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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thread of Suspicion by Susan Sleeman – A Book Review

     The continued saga of the Justice Agency, a private detection/protection agency run by adopted siblings, proved to be an engaging read.  I have read books three and four in the series, and am interested in going back to read books 1 and 2.  I believe the books can be enjoyed in any order.  Book 5 comes out in March of this year. 
      In Thread of Suspicion the youngest Justice sibling, Dani, struggles to exert her independence, and to be viewed as a capable adult by both her family and their current client, Luke Baldwin.  In trying to prove Luke’s innocence in the sabotage of his company’s software, designed to protect our soldiers in harm’s way, Dani meets her nemesis, Echo, once again.  Both she and Luke’s sister are in Echo’s crosshairs, and both must rely on each of their siblings for protection.  Dani fights off the attraction she feels for Luke as she works to be in control of the situation they all have found themselves in.  Luke also struggles with these feelings as his company and his livelihood are under attack, and as he is haunted by his past. 
     Susan Sleeman keeps the romance tense, but clean.  The romance and the mystery in her books play well together, neither dominating the other.  The pace of the story keeps the reader turning pages, and not wanting to put the book down.  I would definitely recommend her books to romance and mystery lovers alike. 

     I won this book in a contest, and was under no obligation to review it.  I am grateful to Ms Sleeman for sending me the copy, and am pleased to have the opportunity to write a favorable review.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley – A Book Review

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley – A Book Review
     This book has more twists and turns in the first chapter than many books do between their covers.  It has been a long time since I was so quickly and completely hooked.  Shadows of the Past is classified as a romantic suspense story.  However, I greatly appreciated that the romance served the suspense plot rather than dominate it.  This is the first book I’ve read by Patricia Bradley, but I cannot wait to get my hands on other books by this author.  Although I may need to get some sleep first since I lost the better parts of two night’s sleep to this one. 
     Taylor Martin, an expert victim and criminal profiler and college professor, suffers from nightmares rooted in a childhood defined by her father’s disappearance.  Mystery writer, Nick Sinclair, is just beginning to heal from the grief and guilt of not being able to protect his wife from a murderous assault while attempting to understand and assist his troubled stepbrother.  Their lives, initially drawn together as Taylor searches for her stalker and Nick seeks to clear his brother of the crime, become intertwined as Nick seeks to assist Taylor in solving the mystery behind her father’s disappearance while protecting her from the person trying to kill her, and as they are unable to ignore the attraction they feel for one another. 
     Bradley is a master of writing believable, naturally sounding dialogue.  Her character and plot development are well paced, and subtle.  The reader is able to enjoy many unexpected plot twists that bring the mystery to a logical conclusion rather than having new characters or events inserted in the last chapter that almost feel like a “gotcha” in which the author made it impossible for the reader to solve the crime along with the story’s detective.  As I finished the last chapter it felt good to have some of my deductions confirmed, and at the same time have some unexpected elements as well. 
     The setting of this story was another element that drew me to this book.  Having been born in and having lots of family who still reside in northern Mississippi, I enjoyed the references to things unique to the southern lifestyle.  Living in Corinth, Mississippi, Bradley was able to represent people from the northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee area without the typical stereotypes.  Shadows of the Past is book one in the Logan Point series, and I look forward to other books in the series set in this location.  I am also anxious to see which characters will have recurring roles. 
     I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre, you will enjoy a real treat.  I also recommend it to those who might not normally read in this genre, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Thank you to Revell, the publisher, for sending me a copy of Shadows of the Past for my honest opinion of the book.