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Tell Me No Lies    by Annie Solomon Amazon.com order for
Tell Me No Lies
by Annie Solomon
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)
Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Detective Hank Bonner is two weeks away from early retirement from the Sokonan PD when he's handed a fresh murder case involving the death of convenience store owner Luka Kole. At first glance it looks open and shut -- a robbery gone bad -- but as those leads begin unraveling, new ones point toward Alexandra Baker. This is a woman locals have called their town savior, after the business savvy Alex made a deal with Russian based Renaissance Oil. It will spell the revival of Sokonan's economy and bring in jobs for hundreds of citizens.

Something about the icy, aloof and very evasive Alex arouses not only Hank's cop radar but also his desire. His boss and his brother (also Sokonan's mayor) warn Hank away, pointing out that focusing on Alex could jeopardize the business deal. But Hank persists and soon discovers that Alex is not only a consummate liar, she's fabricated her entire life. She's also up to her pretty neck in stolen Russian money and murders that date back more than a decade. Soon Hank is prepared to take any risk to protect Alex from those who'd prefer to see her dead rather than revealing the truth. And more importantly, he wants to save her from herself and her unwavering thirst for revenge.

Romantic suspense newcomer Annie Solomon is back in fine form with Tell Me No Lies. While the plot isn't new and the villains are identified early on, what makes this story stand out is Solomon's attention to solid and believable character development. She seamlessly interweaves her players into the plot, particularly Alex and Hank, who both carry a lot of emotional baggage. In Alex we see a young woman determined to exact her revenge on the powerful man she believes killed her father. And Hank is a man who's still guilt ridden over his failure to save his sister from her abusive husband. Falling in love only raises the stakes and creates a turning point for them both.

Adding panache to the tale is Solomonís revelation that her story was inspired by actual events -- she may have tied things up in a neat bow but the real Russian treasury money is still out there somewhere waiting to be found. Tell Me No Lies is a great story and Annie Solomon an author to watch.

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