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One Little Lie (The Pelican Harbor Series) Hardcover – March 3, 2020
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From the Publisher
Q & A with Author Colleen Coble
Readers love the twists and turns in your novels that keep them guessing until the very end. How do you create such intricate plots?
I’m mostly a seat-of-the-pants writer. The reader is kept guessing because I don’t know what’s going to happen either! I know that’s hard for you to believe, but I’ve tried to write a book that’s all plotted out—truly I have! But it’s not fun for me. If I know what’s going to happen in the book, why write it? All the joy seeps right out of it.
It takes me much longer to write the first 15,000 words than it should, but that’s because I’m busy getting to know my character better and laying down the subplots. Then the rabbit trails start. I usually have 2-3 rabbit trails that I could maybe travel down, and I wait to see where they lead me. It’s usually somewhere totally unexpected and fun!
What are, to you, the most important elements of a good suspense story?
I read what I write, and for me to be fully engaged in a good suspense, there has to be much more than just someone in danger or a murder to solve. The real meat of the story to me is what else is going on with the characters. I love layers in a story. It’s not just about one thing—it’s about something else too, and those things often dovetail and make for a richer reading experience.
I also have to have a strong character to root for—one who has overcome hardships in her past. Though small in stature, Chief Jane Hardy is mighty in spirit and manages to overcome anything that comes her way.
The pacing also has to be right. There’s nothing worse than being in a tense situation and have the story pause for a romantic scene or some other kind of unnecessary slowing of the tension.
And for me, the setting is hugely important. Huge. I can’t even stress enough how big of a deal it is to me. I don’t want to read (or write) something that doesn’t set me firmly in a specific spot. I want the climate, culture, and history of a place to have some impact on the plot. In Two Reasons to Run the murder plot revolves around an oil platform. If you’ve ever been to Gulf Shores, you’ve seen all those platforms offshore. I always visit the setting and pull in important details. Like pelicans! JLots of pelicans, gulls, and dolphins.
What made you write this story? How is this series different from your other suspense novels?
Not since my Rock Harbor series have I had three books follow the same characters. But Chief Jane Hardy is so complex and had so many layers that it took three books to fully tell her story. My other series have centered around a common family, profession, or setting and have featured a new protagonists in every subsequent book. My Pelican Harbor series needed all three books to fully resolve the conflicts swirling in Jane’s life.
Also, most of my characters in the past have featured amateur sleuths. Jane is a police chief, steeped in law enforcement her entire life. Justice is important to her, and it’s the main driving force in her life.
Straying from my norm in this way has been a really fun challenge, and I hope it’s equally as enjoyable for you to get to know Jane, Reid, and Will in a much deeper way. By book three, they should be your best friends!
Book 1 in a gripping new series from USA TODAY bestselling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble.
“Coble’s latest, One Little Lie is a powerful read . . . one of her absolute best. I stayed up way too late finishing this book because I literally couldn’t go to sleep without knowing what happened. This is a must read! Highly recommend!” - Robin Caroll, bestselling author of the Darkwater Inn saga
'Coble explores themes of the legacy of sin, salvation through faith, and redemption. There are just enough threads left dangling at the end of this well-crafted romantic suspense to leave fans hungrily awaiting the next installment.' --Publishers Weekly -- Publishers Weekly, Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.
- Item Weight : 13.7 ounces
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0785228462
- ISBN-10 : 0785228462
- Product Dimensions : 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
- Publisher : Thomas Nelson (March 3, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #69,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Jane also has an interesting background. Her prologue sucked me in, as did her interest in The Princess Diaries (I too was easily hooked by books at her age and still am). The fact that she's a female police chief in a small town is another selling point because of the built-in conflict (tight-knit community, the sexism lurking beneath the gentility of Southern tradition, and so on).
But Colleen Coble has lied to me again. Let me be blunt: she is the queen of the intriguing premise, but she's also the queen of ruining one. She seems to think her readers are goldfish. She'll show a mannerism or a bit of dialogue that indicates a character is feeling something, and then, within one line, tell the reader the same thing. For instance, Jane has a prickly interaction with Reid, and within a line--*one* line--we get, "Jane obviously didn't want him around." Yes, I saw that!
Characters' traits are summed up in info-dumping paragraphs. Some of said traits are downright dumb, such as "Lisa was always smiling." Some are important, such as that Jane's dad is a prepper, but again, everything is told, not shown. Colleen Coble has an extremely bad habit of this.
As noted in some of my other reviews of her books, Colleen also has a bad habit of overloading characters and/or plots with issues. For example, in this one, we have the murders and Jane's complicated (or what should have been complicated) relationship with Reid. We also have Jane's dad getting arrested by the FBI, which fits in as a nice subplot. Or, if Colleen wanted to focus more on Reid, she could've gone with the subplot of him, Lauren, and Will's adoption. What we actually get is all three of these, plus the dispatcher having ALS and Jane promising to help--which entails practically promising said dispatcher's fourteen-year-old daughter she will find a cure (???) On top of that, we also have Jane's nightmares and post-cult fallout--which we know about only because we're told over and over.
There's also a gaping hole in terms of suspense, in that I could see, less than 30% through the book, who Jane's son was and how that would impact everybody. I guess I shouldn't say that since I haven't finished yet, but logically, there is no other explanation given the setup. It's a classic case of setup revealing payoff, and it's way too easy.
You might ask why I keep reading Colleen Coble's books and it's a fair question. I'm not out to trash her. In fact, I keep reading them because her premises and beginnings of character are always so good. She knows how to hook a reader--but within a little while, I'm wriggling and spitting the hook out. I don't need that, and I'm unsure why her work gets the accolades it does. Maybe there's something there I just don't see, or our tastes don't match (though I doubt it's the latter because clearly they do on some level). Oh, well. *Sigh, sigh.* I keep hoping for a big change, and I know Colleen is capable of more. I wish she would utilize the talent she has.
Jane Hardy's career in law enforcement took a giant leap forward following her appointment as Pelican Harbor's acting Chief of Police. Unfortunately, the crime rate in her normally docile shorefront town escalated in tandem with her new title. Curious, too. One . . . a very brutal murder; the other not particularly brutal but reminiscent of a so-called "vigilante". And what about the new journalist in town, the one who managed to convince the mayor to let him follow her around for a supposed documentary on small town police chiefs; Jane cannot quite figure out how Reid Dixon fits into her rapidly changing landscape.
As Jane follows the barely visible evidence trail behind one of her victims, coincidences begin to congregate. . . . first Reid, then her father. So much truth has been buried, and so many untruths are swirling to the surface, gnawing their way past her sub-conscious . . . . just like her past, continually hovering like a spector in the very back of Jane's mind..
"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truth fully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Does Reid have the courage to speak the truth, once and for all?
Quite honestly, I really liked this book. The first few chapters exposed so many unanswered questions that it was difficult to determine whether or not the author was going to lose her readers' attention in all the mayhem, but slowly and intentionally, things began to make sense . . . and best of all, a glorious truth began to shed its layers; a truth with the power to either restore or destroy. A great series opener!