Warner, $6.99, ISBN 0-446-61146-8
Historical Romantic Suspense, 2003
It’s 1929. Jill Jones, the wildcat of Rainwater, is actually a rather prim and proper heroine who is in town to take care of her ailing aunt Justine and Justine’s hotel. Her appearance attracts the attention of the town playboy Hunter Westfall. Justine’s antagonist is Lloyd Madison who becomes Dorothy Garlock’s favorite catch-all villain. Every sin, every crime, it’s all Lloyd’s fault.
Jill’s brother asks their childhood buddy Thad Taylor to check up on her, and next thing I know, Thad and Jill are bickering like really childish twits. He calls her a slut, mocks her unmarried status, hints that she is infertile, and does many childish things to get her temper boiling. She gives back good, being equally childish in speech and antics, and there’s more than one attempt from her to give him the bitch slap. Personally, I would love to see those two bitch slap each other because they are a pair of supremely annoying kids who really could use a time-out.
There are murder, skanky victims, plots against Justine and hotel, and more, but Ms Garlock doesn’t even try to hide the fact that everything is Lloyd’s fault. So there’s really no suspense, nothing. There is a more interesting secondary romance between two friends of our lead players here, interesting because unlike Thad and Jill, Blue and Radna approach their developing relationship with some measure of maturity, and also because unlike Thad and Jill who are one-dimensional characters, Blue and Radna have skeletons in their closets to make things interesting.
At the end of the day though, A Place Called Rainwater is more like a plate of dishwater: annoying, uninteresting, and dull dull dull. A little less black-and-white characters and a little more subtlety will have made this story more interesting.