Desert Isle Keeper
Laura Griffin is an auto-buy and read for me, if for no other reason than that her journalistic approach to writing suspense grabs me by the attention every time. That being said, I have enjoyed every story she’s told thus far and her fourth installment of the Texas Murder Files, Deep Tide, is no different.
This is a tale of intrigue and deception, where the picturesque community of Lost Beach hides the true nature of a dark soul – because who expects murder and mayhem in paradise? This book is a little more police procedural than romance, but all of the good twisty, angsty bits are still in place. It’s also a great standalone if you haven’t read the first three in the series.
We’ve met Leyla Breda earlier in the series, though it’s typically as background information to her brothers, Joel and Owen, members of Lost Beach PD. By this time in the series, previous characters have fallen in love and are getting married – case in point, her brother Joel is marrying his lady love, Miranda (book two, Flight), and Leyla is catering the reception for them. It’s the perfect segue to showcase her skills and professionalism as a coffee shop owner and caterer. We get a good glimpse into her personality and see that she’s a little discombobulated to discover the absence of the wedding cake at the reception, but good under pressure and quick on her feet. Obviously, she saves the day.
That ability to jump in and go with the flow serves Leyla well, because she quickly steps into the spotlight when one of her baristas is found dead in the alley behind her shop. Fortunately, Sean Moran, a friend of Joel’s in town for the wedding, is an undercover FBI agent investigating a long running spree from several crime syndicates. Sean is an upright kind of guy, quick-witted and a good judge of character, skilfully able to sort through the chaff to get to the wheat. Sean demonstrates this quickly when he decides to include Leyla in his investigation. Granted, she was going to poke her head into the fray anyway, but he brings her onto more of a level playing field, in terms of conversation and sharing. It probably helps that she’s got two brothers on the police force.
Sean’s attraction to Leyla is really clear from the beginning, and while there’s a slow burn feeling to the story, their romance does progress at a nice, sexy pace. I find Griffin’s romantic suspense novels typically swing more to the suspense side of the pendulum, and as usual, the mystery here is captivating. Her ability to weave in police procedural with the suspense is testament to her years as a journalist – her characters ferret out the truth as I’m sure she once did. Also present are Griffin’s lush descriptions of character and place. Her women are strong and capable, her heroes protective and fair-minded. My one caveat here is that officer Nicole Lawson shines a little brighter on the investigation … granted, she’s a cop, but she’s also a secondary character. I wanted Leyla to be the primary brains of the operation.
If you’re a fan of ripped-from-the-headlines romantic suspense authors like Sharon Sala, Karen Rose, and Allison Brennan, give Laura Griffin a try. You won’t be disappointed.
|Review Date:||May 15, 2023|
|Book Type:||Romantic Suspense|
|Review Tags:||Texas | Texas Murder Files series|