I Can Handle Him, by Debbie Lum
Publication: DKLit LLC (March 17, 2018)
About the book:
Quinn Corbin’s got nothing to lose – except her life. She’s finally got the attention of the man she’s always loved, Nick Allen. But Nick has a reputation for trouble. And after a car explosion killed his last girlfriend, many people in San Antonio, Texas think Nick got away with murder. But Quinn, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher, and bubbly optimist believes Nick is innocent. So does her best friend Tory, a law student, and sarcastic realist. Soon Quinn and Nick find their relationship growing when suddenly their world upends. Now Nick is in major trouble again and Quinn may have made the biggest mistake of her life. With incriminating evidence mounting against Nick, Tory works to prove his innocence. But Nick finds himself in a bigger battle when he must fight to protect, and win, his true love.
Wow, this novel was such a wonderful surprise! A few months ago, I was contacted by the fabulous Leslie Barrett regarding some review opportunities, and I Can Handle Him by Debbie Lum is an absolute treasure. The blurb is somewhat misleading in regards to the bulk of the novel, but I certainly don’t want to include any spoilers. Nick is the owner of a coffee shop named Faze, landing him a spot on the most-hated list with the owner of another coffee shop owner named Al. Moreover, a young woman died in an accident while driving Nick’s vintage Mustang, leading many to believe that he was involved in her accident. When Quinn returns home to accept a teaching position and Tory returns for the summer break from law school, they are the only people that are on Nick’s side. The anger and suspicion among all of their friends and family continue to grow as things get worse for Nick.
I need to state that for about the first 75-100 pages of this book, I was underwhelmed. Everyone except for Nick, Quinn, and Tory were rude, judgemental, and made me less than excited about reading this. However, I was soon completely wrapped up in this mystery about what had really happened, who was trying to frame Nick, and why. Although I hated the things that Nick was enduring, the author managed to balance the novel with numerous themes, rather than just the accidents that Nick had been involved in and the way people were treating him as a result. Nick was creative and driven, despite the things that had happened in his life. Quinn was happy, non-judgemental, and tried to bring the best out in others. Tory was more cynical than Quinn, but still smart, driven, and committed to those that she cared about.
I Can Handle Him has several twists and turns, romance, and plenty of villains that you will love to hate. If I’m being vague about the actual plot, it’s because I don’t want to spoil anything, but a good way to summarize this one would be a “whodunnit” novel full of friendships, past ghosts, learning out who people really are, and finding love. I highly recommend this one, especially those that like a little romance mixed in with their mystery and suspense!
*Many thanks to the author and PR By the Book for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!