More Recommendations from our Erudite Readers!

Top of the Monday to you. At this hour, only the east coasters and our fabulous Europeans are up and writing, so it’s time for another edition of “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid,” where we throw out a genre type and you recommend reading material for that there style of romance. Not that we’re avoiding the west coasters, since this will be up until Candy wakes up and something romance-related burns her toast. Me, I’m too tired from getting ready to move to get worked up about anything. 

Last time, we did Paranormal: Vampire Romance, so today I thought I’d mix it up and ask for your knowledgeable recommendations for Contemporary Romance: Military/Police/Law Enforcement. All you CSI, NCIS, and Brockmann addicts out there, what regimented authority do you like your heros and heroines to work within, and possibly struggle against?

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  1. 1
    Becca says:

    well, I enjoyed the first few of Catherine Coulter’s FBI books, but they got a bit lame after that, and I really couldn’t believe that some of the characters worked in law enforcement, much less for the notoriously conservative and humorless FBI.

  2. 2
    Lynn M says:

    I’m a shameless Brockmann fangirl, so I recommend pretty much all of her titles. My favorite of her series books (which are hard to find but are being rereleased by MIRA – slowly) are Get Lucky, The Admiral’s Bride, and Harvard’s Education.

    Of her single titles, my favorite is still the first one I read – Out of Control. I think second favorite is Over the Edge. They books do go in order and contain common characters, but I had no problems reading them out of sequence.

    In general, what I love about her stuff are, well, the Navy SEALs. Fascinating group of guys – tough and fearless, intelligent, witty and pretty much sex-on-a-stick to the very last one of them. I’m a big sucker for those save-me stories, and she writes the best of them. Her heroines aren’t simpering waifs but the men still get to be men.

  3. 3
    AngieW says:

    I would second the early Coulter Savich and Sherlock books. I hated the latest one, but I thought the first one especially was good.

    You didn’t include “secret agent” in there but I’m going to stretch the boundaries of the recommendations and suggest Jasmine Cresswell’s book Decoy. I haven’t read the sequal yet, though it’s on my short list.

    And yes, I love those early Brockman Navy Seals, but I’m not a rabid fangirl and I haven’t read the last few.

    Also, for law enforcement- The In Death series by J.D. Robb. They’re an auto-buy for me, even if they are in hardcover.

    Umm…have to look at my bookshelves. More later ;)

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    Please stretch the category and include secret agents, spies, etc.

    Which early Coulters do you guys like?

  5. 5
    AngieW says:

    Uh…just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting Lynn is rabid or anything since she admitted to being a Brockman fangirl. Really, I promise I wasn’t. I didn’t read her comment until after I posted mine.

  6. 6
    Shannon says:

    I’m a rabid and shameless Brockmann fangirl, too, so I HEART her SEALs.  I do like the TDD series more than the TS series, though.  Heroes to die for.

    I also autobuy Catherine Mann’s books.  Her Wingman Warriors (Air Force) are as good as Brockmann’s SEALs.

    I’m terribly burnt out on detectives right now, and I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

  7. 7
    Amanda says:

    I like Brockmann too, but Cathie Linz’s Men of Honor (featuring Marines) series is good. A few of them have stupid ass nicknames, but, hey- no one’s perfect.

  8. 8
    Candy says:

    For secret agents and spies, I recommend Anne Stuart. And now that I have to come up with specific titles, I’m drawing a blank. OF COURSE I’m drawing a blank. It’s Monday, and my stomach is giving me holy hell (fuck you, Ortho Novum 135). Bah.

    Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie is definitely recommended for a less-than-typical take on a cop going through a mini mid-life crisis.

    Hey, are private investigators fair game, too? Because then I’d include What The Lady Wants and Fast Women, also by La Crusie.

    I’ll be back with more to say. Oh you knows it, preciouss.

  9. 9
    Jorie says:

    I’ll be curious to see the recs here.  I’m a huge Brockmann fan, but I don’t, in general, like military/cop/spy books.  They tend to either bore me, or strike me as hugely unrealistic.  And I go bonkers when the hero starts doing uncoplike or unspylike things because he’s falling for the heroine.  (And why do people write blurbs that suggest that just that is going to happen?  Is it a fantasy, that the guy will throw over everything for the girl, including his professionalism?  Okay, going off on a rant here, and exaggerating a bit, but I have run into these problems in my quest to find romantic suspense I enjoy.)

