Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Celtic Knot of a Tale: Suspense and Romance -- Carla Neggers, THE WHISPER

Follow the threads of this latest suspense novel from Carla Neggers, but expect them to twist together into an increasingly complex pattern. In THE WHISPER, Neggers picks up the strands of art theft, Irish heritage, and heroes in the Boston Police Department that wove through her preceding novel in this series, The Mist. Allowing the delicious Lizzie Rush to step toward the background, she brings forward red-haired Sophie Malone, a newly degreed archaelogist who tramps up to a rustic cottage on the Beara Peninsula of Ireland, meeting Scoop Wisdom there -- one of the three BPD officers recovering from the dangers and disasters created by a serial killer in the last book. And there's instant chemistry between the two of them.

But Scoop is on his way back to Boston to sort out who, in his own police department, might have been crooked enough to take a bribe and bomb Scoop's home. And Sophie can't settle down, either, because she's haunted by an attack that happened in Ireland to her, but that just might connect to the Boston fiasco. No big surprise that the two of them take the same flight toward the States after all!

Meanwhile, chasing leads and hunting for missing persons on the Irish side of the ocean are Josie Goodwin -- tough-talking assistant to Lizzie's beloved, Will -- and Josie's way too challenging heart-throb, double agent Myles Fletcher, as wounded emotionally and internally as Scoop is physically from the Boston bombing.

Neggers balances the tensions of these with her expert hands, lifting a mirror to the risks of relationships while following Sophie into the dangers of high-stakes crime. Sophie's used to asking questions -- any good archaeologist has more questions than answers! -- but this time, her questions keep opening up more risks. And Scoop's not happy about walking into a crime scene with her:
Sophie gulped in the afternoon air, taking in the crush of cars out on the street, the feel of the sun on her face.

Scoop didn't say a word until they reached the Mini. Then he caught her by the shoulders and turned her to him. "You're all right?"

"Yes, why, do I look --"

"Because I'm going to yell at you. You're Professor Malone or Doctor Malone or Miss Malone. You're not Detective Malone. You got that? It's not just what you said in there. It's your body language. I had the same sense back in the ruin in Ireland."

"What sense?"

"That you've got a bit in your teeth and you're running."

He had a point, but she argued with him anyway.
Trust and betrayal, longing and self-discipline, a touch of recklessness -- Sophie's life includes them all, and it makes her a good investigator, an increasingly significant partner for Scoop. And the threads they're both following are suddenly leading further into both of their past lives than either one had anticipated.

Rich with Irish and Celtic art and myths as well as the beauty of both Boston and the Emerald Isle, THE WHISPER spins a tale that's as lovely as it is complex. And as the suspense builds, it's Sophie who'll take the most important risks of all.

No comments: