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Samantha Barron is fighting battles in both her professional and personal lives, and her ex-lover Douglas Ruark is at the center of both. Samantha works now at the Bergen County, New Jersey prosecutor’s office as a victim advocate. She took the job after being fired by Ruark from his crisis response team, when she ran into a burning building to save a child, endangering herself. Now Ruark is back, working in Samantha’s office while his broken leg, injured on the job, heals. Added to the hurt and passion connected with Ruark, Samantha also has to contend with a mysterious girl who shows up the same day as Ruark and disappears as quickly—but only after some words suggesting she is in danger that may be related to a cult and a murder at the Greenwich Village Halloween parade the day before. In the course of solving the crime and finding Miriam, the girl, Samantha is drawn into the heart of the cult world and thrown together with Ruark during the investigation.

This is a strong example of romantic suspense that I found hard to put down. Samantha is a sympathetic protagonist, bent on solving the crime and saving Miriam, even as she puts herself in danger. She has a traumatic backstory, accounting for her determination to help the victimized. Ruark is a dream male lead, tough and vulnerable, his weakness his desire to protect his partner. The real strength of the work, however, lies in the details of its subject matter of cults and their dynamics. The only weakness might be the novel’s formulaic conventions: the two leads at odds until they come together at the climax (in this case, complete with a fire). However, this conventionality did not stop me from turning the pages and is to be expected of genre fiction. This is a strong representation of romantic suspense.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 328 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 05-Feb-2014
ISBN 9781495457715
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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