    I did like the one Catherine Mann book I read, but I haven’t picked up more.  That was more family drama than anything else, though.  (I like family drama.)

  10. 10
    Sarah says:

    Jorie, I don’t know if it is a fantasy, but there are a LOT of law enforcement romances that have the law enforcement individual choosing love interest over career, esp. when career has been the only active element of the character’s life. I don’t know who that’s a fantasy for, but it sure isn’t me. I’m fascinated by the romances where the career makes the character who s/he is, and is not necessarily so easily thrown over.

    Which Catherine Mann did you like? Anyone got titles for me?

  11. 11
    Jorie says:

    I liked Under Seige.  The story had a Down’s baby and a teen girl with attitude who made the book for me.  Some good humor, too.

    But I’d be curious to know which Manns are favorites of those who’ve read a lot of her.

  12. 12
    Nicole says:

    Hmmm…I have more on my shelf, but only mentioning the one’s that I’ve actually read.

    Christina Skye’s SEALs series: Code Name: Nanny, Code Name: Princess, and Hot Pursuit.  I think she has more and I have some on my shelf, but these are the one’s that I’ve read and I just LOVED them.

    Alison Kent’s SG-5 series: The Bane Affair, The Shaughnessy Accord, The Samms Agenda, The Beach Alibi, The McKenzie Artifact

    Gennita Low: The Protector

    Joanne Rock (Harlequin Blazes): His Wicked Ways and Silk Confessions

    Dana Marton (Harlequin Intrigues): Shadow Soldier and Secret Soldier

    That’s all I can think of right now.

  13. 13
    Shannon says:

    For Cathy Mann’s, Grayson’s Surrender (the first one) remains my all-time fave of the Wingman Warriors series.  But I’ve enjoyed all of them. 

    And it’s kind of funny, because other than Brockmann’s SEALs, I don’t usually care for military books, and probably wouldn’t have picked up Grayson’s Surrender.  But her debut SIM, Wedding at White Sands, wasn’t military and looked interesting.  I loved it enough to try the next one, even though it was Air Force, and I’m so glad I did.  The only one I haven’t enjoyed is the one she did for a continuity series.  I hate those.

  14. 14
    Robyn says:

    Absolutely ditto on Catherine Mann’s Wingman Warriors.

  15. 15
    Sarah says:

    Ao there are Air Force, Navy, and some Marine romances. I’ve read a few with Army characters – but how come the Coast Guard isn’t sexy enough for romance?!?

  16. 16
    E.D'Trix says:

    **but how come the Coast Guard isn’t sexy enough for romance?!?**

    Au Contraire, mon frere (butchered, I know!). The Craptastically wonderful Lindsay McKenna has written a few coast guard books in her time. Like Diana Palmer, McKenna is a train-wreck that I cannot stop buying. Her old category stuff was actually quite good, but her newer stuff has almost become a parody of herself. Also, she is some sort of homeopathic shaman priestess IRL, so a lot of woo-woo crap has infiltrated her books.

    I have met the woman, she looks like she stepped off a boat from Ireland, but apparently she is DEEP in touch with her Native American roots, so her books often feature dreamwalkers and peyote. In one memorable book the heroine met a Jaguar in the jungle and all but romped in the forest with it. A true WTF moment.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    Romping peyote jaguars? That’s awesome. I assume you mean the feline version and not the overpriced automotive version. With peyote, one never knows. ;)

    And I do indeed stand corrected. I love how people who read our site have guilty pleasures like we do – books that we know are pretty dreadful but we cannot stop buying. The secret shame inside the “secret shame” of romance – which none of us think is a shame in the first place, nor a secret.

  18. 18
    Gail says:

    I love Brockmann and Mann. I’m also a big Merline Lovelace fan when it comes to her Air Force books. Merline is a retired USAF colonel her own self, so you know she knows her stuff. The First Mistake is her most recent, which isn’t really one of my favorites, but is pretty darn good. It’s less romance than some of her earlier stuff. She writes a lot of historicals also—and I think she’s been doing historicals and novellas recently up till this new Cleo North series. Duty and Dishonor, which is a ‘97 release is absolutely wonderful.

    Catherine Mann: Anything, Anywhere, Anytime—very good.

    Vicki Hinze’s stuff is good. Acts of Honor is on my keeper shelf. (Half my keepers are in boxes in the garage and I can’t go look, but this one’s inside.)

