Monday, July 11, 2011

Review of Adrienne Giordano’s Man Law

My favorite man law? Number 18 – Never mess with a man’s grill. And no, that’s not a euphemism. A man’s appliances and gadgets are apparently hands off to buddies, and so is his sister, which causes a ton of problems in Adrienne Giordano’s Man Law. Men have a lot of unwritten rules that make little or no sense to women, and Vic Andrews, security consultant, seems to follow ALL these rules. I’m willing to bet good money that if he went to the movies with a buddy, they’d leave an empty seat between them, just so there are nooooo misunderstandings. Vic is definitely a tough guy, but he’s also funny, sweet, and endearing. Just don’t tell him that!
Adrienne Giordano’s debut novel, Man Law, is a romantic suspense, and it’s definitely a winner. My mother-in-law loves to read romantic suspense, and I can't wait to recommend it to her. The novel begins on a beach, with our hero Vic Andrews realizing that he’s in deep trouble, because he just hooked up with his best friend’s sister, Gina Delgado. Never mess with a man’s sister is one of these deeply entrenched man laws Vic follows, but this is the second time he and Gina have hooked up, and it’s starting to get complicated. Gina is a 35 year old widow of a deceased firefighter, so she knows all about the constant stress of worrying for her loved ones, plus she’s got 3 kids to raise without their father. The last thing she needs is to get involved with Vic, whose spent years working under dangerous conditions. To make matters worse, Vic has just learned that a terrorist is targeting him in retaliation for taking out his younger brother, which  places Gina and her three kids in some serious danger. You’ll definitely be rooting for Vic and Gina, as they work through an emotional minefield while fighting off this terrorist’s vendetta.
There are so many things to love about this novel, but the characters really sold it for me, especially the male ones. This book reminded me a lot of what I enjoyed in Shannon Stacey’s Yours to Keep – the male characters sound like real guys, laughing at each other and giving their buds a hard time over women. The titular man laws make numerous appearances as we watch Vic Andrews, tough guy extraordinaire, go down for the count, and it’s fun to watch him break almost all of them when dealing with Gina. Never admit you’re wrong? – I’m pretty sure this one’s written in stone for guys, but Vic manages to break it and live to fight and love another day. It’s clear throughout the novel that Vic’s never had problems with the ladies, but his long-time friendship with Gina’s brother Mike means that he’s known her for a long time. He clearly respects Gina, but he also finds her smokin’ hot, and as a widowed mother of 3, that’s just what she needs! The scenes where Vic calls out Gina’s teenage son Matt and tells him that he’ll just have to deal with Vic’s presence in their lives are perfect, and make me wonder if Ms. Giordano has her own teenage son, because Matt is super cranky and sullen about his Mom’s new boyfriend.
Gina is one of the more likeable heroines I’ve read in a while. She’s 35, has 3 kids, and has been widowed for 4 years. She’s starting to realize that she’s buried Gina the woman in favor of Gina the mother, and I think a lot of women can relate to that. Her grief over her husband’s death is an important part of the story, because she has plenty of doubts about starting something with someone who, like her husband, makes a living in a dangerous profession. However, she’s clearly moving in a positive direction, and it’s a pleasure to see her take charge of her sexuality while dealing with kids and pressure from her loving family.
I found the pacing of the book to be just right. We learn about the threat to Vic and his loved ones almost immediately in the novel, and the tension is maintained throughout, but there are realistic breaks in the action to develop the relationship between the leads. There are some real nail-biting moments and one gut-wrenching one that I won’t spoil for you, but the intensity of the action is where it should be. The reactions of Vic and the other characters to the powerful events that take place come across as highly believable, and the suspense hanging over them all will keep you on the edge of your seat.
If I had to quibble about anything in the book, it would be that the last action sequence was almost anti-climatic because of the intensity of the sequence prior to it. That prior sequence packed a much more powerful emotional punch, and the last seemed to be almost an afterthought, although it did resolve everything nicely. Additionally, Gina’s second son Jake seemed almost superfluous at times, since Gina’s other two children are much more central to the plot and more clearly developed. I’m not sure that she needed to have three children in this novel, although we certainly get the sense of how harried she is as a single mother.
In short, I really enjoyed Ms. Giordano’s book and highly recommend it. This is the first in her Private Protectors series, with the second one (A Just Deception) coming out in September 2011. I’m hoping that her ebook sales will be strong enough to warrant a print release some time next year, as Man Law is a strong beginning to a new series. You can buy Man Law at Amazon and the Carina Press website.
I received this book for review from the publisher, Carina Press, through NetGalley.

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