It’s fun to choose which TBR pile to take a book from for this challenge. I have my scary library used books pile, my “must-reads borrowed from someone” pile, my “gosh that looked interesting at the time” pile, and others. Gradually diminishing is the pile from RomCom last summer; I have read and enjoyed at least half of the books I brought home from that wonderful weekend. This is the latest, and it knocked my socks off.
I met Pamela Clare at RomCon; she’s a Denver-area author, and everyone said she was both a fine writer and a terrific person. I quickly learned that the latter was true; she was charming and gracious, even though she was suffering back pain, and I really enjoyed meeting her. She signed my copy of this book while we chatted, but it took me six months to read it. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, mostly because I’m a wimp. I’m really glad I read this one!
So what did I love about this book? So much. First, the heroine – Kat’s a journalist who specializes in environmental reporting, very cool. She’s Native American, very traditionally raised, so there are interesting cultural issues to explore. Clare handles that aspect about as well as I’ve ever seen it done, with tremendous respect for the culture and a really educational and empathetic look at its traditions and their place in modern society. There are enough non-Native characters in the story that the explanations can be worked in very naturally; the hero shows off what he knows to impress the heroine, but he also needs to learn more so that he can understand her. I never felt like I was getting an info-dump, but at the same time there was a lot of information, fascinating and completely relevant to the story.
I loved the connection between the two main characters — great chemistry, but also great respect for each other and for self. No doormats here! They got to work as partners on the investigation; watching the couple work together is a big plus for me in romance. I was really pulling for them to work things out, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The suspense plot is great, too. It’s not too convoluted, but also not transparent. The motives of the bad guys are straightforward and make sense; they are clearly in the wrong, but they aren’t sick twisted psychos. The violence stayed beneath my intolerance threshold, which isn’t very high, but I’m not sure I could have taken it without the certainty that this was a ROMANCE. I immediately recommended this book to my sister, who reads a lot of romantic suspense. WIN!
The only downside, if you can call it that, is that reading this book did not shrink my TBR pile. Instead, I added the rest of the books in the series!
EDITED TO ADD: I’m so happy for Pamela that this book won the AAR Readers’ Poll Award for Best Romantic Suspense. You can see the full list of winners in all the categories, and some responses from the winning authors, here.