Amnesia

 Quinn Cortez is a hotshot lawyer and ladies man – when his current lover Lulu is murdered, he wants to find the killer to clear his name, but when ex lovers also turn up dead and he has no alibi, Quinn turns to the best detective agency in the country for help.

Lulu’s cousin Annabelle is desperate to find the murderer and also turns to the Powell detective agency. Forced to work together, Annabelle soon becomes one of the only people to believe in him as the evidence stacks up, and Quinn cannot remember what he was doing at the time of any of the murders.

Wow – this is a fantastic thriller with a superb plot and a strong romance. I’ll be unable to say too much about the plot without giving anything away but suffice to say I did guess the killer, but was never really sure I had the right person until the end – also the reason they were killing was totally unexpected. The story completely sucked me in and took me every which way – every time I thought I had the answer, something else happened to throw me off track!

There was a very strong romance in this book and while the speed in which Quinn and Annabelle got together seemed a bit quick given the circumstances, the way it was written worked for me. Initially Quinn was not my favourite person being a bit of a ‘love them and leave them’ kind of guy, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves in his wake, but as we get beneath his layers we start to see the guy he really is. Annabelle is strong having had to carry the weight of family problems on her shoulders but I did feel she was a bit too trusting.

I have read a few of Ms. Barton’s books and recognized a number of characters particularly Griffin Powell – this is an early one in the Griffin Powell story line and makes you hungry for more information on him. I am missing big gaps of his story and am keen to find out what they are.

Ms Barton is a superb storyteller and this is another great romantic suspense. I started this one and was unable to put it down – there went my housework day again!

NB: This book was also published under the title ‘Killing her Softly’.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Beverly Barton
  • Series: Griffin Powell (5)
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The Search

 Fiona Bristow has built a new life for herself on Orcas Island, she has a successful dog training school and is happy in the small close knit community. The recently arrived artist Simon Doyle and his dog walk into her life, both in dire need of training and for the first time in a long while she starts to see glimpses of what could be. Then a shadow from her past rises up and threatens to destroy everything once again.

Another great romantic suspense from Nora Roberts! I am constantly amazed at the number of different subjects her novels cover and yet all seem to be well researched, allowing the reader to immerse themselves completely in the story. This one focuses heavily on canine rescue, dog training and interaction. The dogs are fantastic, adding a great dimension to the story –  don’t get me wrong we don’t get speaking from a dog’s perspective but the way the dogs and their behaviours are included in the story is great. I am sure if you have a dog in need of training, you would pick up some useful tips from this book.

Enough about the dogs, onto the characters – as with all books by this author the characters are strong. No flowery words from Simon at all, and as for romance forget it. It suited him though, and the interactions between him and his dog ‘Jaws’ made me laugh out loud. This description made me laugh, especially since he seems the cutest puppy ever, “I got a crate. He ate the crate. Or enough of it to get out. I think he must flatten himself like a snake… I think maybe he is brain damaged or psychotic.”  It would have been nice to have a bit more background on Simon because he really was unusually abrasive – how did he get like that? Fiona has been through a lot in her past but stays strong throughout, being older and wiser when trouble comes knocking she is much more able to deal with it –  no simpering women here. It would have been nice to have a bit more romance but the characters did suit the story and as long as the happy ending arrives I won’t complain too much!

The suspense plot was good and as always I got totally sucked in, reading well into the night to finish it. I would say though that the dogs and romance were a bigger part of the story than the suspense angle.  Unlike with a lot of thrillers we do not get to see much of the police investigation, as Fiona is so physically removed from the situation. So if you like the police investigation aspect of a thriller then this is probably not for you. The dogs are definitely the stars in this book, and if you love animals it is worth a read just for that.

Overall another strong book from Nora Roberts with the added bonus of canine friends; there is humour, a love story, suspense and sex – what more could you want!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
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Without a Trace

 Trace O’Hurley is burnt out and wants nothing more than being left alone with a bottle of whiskey and his own company. Gillian Fitzpatrick has come looking for Trace in desperation, knowing he is the only one who can help her.

This is a great book by Nora Roberts, it is the fourth in the O’Hurley series and while I had not read any previously, I did not feel it affected the story at all. Trace is disillusioned and grumpy, but something about him is so very lovable – not a masculine name though! Gillian is smart, sassy and seemingly not afraid of anything. The story revolves around a super secret scientific project which could change the shape of war and Gillian is one of the scientists, along with her kidnapped brother, who developed it.

Trace has his hands full trying to find her brother and niece, stopping the terrorists from getting to Gillian and trying to persuade her she should get as far away from him as possible. Of course the latter was never going to happen. There is plenty of action and suspense, along with the romance I have come to expect from the author. All of it combined to make an excellent story, although some aspects of the plot are a bit far fetched.

Trace also has issues with his family which are explained in the prologue and I suspect is referred to in other books of the series, so we also had these issues being explored which added another dimension to the plot.

Overall this is a fast paced romantic thriller which I did not want to put down and managed to read in one sitting.

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Series: O'Hurley (4)
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

High Noon

 Carrying on my Nora Roberts kick, I decided to try one of her Romantic Suspense books and High Noon was the first one I came across in my ‘to be read’ mountain.

I was completely engaged in the story, literally by the end of the first chapter – a dramatic opening which introduces us to the two main characters of Hostage Negotiator Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara and Bar owner Duncan Swift.  I loved them both right away; Phoebe is a strong and confident woman but carries a lot of weight on her shoulders and Duncan is a sweetheart but strong, and not without scars of his own.  Their interactions were both funny and poignant, each bringing something to each other that was lacking and the dance around their feelings was really well timed.  In some books it can feel as if characters fight against feelings just for the sake of it or give in too easily just to spice the story up.  Not so in High Noon, it felt right on the money.

There are also several great characters that are amongst the family and friends of both characters and they added a greater depth and emotion to the book.  I cared about what happened to them just as much as Phoebe and Duncan, even though they might not have been in the spotlight as much.  I can only credit that to great writing.

The plot started quite sweet as they get to know each other with just odd things happening that you aren’t quite sure if they mean anything sinister or not.  The tension soon ramps up and probably for the second half of the book I was on the edge of my seat.  A couple of things that happened had me shouting in shock, much to the amusement of my husband 😉  But oh my, they were shocking but also so well written it was completely believable.  The story unfolded at a pace that just kept me glued to the pages and a couple of times it got so tense I wanted to skip ahead just to check, but I’m glad I stopped myself as it would have spoiled things.

This may be the first Romantic Suspense book by Nora Roberts I have read but it will certainly not be the last (I’m about to hunt through the mountain to find another!).

It was an amazing read with a gripping plot, wonderful characters and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
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Prey

 Angie Powell takes what she suspects will be her last two clients on a hunting trip into the mountains, her business is in ruins, her home is about to be sold and she sets the blame firmly on the head of her business rival, Dare Callahan.

The hunting trip goes terribly wrong and soon two killers are on the loose on the mountain – only one of the human variety. With Angie running for her life the last person she wants to have to depend upon is Dare, but they will have to work together if they want to make it off the mountain alive and in one piece.

Linda Howard is not an author I have come across before but I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It had a suspense element and of course the all important (for me anyway) romance.

The story was slow to start with but that was all necessary for scene setting. Once the proper story got under way I found it hard to put down.

From the beginning we know who the bad guy (and beast!) running around the mountain are so we do not have a whodunnit going on, more of a cat and mouse. That element did actually disappear for a large part of the book as we got to explore the developing relationship between Dare and Angie. In fact it was easy to forget this was actually suspense and not just a romance!

The author does not shy away from gruesome descriptions and her imagery is very powerful, I really could imagine being there on the mountain and you get the impression of very unforgiving weather and terrain. The language is definitely not hearts and flowers and there is quite a bit of swearing,  I feel it was appropriate for the situation and person though. I would have liked to have had more background on Dare, he clearly has history but it was nothing more than alluded to. I liked Dare and it was nice to see the guy knowing his feelings and the woman being the hesitant one.

I would say this is a romance with a suspense element rather than a suspense with a romance element which was perfect for me. The suspense aspect was good and there was the added uncertainty over the second killer stalking the mountain and what it would do next. I enjoyed the insights into its mind and how black and white its thoughts were, but I guess some people might find it weird being inside the head of a bear. Never fear it is only for short periods within the book and not too often.

So in summary there is romance, sex and suspense, although the sex came quite late and was minimal unfortunately! If you are looking for pure suspense do not buy this but if you love romantic suspense (heavy on the relationship side) then buy it, read it and enjoy it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Linda Howard
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Whispered Lies

Carlos Delgado, an operative of B.A.D. has spent the last sixteen years running from his past.  When the agency receives some information from the mysterious Mirage about the kidnapping of a young girl and a possible connection to the Fratelli society, they realise they have to find out who Mirage is and bring them in.  B.A.D. fears Mirage could pose a major threat to national security and Carlos is sent in to capture them for questioning.  What he finds is not at all what he expects.  Certainly not a woman in hiding and definately not someone from a high profile family with the technical skills she possesses.  Carlos fears nothing but his past catching up with him and this strangely captivating woman unknowingly threatens just that.

Having felt Phantom in the Night rocketed along at an excellent pace, I expected more of the same with this one.  I was very surprised that it progressed at a much slower speed and slowly built up to its conclusion.  That’s not to say it’s a bad thing and I felt it suited the book and the plot that was unfolding.  Had it been rushed, it would have spoiled the build up.  It took me a little while to ‘get’ Carlos as the male lead and not as the smart alec pain in the ass minor character he’d appeared as in the first two.  You do end up loving him though and realise his previous comments are very him and the sense of humour he has.  I thought the character of Gabrielle was well done, I didn’t expect to like her as much as I did.  Her whole silk outside, steel inside demeanor was great and fit really well with the other women of B.A.D.

While the book was as engaging as the first two, the emotional side felt slightly off at first, so it took me a while to connect with the main characters.  Since that is the only negative thing I can say about it, I think it’s another great addition to the series and the collaboration between Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love.  Exciting stuff and I hope there will be more coming!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love
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Phantom in the Night

Terri Mitchell is an undercover agent for B.A.D. working as a consultant for the New Orleans Police Department.  The Bureau suspect there is a terrorist group being fronted and funded by a notorious drug lord, operating within New Orleans. Terri’s mission is to find out who they are and what they are planning.

Nathan Drake is a phantom.  An ex-covert operative for the US army and now ex-con, he’s lost everyone he ever loved to the organised crime ring and he wants revenge.

When Terri’s path keeps being crossed by the mysterious phantom that has the criminal underworld in a panic, she realises they might just be working towards the same goal.  Both trained by life and profession to not trust anyone, they must attempt to work together or die trying.  If they don’t, an entire city could perish.

I was a little sceptical about the second book in the B.A.D. series being co-written by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love as not all pairings work, especially when Bad Attitude was such a great solo effort by Kenyon.   Having been unable to put the book down until I’d finished, I’m happy to say it seems like a match made in heaven.    I’m unfamiliar with Dianna Love’s work but while Kenyon’s trademarks are clearly present, the superb characterisations and hot scenes definately had an extra level to them.   The plot is more intricate and in depth than I would say are Kenyon’s usual style and I think the collaboration has created something special there, definately an interesting setup for further books to be based around.  The love scenes while extremely erotic, are well written and the mystery and tension building up between the two main characters throughout the book left me quite breathless.  The action is fast paced and quite brutal at times but never overdone or just for the sake of it.  Everything just fits in together so well to create an exciting and outstanding book.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)