Trust No One
Trust No One is romantic suspense with the emphasis on suspense. While there is a believable romance and an enjoyable hero and heroine, the romance is ultimately overshadowed by the various threads of the suspense plot.
Julia Bradshaw is a single mother struggling to make a success of her Monterey Bed-&-Breakfast. It’s not enough that she has to deal with an ex-husband who once abused her and now schemes to get her back in his life, a father in law who struggles to control her son, and the possibility that her inn may fall to the competition. When her ex-husband Paul turns up dead, she’s the prime suspect in his murder.
As it turns out, an Irish nationalist terrorist cell may be involved, which brings reporter Steve Reyes to town. Steve has a very personal reason to be tracking these terrorists – they killed his girlfriend and their unborn child. Steve stays at the Hacienda and he and Julia quickly become friends and then more than friends.
I liked these characters a lot. It was easy to imagine them in a movie, with Julia played by someone like Meg Ryan, and smolderingly handsome Steve played by Andy Garcia. While Julia is certainly not used to being terrorized and fearful for her life, she is no wilting violet either. And Steve is an excellent hero – competent, easy-going, able to handle situations but never a pushy alpha male.
The mystery is just complicated enough to keep the reader guessing, without completely taking over the story. There’s room for the romance as well as several good subplots involving secondary characters recognizing their mistakes and making amends. Christiane Heggan has a very good sense of pacing – doling out clues and scene changes at a pace that keeps the action moving without being overwhelming.
However, the romance is just – nice. It’s the suspense plot that drives the book, and the romance is more like icing. Moreover, the device causing a Big Misunderstanding in the romance is Steve’s unwillingness to come clean to Julia about his real reasons for chasing the terrorists – his dead girlfriend. While I could understand Julia’s anger when she does find out the truth from other people, it was never clear why Steve couldn’t tell her first. The author has done such a good job of portraying them both as very reasonable people that there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for Steve to have kept the secret in the first place, other than that the plot required it.
Without the suspense plot, the romance element would be fairly pedestrian. With the suspense plot, Trust No One is an enjoyable page-turner that is certainly worth a look.