    Susan Anderson has some cop/private eye books. One of my favorites is Be My Baby (‘99). Heroine is opening a hotel in New Orleans for the family company and is plagued by weird thefts. Hero is the local cop assigned to the case. It’s a great story, and I’ve enjoyed all of her more recent romantic-comedy-suspense books. Her earliest ones had less humor, but still good reads. Her most recent is Hot & Bothered, which has a PI in it and is quite a good read.

    The New Orleans angle brings up Michele Jerott and Michele Albert which is (are?) really only one Michele. Same person. She apparently lives in New Orleans, because most of her books are set there, most of them have cops (or Private investigators) and most all of them are great fun to read. Getting Her Man is one of them, I liked Off Limits a bit better. Both were great.

    I think I’ll stop there. (But I also enjoyed Still Mr. & Mrs. by Mary McBride)

    Gail

  19. 19
    Darlene says:

    >>How come the Coast Guard isn’t sexy enough for romance?< <

    It was in _Smuggler’s Bride_.  Of course, that was the early Coast Guard, the Revenue Marine, but it’s the same red-headed stepchild of the armed forces.  The Coast Guard is a great service to write about. Not only were they were giving women combat positions early on (1970’s) but because unlike the other branches of the military, the Coast Guard fights in peace time on American soil so there’s a lot of action to draw on.

    The downside is much of the early Coast Guard history was lost in a devastating Washington fire, and the CG has always had to deal with finding its place as something other than “the Treasury’s pet navy”.

  20. 20
    AngieW says:

    Oh my Gosh, yes on the Susan Anderson recommendation. I love that book- Be My Baby- one of my comfort reads. I enjoy many of her romantic suspense books but am too lazy to look up specific titles right now. I also second the Jennifer Crusie recommendations!

    No one has mentioned Linda Howard yet. A few that come to mind straight off and the first two are some of my favorite re-reads as well- Dream Man (the hero is a cop, heroine a psychic), Kill and Tell (set in New Orleans, hero is a cop), and All the Queen’s Men (hero is a CIA agent and first appears in Kill and Tell)

    Elizabeth Lowell- Tell Me No Lies is one of my favorite all time books and the hero is an ex-secret agent. I like all of Elizabeth Lowell’s romantic suspense including the books with gems in their names and her newer stuff as well.

    You asked for a specific Catherine Coulter title, the first one is The Maze and by far, my favorite!

    Umm…I guess the last ones I can think of right now are the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce- the heroine is a private investigator and the hero (in the early books) is a police officer/commissioner. I know saying I like these books will get me flamed on some message boards, but I like these books and look forward to the next release.

  21. 21
    Sarah says:

    Ok, Angie, I have to ask – what is it about Dream Man that makes you go back and reread it? I have to admit, that book almost landed twenty feet offshore into the ocean when I read it, but I really want to hear why you like it, since in other regards we have similar taste.

  22. 22
    Lynn M says:

    LOL, Angie. I *am* a rabid fan, so I think even though you didn’t mean me, the description fits.

    And thanks to all of you, I think I’m going to have to check out some of Catherine Mann’s Wingman Warrior books. If she’s as good as Brockmann, yay!

  23. 23
    AngieW says:

    Damn you Sarah, you had to ask. Okay, one of my secret addictions is books where the men make false assumptions about the heroine and have to grovel a little and then the heroine almost dies or is in perilous danger and the hero is feeling terror and angst that he might lose her and the forever love they share. I eat that shit up. So yeah, it probably, in hindsight, might not be a great book but I LOVE it that Dane is such an egotistical jerk and is a little mean to her because he’s always got a hard on when she’s around but he’s convinced she’s a liar. And then he gets all alpha, dominant male on her. 

    And now, thanks to Sarah, my sick little obsession is out of the closet and you all know that I enjoy it when the heroine is on the edge of losing her life. And it’s even better if she actually gets shot or something.

    Anyone want to donate to my therapy fund?

    And do you know how many LOL’s I deleted from my explanation? At least two but it might have been three. Damn Smart Bitches ;) < —- the winking smiley is still allowed, right?

  24. 24
    Candy says:

    Angie, you’re not alone in your sick, sick love of heroines who are misunderstood and mistreated by the hero and then have a near death experience and the hero’s all “NOOOOOO DAMN YOU SALAZAR” and shakes fist at sky and then is all “I LURRRVE YOU BEAUTIFUL ONE DON’T LEAVE ME SOB SOB.” Because possibly my favorite romance novel of all time, The Windflower? Devon at first assumes Merry is his Most Heinous Enemy’s mistress, then he assumes she’s some sort of spy, and all the while she’s a prisoner his pirate ship and squeaky with distress and innocence and shit, and then she comes down with yellow fever. And nearly dies. And Devon? He realizes how very much he loves her, but then he finds out something else about her and starts treating her like shit again but then he finds out why she did what she did AND he also finds out the truth about her and the last 20-25% of the book is him grovelling and feeling bad. Whee!

    Anyway. Think there’s group therapy for broads like us?

    That said: I still think Linda Howard is a terrible writer. But you’re not a terrible person for loving her books, because then I’d have to beat up on my older sister too, and I love my older sister, man, she’s awesome.

  25. 25
    Mary says:

    For military, Merline Lovelace
    Single Titles:
    Call of Duty
    Duty and Dishonor
    Line of Duty
    Spy(s):
    Series: Code Name Danger
    Night of the Jaguar
    The Cowboy and the Cossack
    Undercover Man
    Perfect Double
    Hot as Ice
    Texas Hero
    To Love a Theif
    She writes a lot of Military/Spy novels, including Contemporary, Historical, Roman, and at least one time travel. Great author I found when her first single title came out.

    Olga Bicos
    Perfect Timing

    Suzanne Forster
    Undercover spy(s)
    Blush
    Innocence

    Tami Hoag
    FBI:
    Night Sins
    Guilty as Sin (Technically this is the lawyer side, but it is a sequel and NOT to be missed if you’ve read the first book)

    Just a few no one has mentioned.

  26. 26
    senetra says:

    I’m going to third Susan Andersen, but for an older one, Exposure, featuring hook-handed Sheriff Elvis Donnelly. It’s a romantic suspense (not my fave genre) taking place in Washington State.

    I also recommend Loaded by Shari Shattuck. Evan Paley is an LAPD detective invesigating the attempted murder of Cally Wilde, a former coke addict whose father died and cut everyone out of his will except her. The sequel, Lethal, was just released, but in trade format.

  27. 27
    AngieW says:

    I would actually give a tentative second to the Shari Shattuck novel. I think some people might find it slow going at first but I was really diggin’ the heroine by the end of the book. It grabbed me. And I’m glad to hear there’s a sequel. I’m going to have to order it.

    Sarah, I’m glad you’re not going to throw me out of the Bitches Club for my love of Linda Howard. I had nightmares about that last night. Yes, I love me a good groveling hero who believes he’s going to lose his girl. We all have our crosses to bear ;)

  28. 28
    Sarah says:

    Angie you are totally welcome to the sanctun bitchinorum, and really, a good hero grovel is Sooooo satisfying, especially when the hero in question has acted like a first-rate assmonkey for half the book. You’re damn right you need to grovel. You need to grovel to ME, too, not just her! go on, BEG! *sigh* very satisfying!

    My problem with Dream Man is the peculiar habit of all of Howard’s heroines – they hop into the sack and into a described-as-heart-pounding romance with very little build up. On top of that, the hero in DM treats the heroine so poorly that all of his grovelling was hard to accept. I mean, he hates her because she gives him a boner? You’d think he’d be able to be more careful where he points that thing.

    But what really got me was when he gets this raging woodrow while she describes a very real, very gory, and very detailed crime in which someone gets stabbed to death – and he’s… pitching a tent? Eeeeeeeyew.

    Now, that all being only my opinion, I confess to also loving it when a hero who is redeemable (which Dane wasn’t, imnsho) grovels. It’s like that episode of “Mad About You” where Paul has a virtual reality experience of rubbing lotion on Elle McPherson’s back, and Jamie uses her time to have a virtual reality Paul say over and over, in different scenarios, “I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I was wrong. I was not correct. I was wrong.” HA! Love the grovel. LOVE it.

  29. 29
    Maili says:

    I can’t believe my mind is blanking on me. Let me think … *squeeze eyes shut* 

    Theresa Weir – Bad Karma
    Marilyn Pappano – Murphy’s Law
    Debra Dixon – Bad to the Bone
    Michele Jerott – Absolute Trouble
    Sandra Canfield/Karen Keast – Conquer the Night [the heroine is a psychologist who helps the cop hero to deal with his issues over a traumatic [and unusual] incident [spoiler:

    his male police partner – a married man – was raped]

    Nikki Camden – The Nekkid Truth [crappy title, but great and unusual novella]

    OK, my brain’s on the blink now. :D

  30. 30
    Maili says:

    Bummer. That didn’t work. Oh, well. Sorry about that.

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