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(A Ronnie Lake Mystery #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Beautiful. Bright. And possibly, deadly...

This is all Ronnie Lake knows about her potential sister-in-law, Julianna. But she’s determined to find out the truth about her wealthy brother’s new lover before he throws away his happiness, fortune, and quite possibly, his life. Who is this mysterious woman with two lives–and how deep does her deception go?

As a divorced, downsi
Paperback, 378 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Pancora Press (first published September 5th 2013)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Linda Strong
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Ronnie Lake is a divorced 50-something who's learning to be single again. Her children are grown and making their own way in the world. She is really close to her brother, so when her niece calls in a panic, Ronnie goes running.

She is a much younger woman, beautiful, charming, and maybe, just maybe she's dangerous. This is Juliana, the woman her brother has brought home with marriage on his mind.

But when Juliana shows up, strange things begin to happen ... hang up phone calls, a man with tattoos
Caroline Barker
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Stunner. It is a fun, light-hearted read despite the mystery of Ronnie’s brother, Frank’s new girlfriend, Juliana. Ronnie, in her mid-fifties, downsized and living alone, with the exception of her dog, Warrior, has already faced losing one brother, Peter, since his wife practically whisked him away and didn’t want much contact with his family. Her other brother, Frank, has not long been made a widower since the death of his wife, Joanie, but now he has a new girlfriend in Julian ...more
Cindy Grogan
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not generally a mystery fan, but I was looking for something different for some beach reading. Well, gotta say that I tore right through this. There were lots of twists I didn't expect (and I'm usually the one who sees how the movie is gonna end about 10 minutes into it). I loved Ronnie Lake's character: a bad-ass woman of a certain age --very cool. Anyway, I loved it. Can't wait for the next one!
Jody Lanshire
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I carry on so much about the book covers, you’d think I was in the business, but I’m not a designer, just an appreciator, and this cove is exquisite. Inside the book is told in the first person by Ronnie. I’d call Stunner a casual mystery. It’s not the most edge of your seat thrilling mystery, but it has it’s moments of fun.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Good mystery! I would read more from this author.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of feisty female sleuths and all-action thrillers
Stunner - a review by Rosemary Kenny

Pampered, wealthy, family-oriented divorcee Ronnie Lake is quick to come to her niece's aid when Laura calls, frantic about the new woman in her recently-widowed father's life and the mystery surrounding her past life. Ronnie hears how young widow Juliana Wentworth has seemingly bewitched Ronnie's older brother Frank with her stunning beauty and intellect - she's pretty good at chess too! However after Laura tells her about a number of 'hang-up' calls and show
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Disturbing things begin to happen when Frank brings his girlfriend, Juliana, home to meet the family. Ronnie is determined to protect her brother and find out what is going on. With the help of P.I., Will, she begins to look into Juliana’s background.

The story was told well, from Ronnie’s point of view. I would have loved a little more development of some of the characters. I liked Ronnie. She had her strengths and her flaws. She was nosey and would mess things up sometimes as she interviewed pe
Susie Hargis
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I wasn’t real taken with Ronnie. Her personality kind of rubbed me wrong. The writing was good, it was just the person being portrayed was annoying. And the mystery was flimsy. Sorry, that was all so harsh. The writing is good though.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Stunning Read!
I didn't want to put it down. For the first time in my life I wished for the plane to remain in a holding pattern. Ronnie Lake is someone I would enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with. I can't wait to see where Ronnie ends up next.
George Ringo
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thought I had this one figured out several times only to find I was off the mark. One of those books you plan to read in short bursts only to get caught up in the suspense and screw up your time schedule. Author's description of male losers is classic. Highly recommend.
Candice Ellis
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well written. I enjoyed reading this book. It held my interest right up to the end.
Mystic Miraflores
In the beginning, I thought this was going to be a pretty good book. But the more I read, the more Ronnie got on my nerves. She became an interfering busybody and I don't blame her brother at all with becoming very annoyed and angry with her. Plus the plot became predictable and too many coincidences just made the plot unbelievable by the end of the book. Sounds like there will be a sequel because Ronnie seems to have it in her mind to become an investigator. Hopefully the author will make her m ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ronnie Lake decides that she is suspicious of her possible future sister-in-law, Julianna, and decides to investigate her. I admit to taking a instant dislike to Ronnie and thought that her interference was officious.
Two stars because I did finish.
Charlotte Gard
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ronnie Lake Is Stunning

