Desert Isle Keeper
Kill and Tell
This book is not the standard romance; it’s actually a mystery but it’s a book that nobody should miss out on. It’s that good!
Picture New Orleans in the summer; hot, humid, sultry, murderous and you’ve got the makings of one heck of a story. Karen Whitlaw is our heroine, and she’s exactly as you’d expect a child to be who has been raised by a mother after both had been abandoned by the man in the house. Well, now his problems have come to roost in Karen’s lap.
Meet Marc Chastain (I love that name, Chastain). It’s the epitome of a typical Creole/Cajun name and it works so well with the setting. He’s a cop who’s been assigned to find Karen and tell her about her father’s death. He’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside. He’s a man’s man and a lady killer at the same time — but, he’s not the murderer.
What the murderers are after is Dex Whitlaw’s kill book. Dex was, at one time, a sniper in Vietnam. During his days at war, he had written down every name of every man he had ever killed, including the name of the man he’d been paid to murder. For twenty years, he’s lived on the street, away from his family until one day, he decides to send his personal effects back home to his wife. His days are numbered, he knows it and he’s taking no chances of being found with that book on his person. It’s too valuable, it’s too important, it’s too telling.
When Karen learns of her father’s death, she flies to New Orleans to claim his body. She’s reluctant to go; her father, after all, abandoned his wife and child twenty years ago. She’s still mourning the recent loss of her mother and now must claim the body of a father she barely remembers. She’s angry, she’s resentful and she’s in pain.
She learns quickly to lean on Marc Chastain, to allow him to help her get through this mess. She wants to tie it up all in a neat little bow and then forget about it. What she can’t forget, though, is that low, smoky, Creole voice from the French quarter. Detective Chastain is a man no woman would want to forget. And then, before she even realizes how much she still loves her father, she finds that somebody is out to kill her. She doesn’t understand why. She has nothing of value, nothing to hide. First her father is murdered and it’s now obvious that she’s next on the list.
I don’t often read a book like this but I can honestly say that this story is as near to perfect a tale as I’ve ever had the privilege to read. While I tend toward reading romance – period – I found this book fascinating. The tale was excellent, the mystery handed in bits and pieces, built like a fine house, one step at a time. It was so well written that I didn’t even figure out why her father had been murdered until the very last moment and like a well built house, it all suddenly made sense. Now, those that are fans of mystery may discover the reason right in the very beginning or relative beginning of the book but I don’t think so. I’m normally pretty astute, I could see certain things happening but was always questioning why.
Ms. Howard has done a wonderful job of setting up the circumstances, playing the game, throwing the hints and still managing to keep everything so close to the chest that the reasons behind Dex Whitlaw’s murder took me by surprise. And while this book may be short on the romance, what romance was there was mind-blowingly beautiful. It gave this book texture and lent it an unsurpassed strength that I didn’t anticipate.
I loved the relationship that grew between Marc and Karen right from their first meeting. I loved the fact that Marc was so protective of this tiny, controlled woman and who fell in love with her almost at first sight. Their relationship might be of short duration but, boy, those two sure made the sparks fly. Their relationship could melt you in your chair.
If you are looking for something a little bit different from the norm, then give this book a try. While it isn’t what you would expect in a romance, there’s certainly romance in it. A hero to die for, a heroine who’s not afraid of her own shadow and a series of murders that will run a little chill up and down your spine.