Archive for the ‘Romantic Suspense’ Category

The Burden Of Desire-Natalie Charles

March 10, 2014

The Burden Of Desire
Natalie Charles
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Mar 4 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278640

Concerned over his lead lawyer’s long hours on the Kruger first degree homicide case, Jack Reynolds introduces prosecutor Sally Dawson to the office’s new attorney retired JAG marine Ben McNamara as assisting her on the murder trial. Not only do Sally and Ben know each other from Columbia Law, she hates him for breaking her heart.

At a press conference on the eve of the court date, Mitch Kruger’s defense attorney Marlow introduces the dead wife Ronnie as alive. Though there was no body found, the forensic evidence overwhelmingly pointed to the murder of Mitch’s spouse; which now means someone else died. Jack assigns Ben to review the case file for prosecution wrong-doing. As Ben affirms that Sally’s diligent work was professional and convincing, each realizes something remains odd starting with why the victim waited a year to reappear. Continuing to dig, Ben and Sally also fall in love.

This second chance at love legal romance is an enjoyable thriller though the audience will guess early on what is going. The fully-developed lead couple is a nice pairing of beloved enemies; who readers will conclude deserve a sequel on a future case; as Burden of Desire is an enjoyable romantic mystery.

Harriet Klausner


Do or Die-Suzanne Brockmann

January 19, 2014

Do or Die
Suzanne Brockmann
Ballantine, Feb 4 2014 $26.00
ISBN 9780345543790

At a prison near Sarasota, Florida, upon meeting her new client ex-SEAL turned felon Ian Dunn for the first time, Bryant, Hill and Stoneham lawyer Phoebe Kruger is amazed how big he is as he makes her Amazonian body feel petit and even the tall other attendee Martell Griffin seem little. Ian demands Phoebe’s boss the B in her firm “Uncle” Jerry Bryant be here, but a car accident left him hurt and his granddaughter dead. Griffin states he is not a Fed but represents them to offer Dunn freedom today if he cooperates on the rescue of nuclear physicist Lusa Vaszko’s two kidnapped children allegedly held inside the Kazbekistani Consul in Miami. They need him because he is a convict that allows government denial. Dunn prefers to remain in prison as he has for almost a year; he conceals that he must stay in jail as part of a deal to protect his brother and his sibling’s family from mobster Manny Dellarosa who just suffered a heart attack.

Abducting Kruger, Dunn fears for his family since Manny’s psycho brother leads the mob. As he works options to keep his loved ones safe, Dunn teams up with his cute lawyer to try to rescue the abducted kids before their kidnappers kill the youngsters or the scientist surrenders to them.

The first Reluctant Heroes romantic suspense is an exciting thriller as the heroine and readers learn nothing is what it seems as established by the opening fascinating yet too long encounter. Still once Dunn car jacks Kruger’s vehicle with her inside, the storyline accelerates into a fast-paced, impossible to put down race to save the innocent.

Gone-Mallory Kane

December 20, 2013

Mallory Kane
Harlequin Intrigue, Dec 17 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697373

Two years ago in New Orleans, someone abducted infant Joshua Powers. Ever since his distraught mom Marcie sees her missing baby everywhere while the child’s depressed dad Joe, who like his mate blames himself for their baby Gone in an instant, believes his estranged wife has become unhinged. He has not seen his spouse in a year since the last time she claimed she found Joshua.

When Marcie knows again she has seen her Joshua this time in a car, she turns to skeptical Joe with the auto tag rather than the cops because he has access as he works at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Deciding to appease her while proving her wrong again, Joe is shocked when they find Joshua taken by deranged childless Rhoda Sumner who was tender and caring with the child. However, before the bereaving family can become a happy unit again, they learn that Joe is the illegitimate son of affluent Con Delancey; making Joshua the monetary target of Rhoda’s odious boyfriend Howard Lelievre.

The latest Delancey Dynasty (see Dirty Little Secrets, Special Forces Father and Star Witness) is an exciting action-packed Bayou suspense due to the powerful key cast. Readers will sympathize with the adult Powers as each separately struggles emotionally with what destroyed their family and surprisingly empathize with mentally ill Rhoda in spite of her snatching “her Joshy” while hoping she gets the help she desperately needs.

