Carolina Reckoning

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Title: Carolina Reckoning
Author: Lisa Carter
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: August 6, 2013
Pages: 336

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When Alison Monaghan discovered evidence of her husband’s infidelity in his coat pocket, she was furious. She had intended to confront him when he came home that night but he never made it home. Soon, Frank’s body is discovered with a bullet wound to the head and Alison is suspect number one. Alison wants to know why her husband was on the lonely back-country road when he was murdered and she wants to prove her innocence, even if it means stepping on the killer’s toes to do it.

Detective Mike Barefoot, a Cherokee native from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, immediately suspects Alison as the killer. She has motive and opportunity, but for some reason he’s drawn to her in an unusual way that has nothing to do with the crime. He usually keeps his emotional walls high and never gets involved with murder suspects, so his attraction to Alison is odd and uncharacteristic for him. His goal is to find the killer and hopefully stop them from killing again.

As Alison and Mike struggle to find the truth about her husband, Alison can’t help but feel something for the younger detective. This is something she hasn’t felt for a long time and might just lead to more, if she lets it. Their attraction grows but so does the danger of their situation. Mike is trying to keep Alison safe but she refuses to let Mike do all the work, putting a target on her back and making it nearly impossible for Mike to keep her safe.

Can Alison and Mike discover who killed her husband or will the murderer silence them both before it’s too late? Can Mike keep Alison safe or will she put herself in too much danger? Will Alison open her heart to love again or will she forever hold onto the scars of her previous marriage? Can Mike break down his walls and love not only Alison but God too or will he lose them both because of his pain?
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When I saw this book and read the cover, I was in love. It seemed like the perfect suspense novel and one that I would really enjoy. However, it was a bit disappointing for me. When I picked up this book I expected an amazing romance and suspense but what I got wasn’t at all what I expected. Despite the disappointment, I tried to enjoy this book and I did when the suspenseful rolled around but unfortunately they weren’t very frequent.

The whole story has an amazingly slow pace, especially for a suspense. I could’ve easily walked away from this book, except I wanted to find out which of the dozen women was the killer, because I believed along with the heroine that the killer was a woman. Other than that detail, I probably would’ve walked away from this book and never come back. It took me too long to finish it anyway.

The suspense not only was slow but was shockingly not suspenseful. There’s maybe three attempts to scare her off the case and for a 300 something page book that is a sorry excuse for a suspense and the death knell to any suspense. The killer is actually pretty difficult to pick because of the wide array of women in this book. However, if you pay attention to details and go with your gut you might just get it right, though I can guarantee you will be surprised at some details that come to light, which was the saving grace for this suspense.

The romance was a bit lackluster as well. Mike is the most unromantic unchivalrous man ever and Alison is having a hard time deciding between two men, one Mike and the other very similar to her dead husband. Not to mention that both the heroine and hero both find Christ but neither have a big conversion which, in my opinion, really makes the book realistic because people who fight God their entire lives don’t usually just start talking to him and that’s it. I don’t know, this romance wasn’t what I dream of and isn’t really what I look forward to. I didn’t feel the love pour through the pages.

This author didn’t wow me with this one. I have no idea how many books this author has written but I’m hesitant to pick them up if there are any. However, something tells me this is a debut and if so, I might read her next books later on after she’s grown a bit. I hope this author can find a balance in the delicate dance between suspense, romance, and growth. I don’t really recommend this book.

Overall, I didn’t love this book. Disappointment might’ve clouded my opinion but for me the only thing that saved this book was the plot twist at the end of the book. People who like slower suspense and suspense about murdering women might like this one. This book is best kept to the adults. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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