Chasing Trouble by Anne Stuart
Anne Stuart is probably one of my favorite authors. I tend to go to her when I get in a book slump (the Ice and Fire series usually). She bounces around different sub-genres in the romance genre, so she's done romantic-suspense, gothics, historical, contemporaries, etc. This one follows a bit of noir bent (in the sense that it plays with it).
I found this one in my local used bookstore, but some of her older releases can be rough to find! Sometimes she releases a kindle version, so that's been great. She has a lot of books out...like a lot. She's a reader's dream come true. I've seen this likened to Catspaw, and I can see it. It's a bit zanier than that one to me, but I get it!
Title: Chasing Trouble
Author: Anne Stuart
Page Number: 256 pages (paperback)
Genre: romance, fiction, romantic suspense, contemporary romance
SHE LED HIM A MERRY CHASE...
When San Francisco heiress Sally MacArthur's sister absconds with their father's priceless jade falcon, Sam Spade's biggest fan hires the most low-down private eye in the book.
Unshaven, cynical Jack Diamond knows he's crazy to get tangled up with such a woman, whose tale of larceny has more holes in it than a pound of Swiss. But Diamond can't resist the allure of this damsel in distress.
It's a two-way attraction that's as sizzling as the hot water Diamond finds himself in when he takes the case.
Tough guy Diamond is Sally's fantasy detective come to life--a fantasy man who's started spinning a few fantasies of his own.
Sally MacArthur is a rich gal, living in San Francisco. Her younger sister is a bit of a flaky mess, and the younger sister has taken a jade falcon (see, shades of Maltese Falcon!!!) from their father. Sally is also a fan of a noir detective and romantically decides to hire Jack Diamond, a Sam Spade like private detective. Jack is down and out but he's a good detective.
Sally lies a bit to Jack to get him to help her, she's far more aware of the issues around the falcon and her sister. Jack knows she's lying but he's attracted to her and wants to solve the mystery. Plus, like any down and out detective, he needs the money.
There's a lot of action as Jack and Sally search for her sister and the falcon. There's a crime syndicate also looking for the falcon, and they stumble upon Jack. It adds to the intrigue of course.
Stuart is really a master at creating the bad bad-boy hero, Jack doesn't quite fit the mold. He's more cynical and well, noir. He's more Sam Spade. Sally talks a lot but it's strategic in a lot of ways (She talks but doesn't tell you anything). You learn more about her while reading through the story, but Jack has to really investigate to see what makes her tick. She can be a bit annoying and eccentric (she's been engaged a few times but won't kiss her boyfriends).
Even with all the action, the banter between Jack and Sally moves the story along. Stuart is great at creating dialogue. I did enjoy the book, and I realize it was written thirty years ago (oh god...thirty?!). The characters do fit into the mold of romances of the time, so I can ignore that aspect. Sometimes Sally is a bit much, Jack smokes like a freaking chimney. The father (the one who should be concerned about the missing falcon and daughter) is just happy about everything and seems to know it all. I am complaining.... but all these characters could absolutely jump out of a noir mystery. Really, so it's a light complaint.
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