Spotless (by Camilla Monk)

Romantic Suspense? 

Island is anything but special…at least that’s what she has always thought. Then March, a ruthless assassin shows up in the apartment she shares and her life will never be the same again. March is searching for a priceless diamond and he’s convinced she knows where it is. Even worse, he’ll do pretty much anything to finish the mission and she is well and truly expendable.

As they search for the diamond she learns things about her murky past she never could have imagined and with people even more brutal than March hunting her she finds herself reluctantly turning to him for help.


Assassins, 1995, (c) Warner Bros.

Assassins, 1995, (c) Warner Bros.

It’s not easy to define Spotless. Honestly, when I picked it up I was expecting a cute and quirky mystery. Fairly innocent and mostly harmless. That’s not this book. There is a bit of an edge to it that I found confronting at first. For a few chapters I really didn’t like the book at all (those who know me know why), but then it clicked –– I was thinking of it all wrong.

This book owes a lot to movies like Assassins, Heat, perhaps even The Bourne Identity. It really does feel like a great spy or heist movie…only on the page. When I made that adjustment, I found myself loving this book more with every page turn.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Yellow, Orange, Red. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Sabotaged (by Dani Pettrey)

Romantic Suspense / Christian

After her uncle, who is a competitor on the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, disappears Kirra goes looking for him with the help of Reef. They discover that Kirra’s cousin, Meg has been kidnapped to force her uncle’s cooperation in a terrorist act that will do untold damage to the environment and kill countless people.


 

 

 

 

 

Many years ago I was walking my dog in the park and a very pretty woman came up to me and said hello. Thinking to myself that all my christmases had come at once we struck up a conversation. Things were going so well until she asked me if I’d heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This book feels like that. I requested it because the synopsis sounded interesting. A romantic suspense novel set with the backdrop of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. That part of it actually kind of works but the book is way too preachy. Honestly, it really should be mentioned in the synopsis that this book is christian romantic suspense. If I knew that from the start I would feel a lot more positive towards the book.

Christians who want a christian book will enjoy this, but the constant preaching will alienate many non-christian readers.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Yellow, Orange, Red –– what it means: http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Up Close (by Henriette Gyland)

Romantic Suspense 

After the death of her grandmother, Lia returns to her childhood home to settle the estate. But as she is putting her grandmother’s affairs in order she starts to suspect that her death may not have been an accident.

Aidan is a former Navy clearance diver, retired after an accident which left him scarred. As a child he had a secret crush on Lia but now his life is about making the Ministry of Defence pay for his brother’s death and there is little room for romance.

As Lia investigates her grandmother’s death, she discovers an evil that stretches all the way back to her childhood and an entire town that is guarding secrets and telling lies. And with a faceless killer stalking her, she doesn’t know who she can trust, even Aidan might be involved.

 

ingrid_bergmanUp Close is reminiscent of the great Alfred Hitchcock films of the 1930s and ’40s. I found myself being reminded of Rebecca and Gaslight and even The Birds.  Authors often try to imbue their books with that feel but not too many succeed. Henriette Gyland succeeds –– well and truly so.

It is dark, brooding and edge of your seat all at once. Quite an amazing accomplishment.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 5.42.32 pmYellow, Orange, Red – What it means:   http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

 

Into the Shadows (by Carolyn Crane)

Romantic Suspense

Thorne is the second in command of a brutal gang that deals in human misery, everything from human trafficking to drugs. When a number of their warehouses are raided, suspicion falls on him and he finds himself needing to hunt down the raiders or end up in a shallow grave.

Two years earlier, Nadia was in love with Thorne. Then after her gangster father was killed he kicked her to the curb and moved on to another gang, the Hangmen. All that is left of him is her 2 year old son and she will do anything to protect him. Then she learns that her mother who she thought was dead is alive and slave working in one of the Hangmen gang’s sweatshop. Together with a group of mercenaries who will take loot as pay and the bodyguard her father assigned to her they begin raiding the sweatshops searching for her mother.

When Thorne shows up at her home searching for a CD containing inside information on the gang’s activities she knows the noose is tightening. She steps up her plans to find her mother but also needs to make sure Thorne never finds out about his child. What she doesn’t know is that Thorne is deep undercover and working for the Associates. Alone and vulnerable she was the last person he trusted, but she betrayed him. Now he needs to learn to trust her again if they are to have any chance of finding her mother and surviving coming out alive.

