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The Past Came Hunting Paperback – September 19, 2011
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THE PAST CAME HUNTING is about two people with a history. Fifteen years ago Melanie Daniels was a much younger and naive girl with a chip on her shoulder. She got caught in the crossfire between a man she had just met and the law. Though innocent of the crime she paid and served time in prison. Now known as Melanie Norris, she is just trying to live her life one day at a time. And she has a son, Luke, who means everything to her.
Lieutenant Joe Crandall was a novice cop when he arrested Melanie years before. A single parent, he now not only finds himself living near the woman, his son is best friends with her teenager. Tension is the start to their relationship. Neither wants to be near the other but their sons' friendship keeps causing them to meet. Maybe, each person has changed.
Several secondary stories up the ante with some well-developed suspense. Is this introduction to Ms. Bell's writing like a Karen Rose or Julia Spencer-Fleming novel? No, but it is a wonderful start. If you enjoy a mild thriller with a dollop of good chemistry between the hero and heroine try this pleasing story. Okay, Ms. Bell, when is your next book coming out?
Melanie grew up rough in an abusive home, got into a lot of trouble as a young girl and due to hitching a ride while running away, she unwittingly got caught up in a serious crime. No one believed that she was innocent and although only 17, she ended up in prison. She testifies against the sociopathic predator who was the actual sole perpetrator and after serving a short sentence, turns her life around. Fifteen years later, the past has come calling.
This was simply a great book. It starts out fast and pulls you in from the beginning. I absolutely loved Melanie and Joe and their interactions never felt forced. Melanie was my favorite kind of heroine; she was sweet, but not dumb and pretty realistic about her life. She was also smart enough to know when she's in over her head and needs help. Joe was a great father, honest cop, and a really good person. Drake was a no-good, dirty rotten villain and in fact, the most interesting character. Most authors do not write villains very well, but in this case, the author did a great job.
I did have minor issues with the story, which were not enough to detract from my overall rating -
* I think the book needed more backstory about the 15 years between the beginning of the story and the present day. I wanted to know how Melanie coped during those years, about her marriage and raising her adopted stepson from a baby.
* The turn about of Joe's DA friend probably wouldn't happen in real life (at least not sincerely) and not without definitive evidence showing that she was actually innocent.
* The resolution at the end was a little unreal and as a convicted criminal, it's unlikely that Melanie would ever be completely accepted in Joe's world.
This could make a great movie and I intend to look for other books from this author.