Book Break: Buried Secrets

I read this book months ago, in fact, prior to its official release on April 7th, but you know how it goes … so much to do, so little time … I didn’t end up posting about it as early as I would have liked. Also, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I wanted to add a little more of my own content to my blog before I added another book break in. Having said all that, let me tell you about Irene Hannon’s Buried Secrets, the first in her Men of Valor series.

 From the Back Cover

They both wanted quieter, safer lives.

But crime never sleeps . . .

and killers keep killing.

After years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant is ready for the kinder, gentler life of a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes department resources. Enter ex-Navy SEAL Mac McGregor, the detective sent by the county to assist on the case. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales—and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

*************

The book starts out right in the middle of an intense scene, a moment in the past. We are witnesses to a crime that someone is very determined to hide. This is a great way to kick the book off. Because of this beginning, the mystery in this case isn’t so much “who did it?” (at least not for the reader) but “who did they do it to?” and since there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of evidence, “will they get caught?” Or probably more accurately, since we know it’s bound to happen, “how and when will they get caught?”

There’s a good amount of suspense throughout the book, a light bit of spiritual content, and then, of course, there’s the romance. When Police Chief Lisa Grant and County Detective Mac McGregor meet at a construction site, where a skeleton has been unearthed, their first encounter is not so great. But, as they begin working together to solve the case, not only do they make a dynamic team, but the attraction between them grows. The chemistry is evident as we get a glimpse into each character’s mind throughout the story. But both are committed to their work, and determined to put the case first and consider a personal relationship later. However, that darn attraction seems to keep getting in the way.

Meanwhile, the “villain” in the story is a very well-developed character — smart, determined, creative, cold-hearted, and extremely career focused — she thinks that everything should always go according to her plans. And she certainly has a knack for planning … devious planning, which is evident throughout the riveting story line where she does whatever is “necessary” to keep the truth from coming to light.

If you like a book with a blend of romance and mystery, Buried Secrets will not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, from its cool, embossed cover to the creative story within.

This is the second Irene Hannon book I have read, and I highly recommend this author to those who like a clean, clever, Christian-based book.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist.

“The queen of inspirational romantic suspense” (Library Journal)
is at the top of her game with this riveting new series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Buried Secrets from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group,
in exchange for my honest review.

Book Break: Check out Deceived by Irene Hannon

In the last few months, I have found myself with a little more free time than usual, so I have been taking my own advice about enjoying some rest and relaxation. For me, this includes one of my favorite activities: reading. And, I’m excited to share that I have signed up with Revell, a division of the Baker Publishing Group to read and review some of their books. Now, I’m not getting paid for this, but I do get the books for free, and I get to choose what I want to read and what I have time for; that’s good enough for me. So, on to my first review (I will have more books to share with you in the days ahead).

An Enjoyable Read That Will Have You
Thinking About the Characters and Pondering
the Plot Throughout the Day

Deceived

If you enjoy suspense stories with well-developed characters that are easy to relate to, and an intriguing plot line peppered with a bit of romance and just the right amount of danger and deception, you will want to pick up Irene Hannon’s book Deceived and read it for yourself.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I have never read any of this author’s works before, but after devouring this book in only a few days, I have a feeling I will be adding more of her works to my list. Deceived is the third book in the Private Justice series. However, not having read the prior two books—Vanished and Trapped—was not an issue for me. Although there were stories behind some of the characters from the private investigator’s office that were alluded to in this book, the story within these pages stood on its own from start to finish.

This is the description you will find on the back cover: For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden—and may be willing to 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 plot line that accelerates to an explosive finish

*****

I loved the banter between the members of Phoenix, Inc., the private investigators who took on Kate’s case. And even though the interaction and attraction between Kate and Connor, the ex-Secret Service man who agreed to help her, was somewhat predictable, it was still fun to follow along as they found themselves drawn together while the story unraveled.

The “villain” or antagonist in Deceived is quite complex. In fact, he has some very likeable traits, which make it very disturbing to discover the role he played in the event that happened three years earlier in Kate’s life. However, I think it’s a good thing; it shows that even people who have good qualities can snap and do crazy things under extreme circumstances.  I liked that the mystery or suspense was more about the why and how rather than the who.

I was pleased that the book contained a spiritual aspect with mentions of God, prayer, and faith that did not seem to be forced or in-your-face but was naturally woven into the story and through the characters. In fact, I found some of the references to be somewhat inspirational and applicable to my own life; for example: One character says, “That’s God for you. He likes to throw us a few curves now and then, turn things upside down. At least he’s giving us a sign of what’s coming today…” and from Connor we get, “I learned … to take every story seriously until it was proven otherwise. As for coincidences—I like that old saying about them being small miracles in which God chooses to remain anonymous.”

Coincidences

I would describe this book to others as a Christian romantic suspense novel with no graphic violence or language … a very enjoyable read that will have you thinking about the characters and pondering the plot throughout the day until you can once again pick the book back up and immerse yourself in following this intriguing story to its conclusion.

*****

Thank you to the publisher, Revell, for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy for my personal review and my honest opinion of the book.