“Southern Comfort,” by Fern Michaels

Fern Michaels is a writing machine. Best known for the Sisterhood and Godmothers series, she has over 75 million books in print and is still going strong. Though she grew up in Hastings, Pennsylvania, Ms. Michaels moved to South Carolina in 1993. She has continued to flourish as a best-selling author, adopting the American South and making it the setting for some of her recent works. Southern Comfort is not only one of her latest novels (she writes so many that several can be “new” at the same time), but perhaps also a way of talking about Fern Michaels’ relationship with her adopted home territory. 

Southern Comfort is part mystery, part romance – with the romance element trumping the mystery plot. Though essentially a novel for women, it includes several well-drawn male characters and avoids being defined as solely or merely a read for women. Set primarily in Miami and the Florida Keys, it features a mysterious mansion on Mango Key, a retired police officer who has become a best-selling author, a prominent Florida family, and a group of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents.

One of these agents is Kate Rush, an attractive and dedicated woman who finds that she has denied too much of her personality and zest for life in the routines and petty politics of her job. The last straw is the cruel, demeaning behavior of her superior, Lawrence Tyler, whose insolence and mean-spirited manner drive her (and others) to leave the agency. Agent Tyler, son of Florida’s governor, is a man of many weaknesses and insecurities who overcompensates by bullying others. Readers wonder if he has any redeeming qualities.

Kate decides to return to her native Miami and finish up a doctorate program she has put on hold. Coincidentally, her friend and DEA coworker Sandra Martin takes a similar path and joins Kate at the University of Miami. It stretches probability and does nothing to advance the plot when both women emerge less than a year later with Ph.D. degrees. However, it does get them to Miami and within range of a DEA office that is looking into what might be a major case. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears at SouthernLitReview.com, click here: Southern Comfort, by Fern Michaels « Southern Literary Review

To find all my Southern Literary Review contributions, click here: Philip K. Jason « Southern Literary Review

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