Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Romantic Suspense 27th June 2016
Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah AndreTall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre
Series: Damaged Heroes #1
Published by Beach Reads on June 3rd 2016
Pages: 297
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four-stars

His Life Changed in a Heartbeat Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.
Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.
A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.

It’s hard to put words to a story that opens in conflict, gets even more mired in it, then ups its gears and morphs into a distinctively gothic-inflected climax and ends, quite literally, at the edge of a cliff with many things yet unresolved.

Imagine my dismay when there wasn’t another part waiting to be published, or even an epilogue.

Sarah Andre’s crisp prose drives it all, as we’re thrust straight into the dizzying business of corporate raiding, mental illness and murder/suicide cases. In the eye of the storm are two former high-school lovers who ended badly, only to see each other again 12 years later by accident.

I did like the mystery and the whodunnit plot embedded in this particular reunion, but found myself sorely disappointed in the lack of development when it came to Devon and Hannah – a pairing that, within a week, simply came back together in a somewhat unbelievable, abrupt fashion without too much difficulty. It wasn’t that the pairing was a bad one; it was simply one that I thought I could have been invested in a lot more had they not spent most of the time skirting each other, caught up in their own individual affairs such that coming together again was inevitable but questionable. Instead, there was an excess of family drama that took the focus off their relationship, as the story veered in the direction of showing the various forms of adult anxiety and the collapse of carefully constructed facades.

That being said, with the idea of legitimacy and rightful ownership foregrounded throughout, the suspense in the story is superb and pretty much what I’d expect of this genre. I only wish there there were more to be said of the main characters – and their lives after the storm – whom I’ve really come to like.

four-stars

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