I've been going through one of my difficult to please phases as a reader. I must have started nearly ten books in the past week or so, but I only managed to finish Gallows Thief and my latest, Crazy For You (Jennifer Crusie, 1999). I don't know if Bernard Cornwell and Jenny Crusie actually are that much better than all the new-to-me authors I've attempted lately (though it's entirely possible) or if it's just that I've been reading them long enough that I trust them and will give them the benefit of the doubt if I'm not instantly hooked on page 1. Oh, well.
Anyway, this isn't the best Crusie I've ever read, but that still makes it better than at least 90% of what on the bookstore shelves, IMHO. Like many (most?) Crusies, it starts with a woman and a dog, and it has a hero with a bad boy edge and a villain who looks good on the surface but is revealed to be one nasty control freak.