~ Becs ~'s Reviews > A Thin, Dark Line

A Thin, Dark Line by Emma Elliot
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Aug 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: net-galley-for-review, ex-con-hero, review-copy, small-town-romance, romantic-suspense
Read from August 04 to 07, 2012

A very accomplished debut

When I first read the synopsis I thought – a body in the library?? How very Agatha Christie!! Also, it put me in mind of Jackson Rule by Sharon Sala but I was wrong. The author has a unique voice, the characters are well developed and there’s an intriguing mystery.

Cormac O’Malley has returned to Dogwood, Ohio after serving 15 years for the murder of the Sherriff’s son. He’s served his time, paid his debt to society and is trying to start life anew back with his grandfather. He turns up at the library and asks Eloise, our heroine and chief librarian, for a job as a handyman. She hires him - she believes her life is in a rut and she has fond memories of Cormac before he was sent to prison.

This is not a popular decision and small-town prejudices abound with a large majority of the population of Dogwood not prepared to give Cormac a second chance. Support for him actually comes from a surprising direction.

So Cormac and Eloise very slowly begin to develop feelings for one another. I have to say that this is not a steamy romance but much page time is given to the slow growth of their feelings. It’s told from Eloise’s POV and this works well and enough is given to the readers so they can see Cormac’s growing attachment to her. Cormac has had a difficult past and doesn’t really want to accept Eloise’s help and support at first and suspects her motives – he is very distrustful.

The horrific discovery of the body in the library starts the mystery and the action escalates rapidly – what happened on that fateful night 15 years ago is slowly revealed and people are going to extreme lengths to hide dark secrets. I did guess the identity of the killer about half way through the book but I think it was a lucky guess – it’s not really given away.

So this is a well written romantic suspense, the relationship between the two central characters is developed slowly and feels ‘real’, there’s great secondary characters you can’t help but love or hate, as the case may be. The author’s voice is captivating and I felt transported straight into her world right from the first paragraphs. It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel and I’m looking forward to more books by Emma Elliott.

4 stars romantic suspense

With thanks to NetGalley and The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House for a review copy of this book
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Reading Progress

08/04/2012
1.0% 7 comments
08/05/2012
16.0% "Loving this!" 3 comments

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Stacia (the 2010 club) I used to love Agatha Christie back in the day, not that it has anything to do with your review but since you mentioned her...

Nice review. :)


~ Becs ~ Thanks Stacia. When I was a kid there was a shop down the road called Square Deal - you could buy books for 10p and sell them back for 5p. So, firstly I read all the Enid Blytons as a kid this way and then moved onto Agatha Christie and read most of them like that too. The books were always old, ancient covers and battered but it was a good, cheap way to support my reading habit when I had virtually no money.

Sorry - totally off topic but Agatha Christie reminds me of it too!!


Monique ~ Sinfully Great review Becs......Love a good mystery!!


Michelle [Helen Geek] I have this one too. At the top of my "to read next" list based on this review. Thank you Dearie!


~ Becs ~ Thanks Monique and Michelle - not as steamy as I normally like my books but I surprised myself and really liked it.


message 6: by Baba (new)

Baba  Great review, Becs!


Jill Wonderful review, Becs. I loved this one too. So much more than you'd expect in a debut.


~ Becs ~ Thanks Baba and Jill. :-)


KatLynne Great review Becs!


~ Becs ~ Thanks KatLynne x


message 11: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Muses This reminds me of a LaVyrle Spencer WWII historical that I've always loved -Morning Glory - ex-con convicted of murder, librarian hires him (she develops a tendre for him, but he marries and falls in love with someone else), another murder occurs and people attempt too frame H (as I'm assuming happens here). It's definitely not a RS, though.

Thanks for the recc!


~ Becs ~ That pretty much sums it up apart from the hero marrying someone else :-)


message 13: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Muses Dammit, wth? ^ Baby is crowding me while trying to fall asleep, and the iPad is laying sideways in my lap. I hate typos. >:(


Monique ~ Sinfully Erin wrote: "Dammit, wth? ^ Baby is crowding me while trying to fall asleep, and the iPad is laying sideways in my lap. I hate typos. >:("

Erin, I am smiling 'cause I am SooOoo past that stage now! unfortunately computers were not so accessible when mine were babies so I had to sit through Whinnie the Poo and Postman Pat videos into the wee hours of the morning!!


message 15: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Muses How old are yours, Monique? Mine are 8, 6, and almost 20 mos. The baby was ... something less than planned, shall we say. ;) He is an absolute joy, though - acquiring new words in droves and his personality is big enough to fill Space. For instance, yesterday he and I were having a "conversation":

B: Mom?
Me: Yes, baby?
B: Sheese.
Me: Oh, yeah? You want cheese?
B: Ba-pa?
Me: Where is Grandpa?
B: Uuuuummmmmmmmm, ou-side.
Me: Is he outside?
B: Nnnnnnnnnoooooooooooo.
(He's the master of the drawn-out sound.)
B: Mom?
Me: Yes, baby?
B: Ba-pa? Free (aka, Mr. Freeze Pop or freezie)?
Me: You want a bomb pop or a freezie?
B: Nnoooooooooooo.

Obviously, it's all about the context. ;) He's figured out how to say almost everyone in our extended family's names in the last week, and the best ones are his brother and sister (Ella became Aa'ah and Harrison is H'in). For many reasons, including the ones that have almost ruined my life over the last few years, I'm taking the time to savor this part of their childhood(s). It might not be the life that I would have chosen, but it's the one that is fulfilling me. :)


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