 
I guess it says something that Into the Shadows took so many words to summarise. Carolyn Crane is like that. Her books aren’t easily defined. There is a wonderful oddness that comes through, even in her romantic suspense. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to turn the page and encounter a giant continent destroying death ray…come to think of it I might have seen something like that in book 2.

She always surprises me and that’s why Carolyn Crane has fast become one of my favorite authors. Into the Shadows is very good romantic suspense with quite a healthy dose of steamy sexy for those who enjoy that.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmMany thanks to CrushStar Multimedia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Against the Dark (by Carolyn Crane)

Romantic Suspense

When her Aunt Aggie is kidnapped and held for ransom, Angel Ramirez, a master safe-cracker is forced out of retirement to do one last heist.  The job; to steal a fortunes worth of diamonds from Walter Borgola, a sadistic and perverted mobster.

After Angel does the impossible –– cracks the un-crackable safe, Cole tracks her down and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Either she returns to Borgola’s mansion, posing as his girlfriend and breaks into a second safe, or he will hand her over to Borgola.

Angel and Cole embark on a mission in which the cost of failure is hundreds of innocent lives, and being caught will result in their death at the hands of a sadist.

Against the Dark is amazing. I read the second book in the series a couple of weeks ago, and was so impressed that the minute I finished, I paid my money and bought this one. I’ve heard a few people say they thought book two was a much better book, but honestly I can’t see it. With books as good as these, it’s hard to draw a distinction, it would be like saying an Aston Martin is better than a Maserati.  Against the Dark had the same disturbing under-current you see in many of Karen Rose’s books, and I think fans of Karen Rose will love this series. But I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone, with the one caveat that there are some steamy sex scenes. Honestly, if you don’t want to see me go all fanboy on you, you probably shouldn’t ask me for a book recommendation any time soon.

Impatiently waiting for book three.

Off the Edge (by Carolyn Crane)

Romantic Suspense

Even knowing he would hunt her down, Laney gave the FBI the information they needed to throw Rolly, her violent and abusive husband into prison. She has run to the very end of the earth –– to Bangkok to hide from him. But when she spots his enforcer walking into the restaurant where she is having lunch, she knows it’s time to run.

Macmillan is a hunter, but his weapon of choice isn’t a gun, it’s language and words.  Using their very own words he hunts down international criminals and then when he’s completed his mission he disappears into the night.  He’s in Bangkok to identify and catch the Jazzman, an arms dealer who is selling a weapon that could bring governments to their knees.

When he sees Laney singing at the hotel where the auction is set to take place, he immediately knows she is on the run, and he feels an instant attraction to her. Then he discovers she may hold the key to finally identifying the Jazzman.

 

Romantic Suspense is a genre dominated by archetypes and tropes. There aren’t too many books that surprise me.  Well, Carolyn Crane has once again managed to find something I have never seen before, a quirky…perhaps even oddball idea,  and fashion it into a believable and entertaining story.  I could go on for pages about the many ways I loved this book, but maybe I’ll just encourage you all to buy this book and find out for yourself…and while you’re at it, read her Disillusionists series.

Many thanks to CrushStar Multimedia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

The Last Clinic (by Gary Gusick)

Suspense

When a much loved preacher and anti-abortion campaigner is gunned down outside a women’s health clinic, the police immediately look at the doctor as the most likely suspect. Dr Stephen Nicoletti, is an Ob/Gyn and one of the few doctors in Mississippi who will perform abortions.

It’s left to Philadelphia PD transplant, Detective Darla Cavannah to sift through the evidence and find the killer. But with an incompetent partner who is determined to push his own anti-abortion agenda gunning for the doctor, she has to spend just as much time fixing up his messes as investigating the crime…all the while a killer is on the loose and he’s got a plan.

The Last Clinic surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It reminded me a little of another book set in Mississippi, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, but I think this book is better. I don’t read too many male authors, and this book has quite obviously been written by a man, but he’s managed to write a female main character who is both interesting and has depth.

It’s a solid debut novel and a good start to series that has a lot of potential.

Many thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC