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Blue Smoke and Murder Hardcover – May 27, 2008
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A picture is worth a thousand words—and millions of dollars—in Lowell’s new romantic thriller. In the novel’s early pages, Arizona river-rafting guide Jill Breck saves the life of Lane Faroe, whose father runs St. Kilda Consulting, a powerful private security firm. Jill’s heart-stopping heroics earn the eternal gratitude of the elder Faroe, who promises her the services of his company should she ever get in a jam. So when her aunt perishes in a suspicious fire, Jill calls St. Kilda right away. (She suspects the blaze is connected to paintings kept hidden by her late eccentric mother, the sometime lover of legendary western landscape painter Thomas Dunstan.) Protection arrives in the form of sexy St. Kilda operative Zach Balfour, who teams with Jill to determine the provenance of the paintings. Though her plot is too contrived, Lowell (The Wrong Hostage, 2006) provides intriguing insight into the lucrative and fiercely competitive world of art collecting, where strokes of the brush can lead to brushes with death. --Allison Block
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell has more than eighty titles published to date with over twenty-four million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the Western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.
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It appears there should be a new genre type; Suspenseful Romance. Unlike some other Romantic Suspense books I've read, the main drive of the book is heavy on the suspense with only a small portion of the book dedicated to the romance aspect. That's not in any way a dig. We know as soon as they meet that Jill and Zach are attracted, but more often than not, it's more like the soundtrack in a movie. We know it's there and it comes to the forefront at times, getting a little louder as we near the end of the book.
The suspense begins fairly quickly and keeps up right through to the end of the story. The bad guys are identified and stopped, but we're left with wanting to know what happens next to Jill and Zach. Hopefully they'll be mentioned again in a future book.
It is important for the story that we have an understanding of what takes place in the world of art and the author does a good job of bringing us up to speed. Perhaps a little more information than I wanted, and a couple of times I got lost in the explanation for a short time.
I highly rate the suspense, the way the romance was handled, the fast pace, points of view from so many different characters involved, and the apparent research done by the author.
This author was new to me. I've just ordered to more of her books.