’s father. He was practically an uncle to Jesse’s kids.
Even worse is how Leif rides roughshod over Tracy. He confronts her with the truth about their “dead” baby in a sadistically cruel manner. Leif dismisses Tracy’s pain over the perceived loss, then forcefully demands Tracy be his wife.
Finally, Leif introduces Tracy to her own child as the boy’s new stepmother. A cheerful epilogue doesn’t make up for Leif’s atrocious behavior.
Final Analysis of The Book
Liar’s Moon was an angsty read, for sure. Regardless, the unheroic hero’s faults were too numerous to overlook. I mean, how could Graham name the main male character Leif and not make him blond? Unforgivable.
Still, Heather Graham is a solid author, even when writing for a restrictive category line. I can’t blame her for trying.
Liar’s Moon is an alright story that could have been better if the hero hadn’t been such a pompous and domineering jerk.
|Rating Report Card|
She’d been a wild teenager willing to risk anything for revenge. But when she seduced Leif Johnston, she hadn’t counted on falling in love…hadn’t believed her family would intervene and sweep her off to Switzerland.
Seven years later, Tracy Kuger was a successful, independent woman. But her determination to find her father’s killer would carry her right back into New York’s deceiving limelight…into the treacherous bosom of her powerful family…into Leif’s lean, hungry arms. Passion and peril bound them together even as doubts and dangerous secrets tore them apart.
Tormented by the past, could Tracy face the truth and embrace the future—a love born under a liar’s moon?LIAR’S MOON by HEATHER GRAHAM