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Virtue Falls    by Christina Dodd order for
Virtue Falls
by Christina Dodd
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What do a passionate geologist and an ex-FBI agent have in common (aside from once being married, that is)? Painful, traumatic childhoods. Garik Jacobsen was regularly beaten by a drunken father, while a four-year-old Elizabeth Banner watched her mother Misty's brutal murder in Virtue Falls, Washington.

The lovely Elizabeth's father was convicted of the killing and jailed. But when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he was moved to the Honor Mountain Memory Care Facility. A geologist like her dad, Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls, researching alluvial deposits in a study of 'Pacific Rim tectonic plates and subduction zones'. She was married to FBI agent Garik, but left him because he never talked about himself. Now he's on probation with the FBI after a violent incident - he believes he turned into his father.

The novel opens on a serial killing in San Francisco - the perp uses scissors. Sheriff Dennis Foster receives reports on these murders and they disturb him. After all, he built his reputation on bringing Charles Banner to justice. These new murders have nothing to do with the old one - do they?

Next comes an earthquake and tsunami, a big one. Elizabeth is enthralled by it and immediately puts herself in harm's way. Hearing the news (and knowing Elizabeth), Garik drops everything and rushes to Virtue Falls. When the quake unearths old bones, Garik (mistrusting Sheriff Foster) investigates and begins to question Charles Banner's guilt, while desperately trying to keep Elizabeth safe from a killer with unfinished business.

Virtue Falls is an engrossing romantic thriller. At the end, Christina Dodd sets the scene nicely for another romance, starring damaged, ex-Coast Guard Lieutenant Kateri Kwinault. Should be another good one!

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