This is a short book but a delightful read. M.J. Rose has taken three heroes from popular thriller series and brought them face to face with Dr. Morgan Snow, the sex therapist from Rose’s Butterfield Institute books.
Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone, Barry Eisler’s John Rein and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher are all ultimate tough guys who wouldn’t dream about talking to a therapist about their (sexual) relationships. In these three stories though, Morgan Snow manages to get them to open up in ways that readers of the original books will find both intriguing and believable.
In the first story, “Extenuating Circumstances” Dr. Morgan Snow finds herself in Denmark visiting Cotton Malone in his second hand bookstore after Malone’s partner tells her that he might have problems stemming from his childhood which are now affecting their relationship. Because Malone is not the sort of man who would voluntarily talk to a sex therapist, the doctor has to find a different way to get him to open up.
“Decisions, Decisions” finds Dr. Snow having to make a very difficult one herself when her daughter’s safety is threatened by a man with political ambitions as well as sexual preferences he wants to keep secret. Not knowing what to do and deeply worried she turns to John Rein, an assassin for help. The solution he provides is not one she ever suggested or approved but one she can live with.
In “Knowing You’re Alive” Jack Reacher is following a man. When he enters the Butterfield institute Reacher is forced to stay outside. An hour later a bomb goes off inside the building and when Reacher climbs in he finds Dr. Morgan Snow with a broken foot and buried underneath rubble. To pass the time until help arrives and to distract Morgan from the pain, Reacher tells her a story about an army cop who has a, for him, very unusual sexual encounter with a woman in a secluded cabin.
I had enormous fun with these stories. I did in the past read one of the Cotton Malone titles by Steve Berry and am in the process of slowly but steadily reading my way through the Jack Reacher series. I haven’t read any of Eisler’s books yet though.
Because my familiarity with two of the male characters in these stories is therefore sketchy at best I’m not sure if I’m the right person to judge how well Rose captured them in her stories. Jack Reacher, the only character I do feel I’m somewhat familiar with, does sound completely in character to me though and I enjoyed the story she had him share with the doctor. Since the acknowledgements indicate that all three authors either approved of the stories or cooperated with Rose in the writing of them, I have to assume that she must have gotten it right in their eyes. And if the original authors can’t find fault, that is definitely good enough for me.
I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy M.J. Rose’s writing, it’s been that long since I last read a book by her. Now that my memory has been refreshed I want to make sure that it won’t be such a long time before I read something else by her. I also can’t help hoping that she will revisit Dr. Morgan Snow again in the not too distant future. I’ve read all the available titles in that series and wouldn’t mind a new one to add to the collection.