Tag Archives: Revell

Book Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

Title: Deceived
Author: Irene Hannon
Series: Book 3 of the Private Justice Series
Publisher: Revell
Genre(s): Christian fiction, Inspirational Romantic Suspense, Mystery
Published: 2014

About the book (from publisher Revell):

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who’s determined to solve the puzzle.

For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she’s convinced it’s her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating “accident” begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden–and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

As Irene Hannon’s many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

My Thoughts:

Deceived is another fascinating tale by Irene Hannon featuring a good blend of romance and suspense.  If you’ve read either of the other books in the Private Justice series then you already have a good idea what to expect – charming private investigator heroes, strong yet vulnerable heroines, and three dimensional villains – and you’re no doubt eager for more.  If so, then Deceived is just the book for you.

If you haven’t read Vanished or Trapped yet, check out my reviews of those books too.  You don’t necessarily need to read them first, as each book in the series can stand alone (though the later books do refer in passing to events in the earlier books), but if you enjoy one, why not enjoy them all?

I found the plot of this book to be interesting and I enjoyed watching the characters unravelling the mystery element a little at a time, but the part I liked the most about this book was the way the characters were fully fleshed out.

My heart went out to the heroine for everything she went through.  It’s hard to even imagine losing both husband and son in one fell swoop, but the opening scene of the book where Kate finds out about the accident is well done, and you really get a feeling for what she’s going through.

The element that really made this book stand out for me was the villain, because he wasn’t your classic evil guy in a black hat who exists solely to create problems for the hero and heroine.  His motivations were complex and well thought out, and he had a genuine love for the child in the story, despite the terrible things he was capable of.

In fact, one of my favorite lines in the story was a line of dialogue in which one of the characters says, “Even normal, well-adjusted, caring people can crack if they’re forced to endure enough stress or loss or grief.  We all have our limits.” (From Chapter 21)

Interesting point.  And disturbing too.  It’s almost more frightening to read about “normal” people doing terrible things for reasons they consider good or justifiable, than to read about someone who does evil for the sake of evil.  Maybe because the “normal” bad guy seems so much more… real… or potentially real?

This is a book that will bring you to the edge of your seat.  If you enjoy a suspenseful mystery with interesting characters and a clean romance, I would recommend Deceived.

Thank you to the publisher, Revell for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy via NetGalley so I could participate in the Revell Reads blog tour.  My review represents my honest opinion of the book.

Book Review: Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

Title: Shadows of the Past
Author: Patricia Bradley
Series: Book 1 of the Logan Point Series
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Patricia Bradley’s debut novel, Shadows of the Past, is a must read for fans of inspirational romantic suspense interested in discovering a fresh new voice. This book is first in the brand new Logan Point series as well as winner of the Daphne de Maurier Award and the Touched by Love Award.

Summary:

Part romance, part danger, part mystery, this novel tells the story of psychology professor and victim profiler Taylor Martin’s search for her long missing father as well as her attempts to determine who is stalking her and sending threatening messages. Her prime suspect is a former student who happens to be the missing brother of Nick Sinclair, the handsome mystery writer she finds herself falling for despite her own fear of abandonment and his feelings of loss and guilt over the death of his late wife.

My reaction:

I thought the author did a great job keeping the story moving and maintaining a good balance between the romance, mystery, and suspense. I enjoy a good mystery, and was pleased to find that the clues you need for this one are all there if you’re paying attention, but cleverly camouflaged so as not to jump out and draw attention to themselves until the time is right. Then, when the ending is revealed, a host of seemingly unrelated pieces fall into place for a satisfying conclusion, where it all makes sense.

Besides the mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed the tender romantic moments between the hero and heroine. I thought the author did a great job fleshing out the characters’ personalities and backgrounds and that the pace and nature of their relationship felt natural to their situation. The chemistry was evident, as well as the internal conflict as each character struggled with his or her own uncertainties.

Many of the secondary characters were well developed and intriguing as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next book in the series will be taking us. I have high hopes for another great read. Meanwhile, kudos to Patricia Bradley on a well crafted and engaging first novel.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes as part of the Revell Reads program. My opinions are my own. If you’d like to read more of them, please consider subscribing to my blog.

To learn more about the author, connect with her on social media, or find some great discussion questions about this novel, check out the author’s Web site at ptbradley.com. And if you’re interested in reading this book, you’re in luck, because today is the official release date.

Book Review: Trapped by Irene Hannon

Title: Trapped
Author: Irene Hannon
Series: Book 2 of the Private Justice Series
Publisher: Revell
Genre(s): Christian Fiction, Inspirational Romantic Suspense, Mystery

When Laura Griffith’s teenage sister Darcy runs away from home, Laura is determined to track her down and bring her back safely. Laura hires private investigator and former ATF agent James “Dev” Devlin in the hope that with his help, they will be able to find Darcy quickly, before she becomes victim to the winter weather or to unsavory characters. But as time goes on and the trail gets cold, Dev and Laura begin to suspect the worst. Will they be able to find Darcy before it’s too late?

Fraught with danger, brimming with suspense, this tale is one that kept me turning the pages. I’m already a big fan of Irene Hannon’s novels, and I’ve looked forward to reading Trapped with a great deal of anticipation, particularly since learning that this latest novel features a librarian as its heroine. Yes, I am slightly biased on that point, being a librarian myself, but there you have it. I’m pleased to report that Trapped did not disappoint. Once again, Hannon has lived up to her reputation as queen of inspirational romantic suspense.

I enjoyed watching the romance blossom between hero and heroine over the course of the book, but the element that made this story stand out in my mind was Hannon’s portrayal of the villain. Early on, you know that there’s something not quite right about him, but the more you learn about his background and the current situation over the course of the story, the creepier the situation becomes and the more the suspense is heightened. I am impressed with Hannon’s ability to craft a complex believable villain who is capable of committing heinous crimes and yet believes that what he’s doing is for the best. It makes for a fascinating read.

I read and reviewed Vanished, the first book in this series, not that long ago. As I read this one, I was struck by how similar the two novels are to each other. There were quite a few deja vu moments for me, as I read scenes that felt eerily familiar because of their parallels to similar scenes in the earlier novel. If you have read Vanished, you will enjoy getting reacquainted with a number of familiar characters and meeting some new ones. If you have not read it yet, don’t worry. The books complement each other but do not depend upon each other to understand and follow the story. In my opinion, you won’t be missing anything should you decide to read them out of order.

For those who enjoy reading inspirational romantic suspense, I highly recommend Trapped, as well as its predecessor Vanished. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series. From what I’ve heard, Deceived is due out this summer, and if it’s anything like the first two in the Private Justice series, it should be a treat.

Thank you to the publisher, Revell, for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.  For some great discussion questions, check out the author’s web site.

Book Review: Vanished by Irene Hannon

Cover of Vanished by Irene HannonTitle: Vanished
Author: Irene Hannon
Series: Book 1 of the Private Justice Series
Genre(s): Christian Fiction, Inspirational Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Readers of Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense should find Vanished by Irene Hannon to be an interesting read.  The story begins with an unusual car accident.  Moira Harrison, the story’s heroine, is driving on an unfamiliar country road at night in the rain, when a terrified woman jumps in front of her car.  But when this woman disappears without a trace, no one believes that Moira saw her at all.  People think she must have seen a deer and mistaken it for a person given the bad conditions and her missing glasses, or that she became confused from the head injury she suffered in the accident.

But Moira knows what she saw and is convinced the woman was in some kind of trouble.  The rest of the story follows Moira’s quest for answers as she seeks to help the unknown woman she encountered on that dark country road.  Enter handsome Private Investigator and ex-detective Cal Burke, the one person inclined to believe Moira’s story.  As Moira and Cal work together to investigate the disappearance, they uncover incriminating evidence that points in an unlikely, but dangerous direction.

The suspense element is minimal in the first half of the book, but the mystery and romance elements keep the reader turning the pages.  Sufficient hints and foreshadowing allow the reader to keep a step ahead of the characters in their investigation, if you’re paying close attention.  But each question answered raises more questions in turn, pulling you continually further into the story, and making it way too hard to put down.  The romance between Cal and Moira is sweet and satisfying.  It moves at a believable pace with challenges arising from Cal’s lingering feelings for his deceased wife, and Moira’s status as a client.

As their investigation uncovers more and more evidence against their suspect, he becomes aware that Moira knows too much.  That’s when the suspense kicks into high gear, and the reader begins to wonder if Moira would have been better off letting this mystery go unsolved.

One plot twist in particular felt a little reminiscent of a Nancy Drew mystery, with the heroine rushing in where she shouldn’t and getting herself into trouble, before ultimately turning the situation around.  Nevertheless, the circumstances and character motivations surrounding her decisions felt plausible if a bit foolish, promoting a willing suspension of disbelief.

All in all, a fascinating read featuring romance, mystery, and suspense.  The characters were three dimensional and interesting, with believable motivations and reactions, even in the case of the bad guy.  The fascinating characters seem to be one of the best features of Irene Hannon’s work, along with the way she interweaves plot and character development throughout each scene, such that nothing is wasted.  It seems that everything on the page contributes something significant toward building a well crafted work of art.  Also impressive is the amount of detail in both the investigative and medical spheres, indicating the extensive research that must have gone into the writing of this book. Highly recommended for fans of Christian fiction, particularly those who enjoy romantic suspense.

For those interested in the discussability of Vanished, note that it raises a number of interesting questions about complicated issues like assisted suicide, and the ethics of using “pretexts” in private investigative work.  This book could be a good choice for stimulating discussion by a book group.  The author’s Web site, provides a number of excellent discussion questions for your consideration, but watch out for spoilers if you haven’t read the book yet!