Wow this book was seriously demented. And not in a good suspense thriller kind of way, but in a disturbing uncomfortable way.
John Miller is an FBI agent who has taken the undercover case to trap a serial killer. His mission is to attract the attention of the black widow killer named Serena. A woman who marries men and then kills them soon after the wedding. A woman I couldn't help but picture looking like the Debbie from Addams Family Values. Anyway, Johns mission is to marry Debbie... I mean Serena and then expose her when she goes in for the kill. Conflicts arise however when he starts falling for Mariah, the woman Serena has manipulated into thinking she's her BFF.
When I say this book was demented I mean that the characters were all unlikable and the hero's actions throughout the entire book are extremely reprehensible. Mariah is such a flat character. She is a pure victim with nothing about her personality that gives her depth. She's also portrayed as a complete angel. She swoops in and fixes all of John's personal problems, builds homes for the poor, and rescues children from trees. In between her acts of saintly-ness Mariah bemoans the fact that she's divorced and is too tall. All this made her not only a dull character, but also pretty annoying to read about.
For his part, John isn't likable either. His whole role in the book is to complain about how he better not do "insert random action" because it'll hurt Mariah and then he goes and does it anyway. Yes, he's undercover but seriously... [spoiler]
He sleeps with Mariah and then a couple hours later marries Serena.[/spoiler]
Yick, whats worse is that he suffers no real consequences from Mariah for his actions. Mariah instantly forgives John for everything and they essentially confess their undying love for each other.
At the end of this book I was just left squicked out. I had the feeling that Mariah was only with John because she saw someone she could fix and John was just a sad sack who put Mariah on a pedestal. Love with the Proper Stranger has seriously made me leery about picking up a full length novel by Brockmann.