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Always Time to Die: A Novel Hardcover – July 5, 2005

3.4 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the St. Kilda Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ann Maxwell has written over 60 books in multiple genres; as Elizabeth Lowell (Die in Plain Sight), she creates dialogue with immediacy and emotional coloration that sets her apart from the romantic suspense pack. Her 10th outing as Lowell begins with the tidy murder of "The Senator," the ill and infirm patriarch of a prominent Taos, N.Mex., clan. Carly May, a genealogist/historical researcher, is commissioned to write a family history by a disgruntled family member who hopes she'll dig up dirt. As Carly's research starts in earnest, she meets, among the Senator's many legitimate and illegitimate children, Dan Duran, a former CIA-like operative who, she finds out (but the reader knows all along), is the Senator's illegitimate grandson. Carly gets dire threats, she and Dan get close, and more people die. By combining new techniques of DNA testing with old-fashioned research and detective work (lots of appealing New Mexican history comes into play), Carly and Dan finally discover the truth about the family. But readers will care less about that than about their many charming exchanges, which Lowell crafts with sophistication and a sense of play. Quality and quantity may not be mutually exclusive after all. (July 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Carly May was adopted and has never found out anything about her own biological roots, yet tracing genealogical roots for other families is how she makes a living. She has been hired by Winifred Simmons y Castillo, aunt of the governor of New Mexico, to write a history of her family, but only of the female descendants. This is highly unusual; then, when Carly arrives in Taos, she finds that the governor's father has died, and no one is truly mourning him. The power dynamics within the family have changed, and only Winifred wants Carly there, as proven by the threats she receives. Dan Duran has returned to Taos after sustaining injuries while tangling with a drug cartel. He knows that searching through family secrets can be deadly and takes on the role of white knight toward Carly as they investigate an illustrious but suspect family. As always, Lowell delivers top-notch romantic suspense in her signature staccato style. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060504153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060504151
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell has more than thirty million books in print, including historical romance and contemporary romance novels. The series of novels featuring the unforgettable Donovan family--AMBER BEACH, JADE ISLAND, PEARL COVE and MIDNIGHT IN RUBY BAYOU have won acclaim as some of her best romance novels. Her most recent romantic suspense books are DANGEROUS REFUGE and NIGHT DIVER. Her new romance novel PERFECT TOUCH will be out in the summer of 2015.

She has been writing since 1982 and in 1989 became an innovator in the field of romantic suspense. She has over fifty books to her name.

Lowell lives in Nevada with her husband of many years.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The story begins with the murder of an old man, former Senator Andrew Jackson Quintrell III. No one really cared that he died. Everyone in the area knew the dirty old man had been a philanderer his entire life. If it was a human female, between the ages of puberty and menopause, the would bed her, even against her will. Back in his glory years people kept silent about such things. After all, he was a powerful man in New Mexico. The voting public would never believe a bad word against such a powerful and upstanding citizen.

Governor Josh Quintrell was the old man's son. Josh could care less that the old man was dead. Josh had his eyes on the White House. All he had to do was keep his family's dirty laundry hidden from the voting public for eleven more months. Then he could sell the ranch that had been in his family for centuries and stick his ailing mother, Sylvia, in a nursing home somewhere. Sylvia had not spoken to anyone or acknowledged her surroundings since the 1960s. She would never even realize that she was no longer on the ranch.

Winifred Simmons y Castillo was Josh's aunt, Sylvia's sister. Winifred was glad the dirty old man was dead. He never really cared for his ailing wife anyway. Winifred stayed by her sister's side, willing her to live each day. Winifred hired Carolina "Carly" May to write the Castillo family history. She was the last of the Castillo line. It was time to put their history into print for all the world to know. It was time to get vengeance for Sylvia's sake.

Carly loved genealogy. Perhaps it was because she was adopted, her file sealed, and she had no way to know her own biological family history. This time the family she wrote about was famous. Carly felt honored to be doing the Castillo-Quintrell family history.
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By G. Greene on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of the best things about most of the books Elizabeth Lowell writes is her research, which can enhance her work enormously. In this case, however, the intricacies of genealogy weigh the story down at the expense of action and plot. While the characterizations start out strong, they also fall victim to way too many characters and genealogy threads.

I read about two-thirds of this book in a day, then didn't pick it up again for weeks because it simply didn't hold my interest. Having said that, if you are interested in genealogy, you will probably enjoy this book a good deal more than I did. But if you're looking for a good romance/suspense novel, you may well be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Since you already have reviewers who have given you the premise of the book I'll not duplicate. I never write reviews -- this book was so annoyingly poor that I was determined to say something. What happened to Elizabeth Lowell? Where's the author who wrote the other "Always" books or the "Only" series or the rest of her books?!! The premise was a good idea -- but I think she started to drown in all the characters that had to be brought in to make the premise work. And, one paragraph love scene, does not a Romance Novel make!! By the end of the book I couldn't have cared less about anyone of the characters -- I just wanted the book to be over! Do yourself a favor and wait for the paperback. The hardback was too expensive for the lack of pleasure you receive. Sorry Elizabeth, you're too talented a story teller to sell your public this lackluster excuse for a novel. I gave you two stars because you sat down and tried to write something!
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By A Customer on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Near Taos, someone murders former New Mexico Senator Andrew Jackson Quintrell III, but everyone who knew him feels the womanizing low life got his just desserts. Meanwhile his sister-in-law Winifred Simmons y Castillo, who rejoices in Andrew's death, hires historian Carolina "Carly" May to develop the family tree. Her nephew New Mexico Governor Josh Quintrell, Andrew's legitimate son, worries that his father's philandering could cost him his bid for the White House. He is pleased the old man cannot cause any new scandals, but worries about might shake out of the tree when the genealogy chart is completed.

Dan Duran, the unrecognized great-grandson of the late Senator from an illegitimate tryst, also has big concerns over Carly's study because it upsets his mother; he wants the endeavor stopped. When Carly refuses, Dan decides to keep an eye on her to see what dirt she digs up. However, someone else warns Carly to cease and deist or else she will be stopped in a violent manner. Dan joins her to uncover the family secret that someone wants buried and is willing to kill to keep it interred. He wonders if a highly visible politician would stoop so low.

This is a detailed suspense thriller filled with realistic and complex characters that will intrigue those readers who want more background information on topics critical to the story line. The use of DNA and the dating of old photographs that provide historical state tidbits augment the investigation and adds depth to the cast especially the heroine but also slows down the action. Still ALWAYS TIME TO DIE is a strong, realistic and exciting thriller in which the romance plays a key but secondary subplot.

Harriet Klausner
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