Murphy Park is a suspense romance novel set in 1980s Los Angeles and revolving around the relationship challenges of a Southern girl and her rock-star boyfriend.
Small town schoolteacher Clair Christopher is abandoned at the altar and moves from her home in Natchez Mississippi, to California to start over. The first week, while escaping an assailant, she runs in front of a car driven by rock-star Mack Fielding and is injured. He insists she recover at his Brentwood mansion, where the two quickly realize they are in love.
Both are mistrustful of relationships, and continual misunderstandings arise. Complicating matters is a stalker who attempts to abduct and rape Clair. Meanwhile, Mack contracts the mumps, is sterile, and hesitates to propose marriage. Clair, in turn, hides headaches that are actually symptoms of a brain aneurysm. After a failed bombing attempt by the stalker, Clair and Mack marry, face a difficult pregnancy and Clair’s brain surgery with memory loss.
This novel fits the dictates of the genre with its engaging hero and heroine, a love connection, difficulties to surmount and a happy ending. Sadly, it lacks the deep emotional core conflict that romance readers expect. While the storyline is compelling, the relentless pace of dramatic events leaves readers no time to catch their breath. The characters are well described and believable but any development is lost in the continual upheaval.
The dialogue is wonderfully snappy “No…let me start over. You won’t be able to button your blouse…” “Are you volunteering for that, too?” Unfortunately, there is far too little dialogue and far too many lengthy paragraphs of narrative that simply push the story forward.
This book has most of the necessary elements for a satisfying read, but depth is sacrificed for a fever-pitched narrative. Romance readers might enjoy the story if they are looking for a fast read with little emotional connection, but general fiction readers will do best to look elsewhere.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.