Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand (ARC Review)

When novelists Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand first met in a Houston critique group, they never expected where friendship would take them. She wrote romance; he wrote crime novels. But growing respect for each other's work culminated in the decision to try blending their talents into this wonderfully engaging story merging romance and mystery.

Rylee Monroe walks dogs in old-money Charleston, a part of the city recently targeted by a daring thief. Logan Woods works the crime beat for the local paper but dreams of a life as a nonfiction writer. When the string of robberies takes a strange twist, Logan sees the making of a once-in-a-lifetime book that seems to circle around this charming, eye-catching dogwalker. But pursuing the truth means ignoring that he seems to be falling for her. And what is she hiding in her past that could crack the story wide open?

I won this book as a give away from LibraryThing.com so I'm very happy to do a review here on RAtC! The book is marketed as a romance/crime/mystery novel and it definitely lives up to its name. There are elements of all those genres though I feel that sometimes the length of the book detracted from the authors' ability to make everything pop. Rylee was a fun character to learn about, her antics as a rollerskating dogwalker make her a heroine to root for - especially when she uses those rollerblades as a weapon. Logan is a good guy, but I feel like more of his personality and the work that he does as an investigative reporter could have been illuminated a bit more. There are enough unique suspects and enough intricacy to the events that a bit more room, pages wise, to expand on everything would have been welcome. The only thing that was really unexpected about the novel were the religious elements. I don't know the authors, so I can't say that I should have expected it, but Rylee and Logan definitely connected on a religious level. You could even say that Rylee has a spiritual epiphany during her journey to prove her innocence. It doesn't detract from the book, but I think some readers would be turned off and others would be inspired by that inclusion. Either way it's an enjoyable novel and a unique one in that these authors came to together to make a romantic crime novel. I've never read about anything like that being published before and just for that it's worth your time to try.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up, but since it's being released in February as a trade paper it might be better to request a copy at your local library.

Series - None