Favorite quote: We all tell lies. We all have secrets. A secret can own a person. A secret is powerful. But only to the degree that the truth threatens someone.”
I’m not sure what it was about the blurb that captured my attention, but I’m so glad it did. I have not read romantic suspense in a while and I realize now that I’ve missed it. Also, I had no issues reading this out-of-order. The author gives us enough within this story that it all makes sense.
In a nutshell, Angie Pallorino is an ex-detective who was let go after shooting and killing a suspect when she went a bit rogue on a case she had been working on. Additionally, that case brought forth certain truths about her own past that she was completely unaware of. She is attempting to rebuild her career in private investigations and is currently working with a company called Coastal Investigations, but only until she has enough hours under her belt. After that, she plans to strike out on her own.
Angie is in a relationship with Det. James Maddocks, who she had previously worked with while on the force. They are in love, but Angie is struggling with recent events, the loss of her job and rebuilding her career. In an attempt to spend quality time, they go away for a long weekend to camp and fish. On their last night while packing up to leave, they hear a man screaming for help. He was out along the banks of the Nahamish River harvesting wild mushrooms when he stumbles upon partially unearthed human remains. An autopsy reveals the body to be that of Jasmine Gulati, who was seen going over the falls in 1994, 24 years before.
What follows is an incredibly twisted story with multiple layers of deception, revealed slowly and in such a way that it kept me guessing until nearly the end. I love to guess the outcome when reading RS, but my first choice of the “killer” was off; and while I admit to figuring out part of the details about who killed Jasmine, there was so much more to it. So many secrets, not only about what happened to Jasmine and who killed her, but the lengths people will go to protect those they love. Add to that, a small town where everyone knows everyone and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a big cover up where more than just the killer is at fault. Beyond the murder, you have the story of the women who were with Jasmine on the fated fishing trip that took her life, as well as some crossover between other cold cases. White spins a fantastic mystery with awesome connectivity between all the pieces. I will definitely be reading the prior two books and look forward to more from this author.
Note: While there is an element of romance in this story I wanted to note that Angie and Maddocks while together at the beginning of the story, take a break right after their weekend trip when the body is found. Angie is struggling to commit, so Maddocks, frustrated, puts the relationship ball in her court. They are apart through the whole book until nearly the end when everything is wrapped up and they do appear together in the epilogue.
This was an interesting take on the theme of Beauty and the Beast. Isabelle “Belle” Reading finds herself homeless when her dad kicks her out of the house because he’s not happy with her choice of friends and the business that she’s started with them-The Naughty Princess Club. Belle is devastated. She has no money to get a place of her own, she can’t ask her friends who have financial problems of their own, and all her hopes of saving her beloved library are going down the drain. She begins to sleep at the library while she tries to figure out what to do next.
Vincent “Beast” Adams comes through big time when he realizes Belle has been sleeping at the library. He offers her a place to stay while she figures things out. Vincent is the bouncer at a club in town and while Belle knows him, she confused by his offer. Since she has no other prospects, she accepts.
I’m not sure what it was about the blurb that made me want to read this story. I’ve stayed away from stories that use fairytales blatantly as a theme. In this one, our H/H are even named Belle and Beast. Perhaps I was intrigued by the fact that these young women who meet in book 1, find a fast friendship in their common struggles and decide to start a princess themed stripping business because why not??? Though the Disney franchise would probably have a cow!
I took a while to actually “get” this pairing. I’m not sure if it’s because I had not read the previous book and the relationship dynamic had already been established for Belle and Vincent. As the story moves forward, though, I came to enjoy them as a couple. Belle comes off as a bit naive and Vincent’s beasty-ness is really just based on his physical size. I guess it’s a good name for a bouncer at a club. I warmed to Vincent so much more once we get into his back story and I could understand where his head is at. It certainly confirms the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” where Vincent is concerned-because he was so much more and he and Belle are well suited.
Cute story with humorous moments with a feel-good-girlfriends theme.