In the Shadow of Malice by Nancy C. Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nancy C Weeks' 'In the Shadow Of' series are ridiculously addictive reads: romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal, rather in the vein of Rebecca York or Nora Roberts.
'In the Shadow of Malice' features Adam Blake, a tough ex-CIA agent with a weak spot a mile wide where his adorable daughter Anna is concerned, and Calista Martin, a music graduate moonlighting as a waitress in her grandfather's diner, who's determined to protect Anna as she failed to protect her murdered roommate. Both are strong characters, but while Adam is in many ways the driving force of the adventure, Calista can be just as determined when it comes to forcing her way past his defences.
Although an unlikely couple, they are clearly well-matched, and drawn together by their determination to protect Anna from the consequences of Adam's past. Anna is traumatised into silence by her mother's violent death, but soon finds a way to communicate with sensitive Calista, instigating a roller-coaster ride of an adventure involving the head of an international crime syndicate, who just happens also to be Adam's biological grandfather. Secrets and surprises abound, and although the scenario sounds implausible when summarised, Nancy Weeks' meticulous attention to setting and character make the story chillingly believable.
If things move a little fast between Adam and Calista at times, and she's surprisingly willing to throw herself into life-threatening adventures, it's not hard to put this down to a combination of her immediate devotion to Anna, with her survivor's guilt after the events of 'In The Shadow of Greed'. All in all, Nancy has woven a compelling story featuring a convincing, terrifying villain and a surprising couple whose developing relationship must contend against almost overwhelming odds. For me this is a must-read which scores top of the scale on both romance and suspense.
(NB: 'In The Shadow of Malice' officially releases on 10th March but is available for pre-order now at http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Shadow-Malice-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IPSCP8O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394296054&sr=8-1. I received an advance copy of this book for my honest review - thanks, Nancy! Just in case you didn't gather... I loved it!)
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