One Deadly Sin
Grade : B

One Deadly Sin is a romantic suspense novel set in a small town in Tennessee, and it features one of the oddest couples I have ever encountered in Romanceland. Picture the straightest of straight arrow cops you can imagine, and then pair him with a non-druggie Amy Winehouse lookalike.

Redbud, Tennessee is a charming small town that draws its lifeblood from its main (only) industry, the Hammerbilt plant. Back in the 1980’s there were fears that the plant would close because of financial problems, but it weathered the storm. Hammerbilt’s owner, Fred Lyle is beloved by all and the town is preparing for a big retirement party for him. But someone is about to crash the party.

Edie Swann is a lanky, tattooed Harley riding lady with messy black hair. She works at Red’s bar where she stands out, even in that crowd. Edie is actually a native of Redbud. When she was just a little girl, she was Eden Swanford and lived with her father and mother in town where her father worked at Hammerbilt in the accounting department. One day, his body was discovered at the local quarry, and the coroner declared him a suicide. Everyone believed the verdict since she had lately been hounded by rumors of embezzlement. Swanford's death devastated his wife and she buried him under a headstone marked by an angel – a black angel who looked more like a gargoyle. Then taking Eden, she left Redbud.

Years later, after the death of her mother Eden changed her name to Edie Swann. She is obsessed with finding out the truth about her father’s death, and armed with a list of the men he worked with and a supply of small, black angel figures, she begins to plant them on the men she suspects know something they haven’t told yet. Edie only means to scare the men, but to her horror, the men begin to die in suspicious circumstances.

Holt Drennan is the sheriff in Redbud. He grew up there, served in the police department in Memphis and moved back to Redbud after the death of his wife. Holt first meets Eden when she takes on a mean drunk, and later when his daughter talks to her in a park and is fascinated by her “fattoo." Holt soon finds out that Eden is not just a rough bar-fly and they become friends and then lovers. But when the bodies begin to fall, the evidence points to Eden, and when Holt finds out her identity, he is shocked at her duplicity. But more evidence shows up clearing Eden, and the killer is still on the loose.

One Deadly Sin was an exciting book that kept me guessing all through it. I liked the way Annie Solomon depicted Redbud – it was not Mayberry, nor was it Peyton Place. Instead, it felt like a real place with both good and bad points, like all towns are. The plot was intricate and fast paced, and I was glued to it till the end, when all the secrets of the past are laid to rest and Eden can finally feel rooted.

Eden was a very interesting character. Uprooted as a child and formed by her mother’s rage and grief, she has longed for home and stability, but she could never find either as long as the mystery behind her father’s death remained a mystery. Outwardly, she is a tough tattooed biker chick, but she has a softer side to her that comes out in her relationship with Holt and his daughter. I can’t see Eden ever becoming a stereotypical small town hausfrau, but anyone who has lived in one knows that most small towns cherish their town characters, and Eden will happily take that role.

I’ve read several of Annie Solomon’s romantic suspense novels now, and I firmly believe she is a buried treasure. She has wonderful plots, suspenseful mysteries and characters I like. If you have not read any of her books, give one a try. I’ll bet you will be very pleased.

Reviewed by Ellen Micheletti
Grade : B

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : April 27, 2009

Publication Date: 2009

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