Step right up for your dose of XOXpertise! Today’s question: what makes the perfect romantic suspense? Hear what XOXpert Julie W. has to say about Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect.


mrperfectI love reading romance novels, but I also love reading mystery- suspense thrillers, so with romantic suspense I get a combination of both! Win-win. So, over the years, it has become my “go to” genre.

The author that personifies romantic suspense for me is Linda Howard.

While all of Ms. Howard’s books are wonderful, she was on fire when she penned Mr. Perfect. What is it about this novel that makes it stand out?

Jaine just moved into to her new home and discovered her neighbor, Sam, is not only a slob, but is also a class-A jerk. The two get off on the wrong foot right away. But, it turns out Sam is a cop, and he can clean up pretty nice when he wants to. But, Jaine never thought she would need help from a cop until… 

Jaine and her girlfriends are having a girls night out when they get the idea to draw up a list of attributes that would make the perfect man… or “Mr. Perfect”. It was all in good fun, but when the list is made public, the ladies soon find themselves enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame as the list goes viral on the internet. The ladies are a sensation– making the rounds on the morning talk shows and giving interviews.

It’s not all fun and games though when the list causes  relationship problems for a couple of the ladies, and when some men happen to find the list offensive. However, one person in particular has taken it very personally, deciding the authors of the list will need to pay for their perceived crime.

This book is a little older, published in 2000, so there are some areas that may seem just a tad dated with the mention of VCR’s and answering machines, but these are very minor irritants for what could be one of the best romantic suspense novels of all time.

The story has the perfect blend of humor, romance, and suspense with the chemistry and banter between Sam and Jaine being almost pitch-perfect. I swear there was steam coming out of my kindle while I was reading this book and the screen may have fogged over. The most entertaining scene is set against a sexy Dodge Viper car, which was almost like an added character. This scene may go down in the romance novel hall of fame.

“I told you, we haven’t had sex! It was just a kiss.”

“Like the Viper was just a car, and Mount Everest was just a hill.”

While there are many wonderful,  sexy, steamy, and funny parts in this story, the suspense is taut, creepy, and dark. The plot is very twisty and scary, will keep you on the edge of your seat, and is not for the faint of heart!

Linda Howard really sets the bar for romantic suspense with this novel, and if you don’t believe me, head on over to Goodreads, where you will find an entire group dedicated to Linda Howard, plus, if you check out Listopia for top romantic suspense novels, you see Ms. Howard made the list several times over, but not only that, this book is sitting pretty in the number one spot. How’s that for perfect?

Five star rating- 4 star heat level


Julie W. is married with two grown children and has two dogs and three cats. She collects vintage paperbacks and reads, writes reviews, blogs, and promotes across social media. You can read more of Julie’s reviews on her blog The-bookreview.com.