Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Perfect Couple by Brenda Novak

The Perfect Couple by Brenda Novak


A mother faces her greatest fear.

Zoe Duncan’s thirteen-year-old daughter goes missing from her own backyard while she's home sick from school. The police suspect Samantha’s a runaway—she’s not happy about her mother’s upcoming marriage—but Zoe knows Sam would never do that.

Terrified of losing the person she loves most, Zoe is willing to do anything to bring Sam home, even if it means giving up her job, her nice home and her relationship with the man she thought she wanted….

A detective faces his hardest case.

Jonathan Stivers is a private investigator who donates his time to The Last Stand, a victims’ charity in Sacramento. He’s good at what he does, the best. Which is why he’s called on to help Zoe Duncan find her missing daughter. But never has he had fewer leads to work with—or been more attracted to a client. He’s sure of only one thing: Sam was taken by someone close to the family. He doesn’t realize how close until he realizes that the “perfect” couple next door is anything but…

Brenda Novak wrote the Last Stand series in two parts. The first three books, Trust Me, Stop Me and Watch Me are about the three women who opened the Last Stand, a non-profit that helps victims of violent crimes. The first three books were their stories and I was completely captivated by them, reading all three in a weekend.

After I finished them I learned three more books had been written, The Perfect Couple, The Perfect Liar and The Perfect Murder. They all have ties to the first three but are very different.

The Perfect Couple was a good book but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first three books in the series. This time the book is much more about the villains then the members of the Last Stand. Jonathan, a private detective who has been a major help to the Last Stand is the tie in this time and while he is a major character he isn’t the focus.

He is helping a woman, Zoe, whose daughter was kidnapped by her neighbors, although she has no idea her daughter is so close. Naturally Jonathan and Zoe are attracted to each other and the moments they share are some of my favorite in the book.

Tiffany and Colin are the seemingly perfect couple next door who have more than a few secrets. None of this is a spoiler since you find out they are the kidnappers from the very beginning. What Novak does so well is tell the story with shifting points of view. We see the story from every character’s point of view which is both interesting and adds to the suspense. When Zoe is in the same house as her missing daughter you want to scream at her because she is sharing a meal with the kidnappers and we are getting the story from every possible angle.

While the changing points of view is consistent with the first three books, we get way more of the villains in The Perfect Couple and somehow is took something away for me. I really liked Jonathan as the link the The Last Stand but I didn’t get enough of him. He was completely overshadowed by Colin and Tiffany and their crazyness.

I think as a stand alone novel I would have really enjoyed The Perfect Couple but because I was expecting it to follow the same pattern as the first three books I didn’t like it as much. I am hoping that I will be able to readjust my expectations and enjoy the final two books in the series.

This book goes toward my Summer Break Reading Challenge.

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