Harriet Klausner

Dead by Wednesday-Beverly Long

December 20, 2013

Dead by Wednesday
Beverly Long
Harlequin Intrigue, Dec 17 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697397

Following the death of her older brother due to gang violence, Carmen Jimenez dedicated her life to helping troubled pregnant teens. Police officer Robert Hanson investigates a serial killer targeting male teens every Wednesday for the past four weeks. He and Carmen met three months ago when she was the maid of honor and he the best man at their respective BFFs’ wedding. Their solo dance was heavenly but he wanted more and she was afraid.

A victim of bullies at high school, Carmen’s brother Raoul makes a new friend Apollo who helps him deal with his tormenters. Realizing her sibling has changed and concerned that Raoul was turning to the gangs; Carman asks Robert to be a big brother to his sibling. Though his time is limited and he rationalizes that Raoul gives him an inside to teen boys, Hanson knows he agrees because this is his chance for some time with Carmen. When she learns the dark secret her hero fails to tell her, their relationship collapses at a time the killer targets the Jimenez siblings.

This is a strong romantic police procedural that provides a deep look into the subculture of gangs especially the motives including being a bullying victim why so many join the violent lifestyle, and the impact on families by teen pregnancy. Readers will know the identity of the serial killer early on, but not care as Dead by Wednesday needs a warning label to wear seatbelts due to a faster than the speed of light storyline.

Harriet Klausner

Twilight-Sherryl Woods

November 23, 2013

Sherryl Woods
MIRA, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315124

In Chicago, someone murders Minister Ken Miller. His death leaves his wife Dana and their three children in shock as Ken was a good husband and father, and a caring man of God who took his message into the worst sections of the city. When CPD explains to Dana the case is turning cold; needing closure the former private investigator decides to inquire into the shooting homicide of her husband.

To protect her three sons, she ships them to their grandparents in Florida. Once her children are safely out of the way, Dana targets Ken’s best friend Rick Sanchez, founder of Yo, Amigo, a shelter for teens attempting to leave the gangs. This is her best lead since her spouse spent a lot of time helping there. Fearing the obsessed Dana will get herself killed, Rick offers to help her. Both CPD claims illegal drugs were found in Ken’s church office and a second killing of a church employee leads Dana to revise her hypothesis.

This reprint is an exhilarating romantic suspense that was a contemporary in 1997 but has a historical feel with what has happened in communications since its original publication. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Dana gives up on the cops and never slows down as she and the person she holds culpable investigate the murder. Although a romantic subplot feels more of an unnecessary forced requirement, fans will enjoy this taut thriller.

Harriet Klausner

No Escape-Mary Burton

October 27, 2013

No Escape
Mary Burton
Zebra, Oct 29 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420125061

It has been fourteen years since Texas Ranger Brody Winchester and psychologist Dr. Jolene Granger were married. In Austin Brody visits Jo to ask for her help. Sitting on Death Row in West Livingston serial killer Harvey Day Smith, who Brody caught, wants to give one last confession before he dies from cancer in a month or two; but only to Jo who wrote her dissertation on him.

Smith joyfully tells Granger that he has other bodies buried beside the ten he was convicted of murdering including one that explains why he selected her as his exit confessional. The psychopath also gleefully warns her that his apprentice is ready for the big time. As he fears for her life, Brody vows to keep his beloved ex-wife safe.

Reminding readers of NCIS’ “Mind Games” episode, this taut second chance at love thriller focuses on the investigation over the romance. Filled with action and plenty of twisting suspense, fans will enjoy aptly titled No Escape as a clever maniac proves a vicious chip off the old block of his deranged mentor.

Harriet Klausner

Killer’s Art-Mari Jungstedt

October 24, 2013

Killer’s Art
Mari Jungstedt
Stockholm Text, Oct 22 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9789187173455

In Visby on Gotland Island, someone batters before murdering art dealer Egon Wallin. The killer leaves the naked corpse hanging off of Dalman Gate. Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas leads the investigation assisted by Detective Inspector Karin Jacobsson into what is ruled a homicide as the corpse died elsewhere.

The brutality of the death shocks all of Sweden while the cops believe the viciousness probably means the culprit is filled with out of control rage; two more violent murders in the art world affirm that hypothesis. Due to a connection to Wallin, complicating the murder inquiry is the theft of the renowned Nils von Dardel’s “The Dying Dandy” painting. As the two cases tie together, the feeding frenzy media demand more blood except for reporter Johan Berg whose ethics leaves him and his loved ones in danger from an avenging killer.

The latest DS Knutas Swedish police procedural (see Unspoken, Unseen and The Inner Circle) is a terrific twisting tale with a moral lament in which gaming the system is an acceptable way of life as reminded by the apparent settlement between the government and Bank of America. For the most part the killer’s ire is never fully felt by readers except through the respective filters of how the media and cops portray the psychopath. Fans of Scandinavian noir will want to read this taut thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Severed Trust-Margaret Daley

October 22, 2013

Severed Trust
Margaret Daley
Abington, Oct 15 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781426777936

In Summerton, Texas high school students BFFs Lexie Alexander and Kelly Winston attend a pill popping party. Accompanying them is Kelly’s boyfriend Jared Montgomery. After the party ends, Jared is found dead from a prescription pill overdose.

Lexie’s uncle Texas Ranger Ethan Stone investigates Jared’s death and that of two more students from illegally-obtained prescription drug overdoses to try to uncover the source. Petrified Kelly fears telling her parents, her BFF, the law or her teacher Sadie Thompson what she knows. By the time she realizes her error she is dead in what looks like a suicide, but Lexie thinks otherwise. As Ethan gathers evidence that an illegal prescription drug gang sells to local teens including his niece, he realizes he must keep Sadie and Lexie safe from this vicious ring.

The latest Men of the Texas Rangers inspirational thriller (see Scorned Justice) is a fabulous romantic police procedural that focuses on the illegal prescription drug usage epidemic including looks at “safe zones” like theft inside a nursing home and sales inside a school. Action-packed yet with a strong awareness message, Severed Trust is a thrilling wake up call.

Harriet Klausner

Killer’s Prey-Rachel Lee

October 14, 2013

Killer’s Prey
Rachel Lee
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Oct 1 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278411

In Minneapolis irate businessman Cranston Langdon cannot believe he was placed under electronic house arrest for his assault on psychologist Nora Loftis. He plans to kill his wife who testified against him at his hearing insisting his violence is the reason their child sees the shrink; and afterward Loftis wherever she hides for daring to survive.

Nora needs to recover from her near death experience so returns to her hometown Conard City, Wyoming. To her chagrin and gratitude, rancher-cop Jake Madison meets her at the airport. Twelve years ago, she courageously asked him to the prom and he brutally said no. To insure her safety while she heals, he takes her to his ranch. As he falls in love with her while she always unrequitedly loved him, Langdon begins his revenge.

The latest Conard County: The Next Generation (see Rocky Mountain Lawman and No Ordinary Hero) is an action-packed romantic suspense. The second chance thriller entertains readers though the exciting storyline follows the anticipated path; while Nora brings freshness with her vulnerability and her understanding of the predator.

Harriet Klausner

A Business Engagement-Merline Lovelace

September 4, 2013

A Business Engagement
Merline Lovelace
Harlequin Desire, Sep 3 2013, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373732692

In Manhattan, Beguile magazine named Fortune 500 CEO Devon Hunter number three on the Ten Single Sexiest Men in the World. However, when he visits Lady Sarah St. Sebastian at the magazine’s office, she believes her boss executive editor Alex Danvers erred not naming Hunter numero uno. The Los Angeles-based Devon claims her flighty sister Gina a thief insisting she stole a valuable twelfth century Byzantine medallion he wants back immediately. Sarah is indignant until Devon shows the surveillance tape.

Devon thought Lady Gina was perfect when he first met her to fend off the women stalking him since the article was released, but thirty minutes with this bubblehead told him to look elsewhere. Hunter chooses l4 level-headed Sarah; blackmailing her with the threat of the police arresting Gina unless she agrees to be his fake fiancée to help him close a deal. Used to bailing out her sibling, Sarah reluctantly agrees. However, the plan goes astray when both want the sham marriage becomes real.

The first Duchess Diaries romance is an enjoyable contemporary due to the likable protagonists. Although the theft solution and Business Engagement are over the top of the Swiss Alps, readers will enjoy this fun tale as falling in love with your fake fiancée is the ultimate revenge for her showing off his crack to the world.

Harriet Klausner