Just finished 2 more Brenda Novak books from the Stillwater Trilogy, missing the first, but here is a review of the two I read. Will have to find the first one….sigh.
After a painful divorce, detective Allie McCormick comes back to her childhood town of Stillwater to start a new life with her six-year old daughter. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that her father happens to be the chief of police and offers her a job. Immediately, Allie begins to work on a cold case–the strange disappearance of Reverend Lee Barker nineteen years ago. But the time factor is not the problem. The main problem is the chief suspect, handsome and brooding Clay Montgomery, who everybody in the town hates and believes to have murdered the Reverend.
As the investigation unfolds, and Allie falls deeper into her relationship with Clay, she realizes the man she has fallen in love with could not be capable of murder. She decides to help him to the end, even if that means putting herself in danger and fighting the whole town and its most important family. Will she succeed? And what if the famous Reverend, who everyone respected to much, turns out to be the most despicable of criminals?
Surprising twists and turns and a couple of interesting sub-plots keep the story moving at a fast pace until the very startling ending. Novak has a keen gift for combining suspense and romance, as well as for creating real, sympathetic heroines and darkly mysterious heroes that beautifully stand out from the typical stereotypes of the genre. The way Allie `solves’ the case at the end is smart and unexpected.
Novak’s last Stillwater novel revisits the small Mississippi town, where journalist/newspaper owner Madeline Barker is still seeking closure two decades after the disappearance of her father, a town minister. When police find her missing father’s Cadillac submerged in a quarry outside of town, Maddy is determined to discover, finally, what really happened. Maddy hires L.A. private eye Hunter Solozano to solve the case, but neither expects to find romance: Hunter is an embittered divorcé, and Maddy recently broke up with a domineering boyfriend. While their relationship simmers, Hunter discovers some disturbing truths about Maddy’s father and his domestic life; before long, a series of sinister phone calls and a botched robbery raise the stakes.