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Arousing Suspicions    by Marianne Stillings order for
Arousing Suspicions
by Marianne Stillings
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2007 (2007)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When Tabitha March was a child, she suffered a life-threatening trauma that left her with the ability to see dreams. As an adult she uses her gift to make sense of what other people's dreams might be telling them. Her accuracy and her warm and sympathetic nature have garnered her a select and loyal clientele, some of whom even attend her weekly class. But when she sees murders being committed, she realizes that she - and most especially the distraught client who thinks he could be a cold-blooded killer - need specialized police help.

San Francisco police inspector Nathan Darling is a skeptic when it comes to all that smacks of the supernatural. If science can't provide a conclusive answer, then he doesn't want to hear about it. So naturally, when the cute blue-eyed blonde whom he'd initially investigated for solicitation claims that she can channel dreams, he's the first to cry scam artist. He's equally determined to stop a serial killer, however, and when Tabitha proves her claims by describing the latest murder scene to the last detail, hardcore skeptic Nate is desperate to figure out how the seemingly innocent-looking young woman manages to pull it off. But when another body is discovered just the way Tabby predicted, Nate grudgingly admits that she just might be telling the truth - and that she's fast becoming a liability for the killer. Nate also realizes it's high time to revise his closed-minded way of thinking before he loses the woman with whom he's fallen head over heels in love.

Arousing Suspicions kicks off Stillings' new Darling Detective series with wonderful flair and a slight whiff of the paranormal. After secondary roles in previous books, Nathan Darling finally stars in his own story, and what an engaging light romantic mystery it is. Nate's vocal skepticism regarding 'new age woo-woo crap' is often laugh out load hilarious, and double the fun each time Tabby puts him and his closed-minded opinions in their proper place. As their relationship grows so does the sexual tension and Stillings' knack for creating clever and often very funny dialogue only enhances their sizzling attraction. She also does a nice turn with a poignant back-story concerning Nate and his estranged elder brother Ethan (who has a secondary role in this story), which gives this lively, nicely written and character driven story that much more appeal.

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