Can you believe we’re knee-deep in the holidays? In the blink of an eye, I’ve gone from my birthday trip to London in February to enjoying a cup of coffee by the Christmas tree. This year has both dragged on and flown by, and while I never wish time away, it will be a relief to glimpse 2020 in the rearview mirror. Thank goodness for great books, and for the creativity of the authors who transport us to other places. December was a gold mine of romantic suspense—check these out:
Christina Dodd proves once again that she’s just a great storyteller, plain and simple. She’s kicking off her new Right Motive, Wrong Alibi series with a bang. Wrong Alibi is like the nightmare to end all nightmares for Evelyn Jones, who seems to be on the right path to a better life, on the straight and narrow after taking a bookkeeping job in a small-town Alaska. But instead of a respite, she finds herself framed for a double murder and sent to prison for eight years. The only way to set things right—including getting herself free and making the true murderer face his crimes—is to escape. This is a story of revenge and vindication, with an amazing setting, great character development, and an exciting pace.
There’s an old school feel to Alexandra Ivy’s newest thriller, Don’t Look, that took me back to my favorite Linda Howard (Mr. Perfect) and Susan Anderson (Shadow Dance) books … the ones that hooked me on the genre to begin with. Pike, Wisconsin has a serial killer with a hit list, but the person paying the most attention was the former sheriff, whose warnings were continually written off as the drunken ramblings of a has-been. But when the gruesome remains of a murder victim turns up, the direness of the situation firmly moves promptly to the front burner. This solid mystery was thrilling and kept me guessing almost until the end; it more than made up for the lighter romantic relationship between Lynne and Kir. They had great chemistry, but Ivy focused on other elements more than forging any great passion. Alexandra Ivy has become a perennial favorite of mine, and I’m looking forward to reading more in her Pike, Wisconsin series.
Christie Craig brings the heat back to Texas with the third installment of her Texas Justice book, Don’t Look Back. What happens when a “by-the-book FBI agent trusts a risk-taking detective for help in tracking down her sister’s killers?” All the good stuff, that’s what. FBI agent Brie Ryan is working undercover in the strip club where her half-sister was murdered, and when the shit hit the fan, desperately turns to Detective Connor Pierce for help. They have great chemistry and there’s lots of tension between the two as they inevitably progress toward romance. Craig does a nice job of creating a balance between dynamic characters who are equally intelligent, accomplished, flawed, and vulnerable.
I can’t sign off without mentioning Pamela Clare’s next installment of her Cobra Elite series, Hard Pursuit. Time got away from me this week because of holiday stuff and other deadlines, but it’s the next book on my TBR pile. I mean, Hard Line was one of my favorite books of the year, so I know this one will be dynamite.
As we close out the books on an incredibly stressful year, I hope you’ll find a few things to reflect on that make you smile and lighten your heart. A new year is right around the corner, and with it comes the promise of new opportunities, fresh outlooks, and more romance.
Happy Holidays, y’all. Stay safe.