Chasing Trouble by Anne Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I can always count on Anne Stuart for a good read, and I'm glad to say that this book was another winner. It was written as a clear hommage to noir movies, from the heroine Sally's fascination with Bogart, Bacall, Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler to the cynical lines uttered by the jaded hero P.I. Diamond. Gotta love that! :)
Diamond smoked too much, drank too much and lived a life-style that was as foreign as it was romantic, but he was so charming doing it that I couldn't help falling for him. Obviously, it was only a matter of time before he changed his ways due to Sally's "nagging", and it was fun to watch him trying to fight that lost battle.
Sally was kind of ditzy, prone to lying and, let's say it, acted TSTL at times, but I ended up loving her anyway. Probably because she drove Diamond nuts, making room for a lot of funny banter between them. Bottom line, Diamond and Sally's interaction was what made this story work for me.
The plot was a bit convoluted, with a few twists thrown here and there, but it was in sync with the film noir setting so I'm guessing that was planned and not a result of "bad writing". As for the ending, the final showdown with the bad guys wasn't as thrilling as I had expected it to be, but Ms. Stuart made up for it later with Diamond's delightful proposal:
"James," she said in a broken little voice. "You really do love me, don't you?"
He'd almost reached her. "I thought you'd already figured that out. Who else could make me give up cigarettes and hooch?"
"You said you wouldn't love me till 1999."
"I'm a quick learner. So what's it gonna be, doll? Marriage to a shamus like me, or a life full of empty pleasures? Name your poison."
"Diamond," she said happily, "I'm yours."
And so am I, honey!
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