Ballantine, May 2002, 25.95, 312 pp.
She's young, beautiful and sensual. Sarah Stevens is the perfect butler cum bodyguard for retired federal Judge Roberts who has received numerous death threats during his time on the bench. When two burglars break into the judge's home, Sarah disarms them by tripping one thief and landing a knock out punch on the other. When Detective Cahill arrives on the scene, he's immediately attracted to Sarah and she to him, but they both fight it because of previous hurts and future plans.
Sarah's crime fighting stills displayed in her current assignment land her on the television news that leads to her coming to the attention of a wealthy businessman who decides he wants her all to herself. Towards that end, he tenders a job offer but when she turns it down he kills her employer, hoping Sarah will reconsider his offer. At first Detective Cahill considers her a suspect. When she is cleared they enter into a relationship that is destroyed when a second murder occurs. Again Sarah is the prime suspect. It is at this point that the stalker/killer makes his move.
Aside from her unique profession, the heroine is so self composed, content with her life, and sure that she can protect herself in any given situation that the audience can't help but adore her. The story line of DYING TO PLEASE is a fun combination police procedural–romantic suspense tale that has plenty of allure to attract readers of both sub-genres. Linda Howard is at her all time best in this crime thriller that is filled with plenty of action, suspense and romance, giving it a mainstream appeal.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner