We’re two months into the quarantine, y’all, and I hope you’re staying safe, sane, and healthy. North Carolina put its stay-at-home order into place on March 30, and it’s been an oddly productive period for me. I’ve perfected my sandwich bread and falafel recipes, baked seventeen thousand cookies (probably not that actual number), assembled a dozen puzzles, walked 300 miles (we live out in the country), finished the storyboard and sent it to the illustrator for an upcoming children’s book, and finished the second rounds of edits for my own forthcoming romantic suspense! I got all that done AND read four terrific romantic suspense’s. Like I said, I’m hopping!
My girl Rebecca Zanetti is back with book three in the Black Ops series, Broken, and my second favorite character, Clarence Wolfe (Hunter Holt was my fave). He’s big, he’s bad … and in this one, he’s in leathers at a sex club. Hallelujah, right? Because Zanetti has enriched the series with novellas, this is actually the fifth story, and like the others, it’s a winner. Wolfe’s got his hands full with Dana Mulberry, a journalist hell-bent on avenging the death of a colleague. I feel like reporters are presented in one of two ways in fiction: the Lois Lane’s who are busybodies sticking their noses where they don’t belong and constantly compromising their morals for a story, or the Pollyanna Clark Kent’s with their wide-eyed belief in all things good and the idea that shining a light on a story will bring unicorns and rainbows. Blessedly, Dana is neither … rather, she’s both a competent searcher of the truth and a responsible journalist. She also turns out to be a surprisingly capable partner for Wolfe, who’s reluctant to let anyone close for fear they would become an instant target for the man who took out his team while working for the Homeland Defense Department. They’re the whodunnit dream team for government operative and civilian pairings, and the development of their inevitable romance is so satisfying.
I’ve really enjoyed Tonya Burrows’ HORNET series, and by this latest installment, Honor Avenged, readers are pretty familiar with the dynamics of the team of mercenaries. Layered in with Burrows’ trademark nail-biting tension is the guilt that goes along with falling for your best friend’s widow. It’s even more difficult when your best friend was a fellow HORNET agent, and his wife is assertive in the opinion that her husband would still be alive had he not gone on the mission. There’s tension out the wazoo here—between the ghost of Danny always in the periphery, the mysterious flash drive, Leah’s abduction, and Marcus’ admission that he’d always loved Leah, there’s a lot to take in. It’s the most angsty of the series so far, but it’s full of suspense and action and a good book.
Girl Long Gone is a good cat-and-mouse book from newbie author Danielle M. Haas. Connor Mitchell is a police officer in the computer crimes unit, which is always a draw for me. When his sister goes missing after flirting with a mysterious man online, Connor begins to investigate on his own. It doesn’t take long to realize his sister may not have been the first victim, and he catches up with the stalker’s current target, Evelyn Price. There’s a nice balance of suspense and romance, and she’s created a really compelling, robust set of characters. I can’t wait to read more from Haas.
Juno Rushdan is a former U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer, which clearly gives her great insight into the intrigue she’s now writing. Until the End is the third book in her Final Hour series, and it’s an exciting story of suspense and political intrigue. For one thing, it involves another cybercrime plot and secret government agency, which is my catnip. Rushdan may win this month’s sweepstakes for best names: Castle Kinkade is an operative with a group called Gray Box (clever, right … the description is in the organization’s name), and Kit Westcott is a ‘white-hat hacker.’ Castle and Kit are caught up in an overwhelming conspiracy wrought with danger and betrayal, terrorists and spies, and a dramatic (and satisfying) climax. The romance was more secondary in this one, for me, but enjoyable all the same.
What exciting, interesting, or different things have you done this month? What great books have you read?