Echo of Danger
Marta Perry has been one of my favorite authors for many years, and I’ve always enjoyed her short inspirational romances, many inspired by her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Although Echo of Danger is set in Amish country, any inspirational elements are tangential to the strong romantic suspense. The book is the first in her new Echo Falls Series.
Only a year ago Deidre Morris lost her husband Frank in a car crash, but has been successful in making a good life for herself and her five-year-old son, Kevin. Nonetheless, her father-in-law, Franklin Morris, a respected judge in small-town Echo Falls, regularly encourages Deidra and Kevin to move into his home. Deidre is just as determined to maintain her independence and keep Kevin away from his controlling grandfather.
Jason Glassman, a law school classmate of Frank’s, was invited by Judge Morris to take over Frank’s old positon in the Morris law firm. Eager to escape a botched case in Philadelphia that all but ruined his career, Jase accepts. His first assignment from the Judge is to get close to Deidre and find out anything that will allow the Judge to force Kevin into his custody. Prepared to distrust any woman owing to the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his deceitful fiancée, Jase quickly plans his first encounter with the wicked widow. He disables Deidre’s car so that after an evening town committee meeting, he can offer her a ride home.
When they arrive at Deidre’s house, they find disaster. The front door stands open, Kevin lies at the bottom of the staircase unconscious, and Kevin’s babysitter, Deidre’s good friend Dixie, has sustained a fatal blow to the head. The police are eager to question Kevin about what he might have seen, but Kevin’s trauma has resulted in temporary amnesia. The police investigation focuses on Dixie’s many boyfriends, and the possibility that she suffered abuse in the past clouds the picture further. Dixie’s death and Kevin’s injury disrupt Deidre’s life, while subsequent threats and warnings destroy her sense of safety. Disturbing noises of an intruder outside the house, an attempted shooting, an old friend’s warnings to take care, and her father-in-law’s urging to move in with him set Deidre on edge.
Through all of this uncertainty, Jase is beside Deidre, serving as her attorney in her dealings with the police, becoming a friend to Kevin – while watching Deidre for signs of deceit. Eventually Jase realizes Judge Morris’ opinion of his daughter-in-law is incorrect and, as he falls in love with her, he comes to regret his own secrecy and mistrust. He’s grown accustomed to small-town living, starts to plan for a new law practice, and hopes he and Deidre will have a chance for happiness once he reveals the truth.
I’d probably categorize this novel as ‘suspense light’. The romance takes center stage, and this is where Ms. Perry always excels. How the hero and heroine feel about and react to the situations in which they find themselves and the way their interactions slowly grow into love keep the reader rooting for these two people who really need to be together. The details of the police investigation as well as the background details of the crime are woven around the romantic interest and the deepening relationship between Jase and Deidre.
Ms. Perry again uses her knowledge of the Amish community to bring more depth and color to her story. Deidre is related to the Pennsylvania Dutch community through her mother and has a large, extended Amish family. Deidre’s best friend and business partner is Amish. The lifestyle and values of the community are illustrated through the people Deidre sees every day.
This is a story that flows easily and is a good example of Ms. Perry’s style that illustrates why she is a popular inspirational author. The book lacks some of the emotional depth and suspense that I have experienced in other Perry books, but is nonetheless a good read. Fans of Marta Perry will definitely want to read this, and I can recommend Echo of Danger to others who are looking for a light, suspenseful sweet romance.