Wow! This one will leave you desperate for more - it definitely leaves you way more questions than answers.
This is the story of Lena and Ezra but ther...moreWow! This one will leave you desperate for more - it definitely leaves you way more questions than answers.
This is the story of Lena and Ezra but there is an underlying suspense plot that will play out over all 3 novels of the trilogy and is only just coming into bloom by the end of this one.
It all takes place in a small town - Ash, Kentucky. It's totally character driven and I had a little trouble at first working out who they all were but they're so well written, they become to life off the pages pretty quickly.
Lena Riddle is a blind chef (think sharp knives and hot stoves and you begin to understand her) who lives alone with her guide dog Puck on the edge of the woods. She's fiercely independent and will do anything to protect that independence. Ezra King is a state cop who is in Ash staying at his late Grandma's house recovering from being shot in the leg by his partner who was a cop gone bad and also his lover. Oh, and he killed her too. Ezra is plagued by bad dreams and is undecided whether or not he is going back to his job.
We also have Law Reilly, one of Lena's best friends. He's a very private guy but he is actually a successful published author using a pen name. Most of Ash's residents have no idea about his alter-ego and regard him with suspicion. He's also carrying a candle for Lena but it's unrequited. He hires his childhood friend Hope Carson to come and sort him out as he is a disaster in the admin field and she sets about organising his office. Hope has a horrendous past. She was married to a cop who subject her to emotional and physical abuse. She's got away but, as he's a cop, he's managed to avoid all charges and convince most people that Hope is unstable and violent herself. Hope has a real bad case of PTSD and a dread of cops.
We also meet Remy Jennings, the local DA who is falling for Hope from the first moment he sees her. We don't know much about Remy yet, but we will in the next novel.
So, to the suspense story - Lena wakes up one night and hears a woman desperately screaming for help in the woods behind her house. She calls the police but, by the time they arrive, there is nothing to be seen or heard. They don't give her story much credit. Thankfully, Ezra does and he thinks Lena is now in danger. Their love story blossoms from this point onwards and they have a palpable chemistry and just sizzles off the pages. Of course, this is Shiloh Walker so we have some pretty hot sex scenes!
I'm not going to say any more about the suspense plot because to do so would be to spoil it. We do get many scenes from the villain's POV and these are incredibly well done. When reading these, I felt like I was walking through a foggy wood - a misty, unclear view and every little sound echoed back at me and I actually felt cold and claustrophobic when I was reading them. We don't know his identity but he is one of the Ash residents and I had a strong suspect but I guess I won't find out if I'm right until the third novel.
So the suspense story is a slow burner but it builds with a frightening intensity and the last couple of chapters will leave you wondering where on earth it is going to go next. Hope is the main character of the next novel and we leave her in a pretty bad predicament at the end of this one.
So, a 5 star romantic suspense for the touching love story between Ezra and Lena and the well developed and pulsating suspense plot.(less)
Wow! This is a dark, twisted shocker of a romantic suspense. With an awesome plot, it would make an incredibly tense film. Hollywood – are you listeni...moreWow! This is a dark, twisted shocker of a romantic suspense. With an awesome plot, it would make an incredibly tense film. Hollywood – are you listening??
We have Shay who has suffered a highly traumatic past so awful that she has only patchy memories – her story is slowly revealed to us throughout the novel. She has moved to Alaska to seek solitude and write under the male pseudonym Shane Neill. Very few people know about her alter-ego and she manages to keep her secret life locked down and communicates only with the few that need to know via the internet. As it turns out, her anonymity will almost be her downfall.
After suffering a car accident and spending some time unconscious in the ICU, Shay returns home to find that someone has started a blog, a Facebook page, a twitter account all in the name of Shane Neill and has even attended a book signing in her absence at the bookstore of her ex-boyfriend Elliot. Elliot knows nothing about her secret author life.
This was an incredibly spine-tingling tale as the faceless imposter attempted to take over Shay’s life with horrifying efficiency. It was really very creepy and quite shocking how easily it was all done with today’s modern technology. I did actually guess what was going on but not until over half way through the story. Shay’s back story is very slowly revealed to us as the novel progresses and it’s a shocker. She has truly suffered. I do enjoy this – a romance novel is not complete for me without the characters suffering and having suffered. I really do enjoy the angst and this book is laden with it.
There’s a kind of desperate sadness about Shay, an acceptance of what she’s become and a grim realisation that she can never truly put the past behind her and find happiness but Elliot is determined that they will be together and he was very much the alpha hero helping Shay fight her demons/dragons and he does finally manage to get through the barrier that she’s built around her emotions.
I have to say that I did find the sudden changes in POV a little confusing – this may have more to do with the formatting of the ebook I received rather than the writing. I knocked it down from 5 stars to 4 because of the incredibly spineless decision that Shay makes towards the end of the book which hurts Elliot badly despite the fact that he has almost made the ultimate sacrifice for her. She’d been so brave up until this point, facing her past and her demons, and the decision she makes seemed to me fairly out of character.
Elliot was a good hero, not overly the top alpha but incredibly patient and persistent with Shay – they’d spent a very chaste year together before he had broken it off as she wouldn’t open up to him but he’d never stopped loving her and his protective instincts swing into action when he realises what is happening to her now.
So, all in all, a very good plot with a much abused heroine and a hero who’s also had his share of nightmares. If you enjoy this then I can highly recommend that you try Shiloh Walker’s Ash and Fragile series.
4 stars romantic suspense
ARC courtesy of Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley