With the flair for sizzling romantic suspense that has made her books international bestsellers, Elizabeth Adler, whose work has been hailed by critics as "mesmerizing" Internet Bookwatch, "exhilarating" Publishers Weekly, and "sensuous" Kirkus Reviews, is at the top of her form with her latest novel, All or Nothing.
Lithe, leggy attorney and law professor Marla Cwitowitz is dying for some excitement in her life--that is, other than being the girlfriend of Al Giraud, private detective, sexy soul mate, and all-around best friend. So when she sees the potential for a crime-solving spree, she jumps at the chance to moonlight as a detective. According to the evening news, local real estate agent Laurie Martin is missing and presumed dead. Marla and Al happened to have seen her dining with an attractive man several days before her disappearance. The man is Steve Mallard, loyal husband, doting father, and prime suspect. But Marla senses that something is not quite right. And her intuition has never let her down. Believing that there's more to the story than meets the eye, she takes matters into her own hands, vowing to get to the bottom of what's beginning to look like a very complex case. Al wants Marla to stay out of the way, fearing for her safety. He knows what's involved in detective work, and he's not sure she can hold her own as an investigator. But she won't be warned off this case. Their relationship has never been more fraught with complications--or sexual sizzle. With little warning or preparation, the two find themselves crisscrossing the United States in frantic pursuit of a remorseless criminal in an effort to prove Mallard's innocence. Finally Marla's found the excitement she's been looking for. With her, it's always been all or nothing.
Best-selling romantic thriller author Adler (Now or Never; Sooner or Later) trots out a pair of lovebirds on the trail of a serial killer in her 12th novel. Hollywood Hills private investigator Al Giraud hails from New Orleans's wrong side of the tracks; a tough-talking dick, he's as much a lover as a sleuth. Marla Cwitowitz is the gorgeous 30-something lawyer who's crazy about him and, after wheedling Al to give her assistant PI status, becomes his partner both on and off the job. They are a stereotypically mismatched couple: Al asks high-class law professor Marla, "What the hell d'ya see in me An uneducated bum, an ex-cop, a two-bit P.I. A lovely woman like you " But Marla adores his street smarts, dinner conversation, and lovemaking skills, and she's thrilled at the thought of working with her man investigating murders. The trouble begins when a real estate agent, California golden girl Laurie Martin, disappears. Burly detective Lionel Bulworth and his brazen assistant Pamela "Pow!" Powers believe Laurie's client Steve Mallard--whose job is forcing him to relocate his Los Angeles-based family to San Diego--is the guilty party. None too coincidentally, Al and Marla happened to notice Laurie and Steve together before the alleged murder. As far as they could tell, Laurie and Steve were not romantically involved, which does away with the cops' theory that Steve killed Laurie in a jealous rage. Steve's wife, the level-headed Vicki, hires Al and Marla to prove her husband's guilt or innocence. Inevitably, they tangle with the killer, and everyone's melodramatic gamble is the inspiration for the title clich . Occasionally evocative imagery counteracts irritating and incessant brand name-dropping and superficial characterizations. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 09, 2000
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Excerpt from All or Nothing by Elizabeth Adler
Al Giraud, Private Investigator, was sitting in the bar of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, eating miniature pretzels and drinking a Samuel Adams dark ale, contemplating life and the fact that he couldn't have a cigarette while waiting for the always late woman in his life.
It had been nine months since he had last smoked. Enough time to give birth to a pack of Camels, he thought, resignedly crunching down another pretzel. That was Marla for you. How come he'd let this woman have so much influence on his life? He glanced down at his old, faded jeans, short-sleeved plaid shirt, scuffed boots and the ancient snakeskin belt with the rearing mustang silver buckle, bought decades ago in his hometown of New Orleans. Then he grinned. At least she hadn't yet managed to change his style.
Al had become a P.I. the hard way. The easier way would have been to become a criminal.
He was raised by his mother in one of the poorer parts of town, along with her five other boys. Somehow she managed to keep them out of trouble, though later he wondered how. It would have been easy for him to drift over to the other side into a criminal way of life. "The easy life," his friends called it temptingly. He'd had a few scrapes with the law, hung in there, though, and finished high school, got a job immediately to help with the family's finances. Then one of his brothers was killed in a drive-by shooting. Al's sorrow and rage was such he wanted to go right out and kill the guy who'd done it, he wanted revenge so bad it hurt. His mom talked him out of it. "Two wrongs don't make anything right, son," she had told him through her tears. "Just get out there and try to do some good."
The only way Al could figure out how to do good was either to become a minister or a cop. He was definitely more suited for the cop role. He was street-smart, athletic, ambitious and angry, with knee-jerk responses. He made his way up through the ranks to homicide detective, married, divorced