This RITA® Reader Challenge was submitted by Donna. This novel finaled in the Novel With Strong Romantic Elements category.
Plot Summary: hen Alexandra Clarkson starts having terrifying visions filled with blood and ceremonial images, she tries to find a rational explanation maybe her mind is playing tricks on her, resurrecting creepy tableaux from her research on religious ceremonies and sects. But when Alex’s mother, Patsy, commits suicide without leaving behind any information, Alex is left wondering: could she be haunted by something from the childhood she doesn’t remember?
Detective Daniel Reed was the last person to speak to Patsy. What he reveals to Alex is shocking. Twenty-five years earlier, Patsy was married to Harlan Sommer, one of Sonoma County’s most prominent vintners, when their infant son disappeared without a trace. The loss destroyed the Sommers’ marriage, causing Patsy to leave and take Alex with her. A dead child… Called on to investigate the identity of a baby’s remains unearthed in a Sonoma vineyard, Reed had picked up a trail that led him to Patsy in San Francisco. Now Reed and Alex both wonder if the cold bones could be her baby brother Dylan, and Alex decides to accompany Reed back to Sonoma for the investigation. No sooner does she arrive, however, than she is drawn deep into the search for a twisted killer…
And now, Donna’s review:
A tiny skeleton is found and so commences a story of repressed memories, family secrets and murder.
This is supposed to be romantic suspense, and while there’s a level of suspense – you know who must be involved, they practically have neon signs, but there’s enough red herring action to keep it interesting – the romance? Meh. She admires his butt, he’s there when she’s sad, scared, horny so they have sex. White knight rescues damsel in distress, but there’s no real relationship. And surprisingly little interaction between them.
And that’s the problem with this book. There’s no real fleshing out of the relationships. Not between the H/h, not between parents & children, not between siblings. You get the surface only. So when you get to the end… Meh.
Interesting premise, nice base, no meat.