Series: Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce, #7
Published by Beach Path Publishing, LLC on August 22nd 2017
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He killed my best friend when we were only girls…but I got away. Now he’s hunting me again.
Well-renowned anthropologist and religious studies expert, Dr. Brooke Heaton, came face to face with evil as a ten-year-old, barely escaping a vicious, ritualistic serial killer. Now The Reverend, her childhood attacker, is hunting her once more, determined not to let her get away this time—and there’s only one man who can keep her alive.
Homeland Security agent Roman Walsh wants two things: to end The Reverend’s reign of terror and to get the sexy Dr. Heaton into his bed. When the two goals collide, can he keep his own deadly secrets buried?
Agreeing to consult on The Reverend’s case, little does Brooke realize the emotional chunk it will carve out of her soul and the burning need Roman will ignite inside her. She’ll have one last chance to stop the killer, or the ghost from her past will get his cold-blooded revenge—on her and everyone she cares about—once and for all.
‘Deadly Secrets’ started out very well for me, reading like a suspense thriller with a little bit of the Da Vinci Code thrown in. Put in ancient symbols, the occult and folklore and I’m sold on the creepiness factor. There’s loads of action, good pacing and dialogue—there isn’t a bored moment, especially for a sub-genre like romantic suspense—and it all went very well for me, up to a point.
I do realise that that is the typical Misty Evans read for me: it’ll all go swimmingly until a certain point when something goes awry with the characterisation or plot which will throw off the entire experience. I’d completely dug both Brooke and Roman till then as well, more the latter though, as he seemed more like a stable character than the former.
The Brooke Heaton of the first half of the story seemed like a completely different person from the one in the second half—she seemed a wee bit more TSTL, more headstrong and became a seductress to boot as the ‘frumpy’ academic, detached and closed-off appeared to have had a personality transplant.
But Brooke is also the meta-figure for the romance reader, as I soon found out, and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that, especially when Evans used her own book as an example (that was just bloody strange) of how readers start to compare their own situations (sometimes fancifully) to what real life is, only to get disappointed. While it was cute to start with, it popped up too frequently though, even being mentioned as part of the conflict between Brooke and Roman, which got annoying.
The mystery of the serial killing also turned out to be something more ‘mundane’ than I’d expected too, as the theories that Evans built up from the start were simply put to the side when the conflict came down to Brooke’s past. Without revealing too much, I found myself bewildered and not entirely convinced by the ‘revelations’ at the end and even much less so by the quick resolution and the even quicker proposal.
I do think that ‘Deadly Secrets’ could have been much more for me; unfortunately, the last half—despite the great action—fell flat in a way that made it hard to get behind the characters, much less their abrupt HEA.