I loved the twists and turns and action in this book. Ronnie Lake seems like her character could be a fun, good friend. Always up for an adventure! Loved the book.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent job!

A great short story about love and family. Trust and fear also play a big part. But I will not go any further. Enjoy the story it is a good one.
Melissa Basnight
Ronnie’s brother Frank brings home a woman named Juliana that he met in California during his stay there. Frank’s daughter is a little suspicious of the woman and strange events at their house are occurring after Frank brings her home and wants Ronnie to investigate the new woman in her father’s life. Juliana has a checkered past and has information that she doesn’t want everyone to know about, but she also has a stalker that keeps harassing her from her childhood and doesn’t want to enlist the ...more
Nicole Harmon
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Niki Danforth

Title: Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery
Author: Niki Danforth
Publish Date: 2013
Publisher: Pancora Press
Buy Link:
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Book Blurb: "He hollers down to us, 'Who are you two, really?' I look up and smile on the way out of the bar and call up to him loudly. 'Like I said, before just a housewife from New Jersey." 252p

Mrs. Veronica Lake (Ronnie Lake), a new divorcee, received an urgent call from her nie
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this first book in the Ronnie Lake series. I have read them out of order and while this one sets the scene for the others to follow I didn’t feel that I should have read them in order. The later books refer to the earlier but not in an overt way that explains everything rather in just a way to encourage you to seek out the older books to read more about Ronnie and Warrior. It’s nice to see a P. I. At the beginning of their journey.
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I give this 3.5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book via Instafreebie, with thanks to the author.

Wonderful introduction to a new author and a mystery series that is a little more than the standard cosy.
Enticing premise that kept your eyes glued to the page and made for a quick read. My only complaint was that I found it got bogged down in the technical explanations of Aikido. Definitely recommended.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is book one of the Ronnie Lake Mystery series, with the main character Ronnie setting up as a private investigator after certain events happen and she ends up needing the help of an actual private investigator. Ronnie is not the typical sort you might expect in this role. She is in her fifties and on her own, after a recent unexpected divorce, apart from her German Shepherd. Her dog was actual an army dog and worked with her son, until he was killed in action. She managed to get custody of ...more
Niyati Em
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I requested this book from Kathy at I Am a Reader and then I completely forgot about it. That’s becoming one of my characteristics, to sign up for tours and promptly forget about them. I do plan on rectifying that and not let life get so much in the way.

And then when I got a mail saying the review was due, I found the book and started reading it. And I was HOOKED!

This is a great book and an amazing cosy mystery. I say that because things are sedate and sweet. It isn’t caught up in the action
Jennifer Thompson
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book put me at odds. I liked a lot of things about it, but there was something missing. Ronnie Lake is the main character. She's 55, and actively involved in martial arts training. I was happy to discover this, as one doesn't generally see a lot of characters in this age group to begin with, let alone those who could be role models.

Ronnie is close with her brother, Frank, who is in a new relationship with a woman named Juliana. Frank's daughter, Laura, has some suspicions about this new wom
Kristina Applegate
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: free-for-review
When Ronnie Lake gets a frantic call from her niece begging for help, she drives like hell to her childhood home to see how she can help her anxious niece. Her niece gives Ronnie a jumbled up story of a new and stunning woman in her father’s life and begs for help in investigating the woman. Ready to wave it off as nothing out of the ordinary, Ronnie sees for herself all the mysterious events that start to happen since the mysterious woman's arrival: phone calls, a suspicious and smelly package ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had a lot of fun reading Stunner by Niki Danforth. I have the opportunity to read books for free for honest reviews and had already read Delilah, book #2 in this series. (Yes, this is a little backwards but sometimes that’s how it goes.) Since I really liked Delilah, I bought Stunner and read it on my own. I’ll admit Delilah is still my favorite but Stunner was still great! I love a mystery where I have NO IDEA what is going on and Danforth did an excellent job of confusing me in several areas ...more
Marika Charalambous
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full review at:

Ronnie Lake is currently unemployed (downsized), divorced and with a lot of time on her hands. Not the youngest either, sure she will find a job soon, but right now there’s no hurry at all, especially since she doesn’t have a money problem. She engages in martial art classes in her spare time and loves her dog that accompanies her everywhere.

One day she gets a surprise visit from her brother, accompanied by Julianna, his new and younger gir
Ariel G
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beginning with the introduction of a captivating, secretive woman into the life of Ronnie Lake, a tough 50-something who'd do anything to protect her remaining family, STUNNER: A RONNIE LAKE MYSTERY quickly turns from a mystery into an intricate unraveling of one woman's past - and its repercussions for Ronnie's present.

True, the book does follow a typical mystery format, with its unlikely detective following clue after clue until finally arriving at the answers she seeks. In fact, the presentin
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was given Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery in return for an honest review.
I was not disappointed. I absolutely fell in love with Ronnie Lake, even though at times I wanted to smack some sense into her. She is a 50 something divorcee who is content with her life until her handsome, rich brother brings home his younger girlfriend, Julianna. At first her niece is suspicious of the strange events that begin once Julianna is brought into her home and fills her Aunt in on what's been going on. Scared
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Veronica (AKA Ronnie) Lake is a newly divorced, fifty-something, woman, tired of feeling like her life is out of control. She takes up Aikido, a form of martial arts, and becomes a black belt. She moves from her huge home to the guest cottage on the property and rents the huge home to a family with five children. One day after her Aikido class, she gets a frantic call from her college graduate niece, Laura. Laura’s mother died ten months ago. After a 4 month business trip to California, Laura’s ...more
Brooklyn J.
When I read its synopsis, this book interested me because of the character's age. I pictured her as a wise, witty older woman, like a modern Miss Marple, and that sounded like an enjoyable read--even for someone who doesn't normally like crime stories. The pacing of this story is good; high-intensity suspense scenes are mixed in with more relaxed ones. But to me, there is something missing. Although she is over 50, Ronnie narrates and converses with the speech of someone much younger. The dialog ...more
Kathleen Kelly
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ronnie Lake is a middle aged woman who appears to be very protective of her brother and sees his new girlfriend Julianna as being a bit too perfect. She becomes suspicious of her after her niece Laura informs her of some weird goings on with Julianna. Ronnie immerses herself in trying to find out all she can about the woman, which leads her to the mystery of the story.

I found Ronnie to be a likable character if a bit too nosy for her own good. I did enjoy the humor involved of course and the pl
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Niki Danforth, daughter of a Cold War covert intelligence officer, has the "thriller/adventure" gene in her DNA. After a career as a successful TV/video producer and director in New York, this empty-nester is picking up her first love of mystery books and recreating herself as an author in the genre. Danforth lives in the New Jersey countryside with her husband and two drama-queen dogs.

Other books in the series

A Ronnie Lake Mystery (3 books)
  • Delilah: A Ronnie Lake Cold Case: A woman private investigator crime series Short Story
  • Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery: A woman private investigator crime series

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“They seem so close, as if they share an unspoken language, what with those secret looks between them at dinner the other night at the club—well, all along they’ve been that way. Laura continues. “Juliana got very quiet, and Daddy asked her what was wrong. She said parts of her life are still unsettled and she needs time to take care of that first. Daddy said he wants to help.” “What did she say to that?” I put down my glass.” 0 likes
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