Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
A book about cover-ups and lies, romantic suspense Cold Deception went onto my reading list after seeing some positive comments from readers and writers I follow on Twitter. Words like “drama and danger”, “gripping” and “great sense of place” jumped out at me, so I requested the book on Netgalley. It certainly was full of drama, and as the story progressed, danger. Here’s the blurb:
At 20, Julia Taylor went to prison for murdering a man who deserved it. Ten years later, she’s ready to put the past behind her and get on with her life. But someone won’t let her. Someone will do anything to drive Julia away, including murder.
As the body count rises, Julia is forced to accept the help of Dylan Andrews, a cop with dark secrets of his own. Unfortunately help has a cost. Dylan is digging into Julia’s past, uncovering secrets she is desperate to keep.
Julia must keep Dylan at a distance, or else risk her own safety, and the safety of everyone she loves …
Set in the Blue Mountains of NSW, not far from where I grew up on the “plains”, Cold Deception felt very familiar to me. Not in terms of the writing – but the setting. I could easily imagine Julia leaving the prison at Emu Plains and heading up the highway, through the lower mountains, and on to Katoomba. That familiarity adds to the “this could be real” sense, which in a suspense novel, is a good thing – to really get sucked in, you need to experience that tension. The title is well chosen – cold, referring to the climate and the cold-ness of the people behind the crimes.
As a romantic suspense, Cold Deception hooks readers quickly and keeps them on their toes until the end, with the two-fold hope of Julia being safe (and cleared of wrongdoing) and of her getting together with Dylan. Their chemistry is good, with their frustration (as their sexual tension builds) easily conveyed. Complexity was added through a number of different characters’ struggles with mental illness and addiction, which again, added to the real, “this could happen” sense.
Cold Deception is an enjoyable read that, for me, was hard to put down. For those who like romantic suspense, here’s another Australian writer to keep an eye on.