A Whisper in the Dark
Berkley, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
ohn Merrick has hit rock bottom since the accidental shooting of an undercover cop during a botched drug raid. No amount of support from his peers, the Chicago police department, or even the ruling that the shooting was accidental, can erase his guilt. After resigning his job, he heads back to his home town of New Orleans, determined to work through his issues in his own way - which quickly leads to alcohol dependence. Pressure from his younger brother (who's also a cop) to clean up his act and get some help falls on deaf ears. However, when an old family friend approaches him to repay a favor, John feels honor-bound to comply.
are book dealer Julia Wainwright has received a series of threatening letters saying that she must '
pay for her sins
'. She's determined to handle the situation on her own, so when her father announces he's hired John Merrick to investigate, Julia isn't happy. Her father is a local religious leader and has no idea that Julia writes erotica. And she wants to keep it that way, knowing that the revelation could seriously harm his burgeoning ministry. John is immediately aware that Julia is keeping secrets, but has already decided that his involvement in this case will be short-lived. He'll provide a quick security check of her bookshop and apartment and then hand the case over to someone else. But as the stalker's threats escalate and John finds himself increasingly attracted to Julia - who's all grown up and more beautiful than he could ever have imagined - he knows that handing over the case to another detective is no longer an option.
inda Castillo - who already has a sizeable backlist of romantic suspense to her credit - has proven that she knows how to spin a tense and satisfying thriller, incorporating a solid love story. Her vivid and believable characterizations lend additional depth and she does a nice job with both her leads and her supporting cast. The fact that Julia and John have a history adds credence. Even so, John was a disappointment; his constant belligerence toward anyone who tries to help him (including Julia) wears thin by the end of the story, making him very hard to like. As a whole though,
A Whisper in the Dark
delivers enough sexual tension, drama and taut action to keep readers engrossed.
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