This book was a collection of three novellas, all by authors I love, so of course I was thrilled to get a chance to review it. Dee Henderson is a veteran mystery/suspense writer, and she does it very well, with excellent character development. I think that mostly comes from how much conversation she allows her characters to have. I almost feel like I’m watching a movie rather than reading a book at times, as I imagine the characters dialoguing back and forth.
In Dee Henderson’s novella “Betrayal,” Janelle Roberts is freed–thanks to people she doesn’t know–after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.
If you’re familiar with the works of Dee Henderson, you’ll be glad to continue to get to know characters Ann and Paul Falcon a bit better, but also get to know new characters like Janelle. I’ve read several of Henderson’s books, and though the characters show up multiple times in different capacities throughout other books, I don’t think you’ll be lost if this is your first exposure to her writing. I hope it won’t be your last, though! I loved this story, and can’t imagine what it would be like to be Janelle Roberts, in prison for six years for a murder you didn’t commit, then being pardoned by people you’ve never met through bizarre happenstance circumstances. It would be so overwhelming, and Henderson wrote that piece into Janelle’s character very well. I hope to see this set of characters pop back in and out of future books!
In Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?
This wasn’t my first Dani Pettrey book either. As I mentioned, I love all three authors. This one, however, is more of a stand-alone than the other two. These are characters I didn’t know, but still grew to love quickly. Tenny and Callen are resilient and they’re fighters, and they had a LOT to fight for and through throughout this novella that kept me coming back for more and needing to know what happened next. Pettrey is a master suspense writer — don’t start this book or this story at night if you need to get up early! You won’t want to stop once you’ve started.
I love the background details that Pettrey provides, even for secondary characters. You really feel like you’re watching the story unfold this way, and especially when the story has as little time to develop as a novella usually does, this is a valuable skill in a writer’s toolbox.
In Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics,” trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him–and those around him–forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him.(book blurbs copied from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38502342-the-cost-of-betrayal)
On this one, having read other books with the St. John characters in them, I would recommend reading after reading some of Lynette Eason’s other books. It likely could stand alone just fine, as Eason does an excellent job of filling in pertinent information as it’s relevant to the story line of her current book. But you’ll know so much more about the secondary characters, who’ve all had bigger roles and even story lines of their own in other books. Other books in this series (Blue Justice) include Oath of Honor, Called to Protect, and Code of Valor (which releases January 2019).
I really enjoyed this look into the life of Ruthie St. John, as well as the reappearance of several other St. John characters. Not that I was surprised, but this was yet another story in a collection that kept me thirsting to know how everything was going to wrap itself together. Was everything going to work out? Would there be tragedy? Heart break? Was everyone going to make it? Eason’s tagline on her own website (https://lynetteeason.com/) is “Infinite Suspense” and I’ve yet to read a book of hers that didn’t deliver on that promise. For other great Lynette Eason finds, check out the Elite Guardians series.
Overall, I enjoyed this collection very much. It’s a quick read, especially since you can’t possibly get bored of plots or characters when the stories move so quickly and only last for a third of the book. My only negative, and it’s barely even one at that, is that novellas, by very nature of what they are (short novels), wrap up too quickly. You just start to feel like the story is in full swing, and you’re at the height of conflict and suspense, and it all comes crashing to an end and wraps things up. It sure leaves you thirsting for more in that series and from that author though, so I’d call it a sound marketing strategy 😉
Book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.