Danger in a Red Dress by Christina Dodd
published by New American Library (Signet) in March 2009
Home care nurse Hannah Grey is dedicated to her patient, an aging widow still tainted by the financial scandal her late husband perpetrated. She makes Hannah promise that upon her death, she'll right the family's wrongs, and gives Hannah her offshore account's access codes.Genre: romantic suspense
But Carrick Manly will do anything to discover where his family's fortunes lie- including kill his own mother. Fearing for her life, and desperate not to betray the widow, Hannah flees. And when Carrick's half-brother, Gabriel, tracks her down in Houston, Hannah must trust her own instincts-and her heart-to survive.
Series: Fortune Hunter series/The Lost Texas Heart, book #4
Nath: Hmmm, it’s been a while since I read this book. I will need to refresh my memory about it. What did you think of it, Jill?
Jill: Okay, I had some major issues with Danger in a Red Dress, most of them stemming from Gabriel. The main stumbling block was Gabriel's complete distrust of Hannah and yet still being attracted to and lusting after her. I didn't understand his motivation. If he thought that Hannah was a killer and a whore, why on earth would he be attracted to her? What made it even worse was that after he watched hours upon hours of security footage of Hannah, he still couldn't decide if Hannah was a good person or not. What a dolt! I also didn't like that he was always lying to Hannah and never felt compelled to tell her the truth.
Nath: What can I say. A man is a man – Gabriel was simply not thinking with the right part of his body, LOL. However, I got to agree with you about Gabriel. I actually thought he was really bland – that he didn’t have much of a personality. Like you, the fact that he was attracted to someone he thought was a murderer and a whore annoyed me. What was the most frustrating was that he watched the videos, he saw how Mrs Manly treated Hannah. Mrs Manly actually liked Hannah... I mean, seriously, Gabe, how dumb can you be?
Jill: You describe Gabe perfectly - BLAND. Exactly. He just didn't work for me at all in any way. He was a complete idiot to believe the lies about Hannah, even when the truth is slapping him in the face. He was the worst part of the book for me.
Nath: Nod nod. Gabe just went through the motion. For an action man, it took it lots and lots of time :(
What did you think of the heroine then? I liked Hannah and I loved the way she handled herself. At the same time, I think that she took some bad decisions and should have been more cautious. You might not care about what others think about you, but no matter what, it’ll have repercussions on you.
Jill: I actually liked Hannah. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I loved how she handles the family of the man whom she nursed after he leaves her an inheritance. I also have to give Dodd credit for making Hannah's ears stick out. I love that Hannah had some flaws and wasn't just picture perfect or a supermodel.
Nath: I really hated how people just assumed that because Hannah was given a part of the inheritance, it must be because she performed sexual favors or manipulated these old people. I mean, it's obvious that if you treat someone badly and here comes a nurse who really takes care of you, she'll get something. Actually, the family should give them something... 25$?!? Seriously, that's how much you value your father?!?! Shame on you!!! So that bothered me a whole lot.
Jill: I wasn't as bothered by the first family’s reaction to Hannah. I just brushed them off. I mean they were just a bunch of jerks, greedy and arrogant. But yes, Hannah should have handled it smarter than she did.
Nath: One of the characters worth mentioning was Mrs Manly. I loved Carrick's mother. She was a hard person and unapologetic for it. She was also very cunning, LOL :)
Jill: Mrs. Manly was a hoot. I also like her a lot and enjoyed reading her scenes. She was not afraid to speak her mind nor was she ever going to apologize for it. I was completely surprised by the truth about Carrick's father. I didn't see that one coming!
Nath: I certainly didn't expect what happened to Mr. Manly. That was a pleasant surprise I have to admit. I mean, not only was Mrs Manly a hoot, but she was clever and smart - imagine, all the people she tricked... her husband, the feds, her son. Just unfortunate she had to die... but then, at the same time, I don't think a character like her believes in redemption.
I have to admit, my biggest disappointment was that Carrick turned out to be a bad guy and an ass :( He looked/sounded cute in the first book and there weren't really any foreshadowing that his character would be bad, so it was a major bummer.
Jill: I had never met Carrick before. I guess I missed reading the book he showed up in. Actually, I know I haven't read all the books in both series, so that is partly why I was lost.
Nath: Anyway, I think that Carrick appeared only in book 1, Trouble in High Heels... and he was mention in others.
I was also kind of disappointed at how it ended it. I thought the ending with all the family members showing up… well, it kind of sucked. Not only was it confusing, but a bit unnecessary at this point. Was it ever told how Gabe found his foster sisters?
Jill: You bring up a very valid point - It wasn't really touched on in any details of how Gabe reunited with his sisters. What I remember is that he was adopted into that family when he was 11 - 13 and then the parents died and he went into foster care. As to how he found his sisters I can't remember. I think I only read one of the books from that series and I can't remember which sister's story it was.
I thought the end was a little confusing with all the extended family members. I couldn't for the life of me figure out who was who. I know that this book was a wrap up of two series. It just seemed a little confusing at times.
Nath: For a second, I was wondering why you said "both" series... but now I get it. Ohhhhhh! LOL, the lightbulb just went on! I didn't realize this was a wrap-up to another series! Ah well, I guess now I understand why Ms. Dodd didn't really touch on Gabe reuniting with the sisters - it probably took place in the other series. In which case, it makes for an even messier ending.
Ugh, it’s so unfortunate that I didn’t really like Danger in a Red Dress because I do enjoy Ms. Dodd’s writing. I have to say though the storylines are just not working for me. Nothing is clear-cut... She likes writing ambiguous characters - male and female, but most of the time, it's missing this likable factor. I mean, seriously, no matter how good the storyline is, if the readers don't like the characters... It feels to me that she is trying too hard to revive the "jerk" factor à la Anne Stuart and Linda Howard...
Jill: I didn't look at it like that, but if you do compare her to Anne Stuart or Linda Howard, you’re right. Her heroes just don't measure up, at least not in this book. But I do like that her characters are ambiguous, it can make for a more interesting read.
I will say that even though the last few of Dodd's books I’ve read haven't been great, I keep coming back for more. I really do like her writing style. It's fast paced, and usually the characters are captivating. Danger in a Red Dress had very good pacing and there was a lot to keep me turning the pages, but I HATED Gabriel and that was a killer for me.
I think I am going with a C- for this one.
Nath: I agree with your grade, C- it is for me as well.