Charade of Hearts by Sharon A Donovan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (122 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon
While scuba diving off the coast of Diamond Head with her diving partner on a quest to find a family heirloom, underwater photographer Dominique St. John witnesses his brutal murder and photographs it, ensnaring her in a deadly jewel ring. Then when the investigating officer turns out to be her partner’s identical twin, a man she knew nothing about, her life becomes a Charade of Hearts.
Welcome to the world of greed, intrigue, deception and murder. At its core is a blue diamond worth millions.
As honest as his twin was corrupt, Honolulu Homicide Detective Oliver Carvalho must convince Dominique that her diving partner and best friend was a crook. In a race against time, Oliver must rescue her from a ruthless killer, but his biggest challenge proves to be Dominique herself. Her heart has been torn by betrayal and can only be redeemed with love.
Charade of Hearts is very bit the adventure the wonderfully suitable cover suggests!
Dominique St. John and her partner, the utterly wonderful Roberto, set off to photograph a shipwreck, but also to locate a very specific treasure. They are not far from the stunningly beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. For long moments at the start, we are distracted with the “wild and exotic beauty…of …majestic mountains … pristine beaches …butterfly and reef fish…” and even the contrast of light at the horizon. Then Roberto is murdered.
It’s a shocking event; and perhaps a spoiler to mention here, but that event happens early and seems the true start of this dramatic, suspenseful tale. Dominique thought the world of him, so her motive in this pursuit can’t be doubted…although the giant blue diamond that is the treasure provides more than enough motivation for everyone else. We see how Roberto was targeted, through the very eyes of the man who ordered it: the Dragon. We see and understand just that hint more than Dominique does, and so sense the growing danger she faces.
Then in walks Detective Oliver Carvalho--who is, as it happens, too much of a coincidence for this reader. For various reasons, this character starts off in so contrived a manner as to be better planted in a soap opera. However, my disappointment and disbelief is momentary; the Detective is vastly more than a coincidental relation: he is in fact, a very dynamic and compelling character in his own right. To her credit, Dominique (and so Donovan) doesn’t forget Roberto and the feelings that existed before, making the following discoveries all the more poignant. Was Roberto the man she believed? And… is she now in danger, herself?
Details of sights and sounds bring this one to life – in the moments of suspense, maybe a little too close to life! The beauty of the backdrop for this tale is so well described, fans of Hawaii will be thrilled to read, and those who aren’t, will be fans by the time they finish. Descriptions are truly almost poetically enchanting, often in sharp contrast to the actual activity in any scene. The “rays of ambient light penetrating the sea water, colors were diffused,” brings such an image to my mind…no less the “heady scent of eighteen hibiscus drifted in…”
Mystery and suspense fans must read this, as everyone will find the Hawaii experience altogether rewarding! Charade of Hearts is full of suspense, beauty, and one important heartfelt struggle.