Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Romantic Suspense in Ireland: Carla Neggers, DECLAN'S CROSS

A little more edgy than a "cozy," a little less did-I-lock-the-doors than a thriller -- romantic suspense fits into a comfort zone. DECLAN'S CROSS, from the deft Vermont/Ireland/Maine author Carla Neggers, provides an escape to the lush and rugged hills of the Emerald Isle. Following her usual path, Neggers centers the crime detection efforts on a pair of characters from her earlier books, this time FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan. But she also weaves in other characters we haven't yet grown to know as well, like Julianne Maroney, in love with another Donovan brother and trying to get over it.

Julianne is in Ireland on impulse, expecting her two-week visit to connect her with the start of a marine lab and to give her a restored sense of independence. Emma and Colin, on the other hand, are wrestling with how their intermeshed careers can make room for a relationship -- not easy, especially since Emma still has confidences to keep from her family's art theft investigations.

But Colin in particular senses irregularities in the invitation that Julianne has accepted and the FBI agents head across Ireland to check things out. And when a murder (thinly disguised as an accident) takes place within the marine lab situation, neither Colin nor Emma will leave the Irish village of Declan's Cross until Julianne is safe and the crime has been resolved. Emma may even need to bring her secretive grandfather into the solution -- and Colin isn't keeping any of this away from his brother in Maine, who's very worried for Julianne.

Cleverly plotted, with ample helpings of scenic luxury and warm generosity of heart, DECLAN'S CROSS is a gem of a diversion from winter's arrival and the holiday stresses. No need to read the previous title in the series (Heron's Cove) beforehand, but for a special treat, pick up both at once and indulge.

No comments: