Shades of Desire by Virna DePaul
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower
Natalie Jones is the lucky survivor of an elusive killer who preys on young women and then disappears from view. And since her harrowing ordeal, the once gutsy photojournalist has remained isolated in her home, paralyzed by fear and her failing vision. Special Agent Liam "Mac" McKenzie has scars of his own. But despite his efforts to ignore the attraction that simmers between him and Natalie, he needs her help to catch a predator. Soon, they will forge a tentative alliance—charged with desire. Through a soft-focus lens, Natalie dares to envision a future with Mac beyond the investigation…never guessing that the clues hidden within her photographs are drawing them into an explosive confrontation with a madman.
Murder. Deception. Intrigue. These words fit in so perfectly within the pages of Shades of Desire. There's so many aspects of this book that called to me.
Natalie Jones is the heroine of this story, and a character I completely related to. For one, she's losing her vision, and that changes her completely. There are days she's so withdrawn. She fights feelings of anger, fear, sometimes a bit of pity, but she's a strong woman learning to beat the odds of the cards life dealt her. Her passion involves photography. I can't imagine not being able to look through the lens and capture moments of life that will be still forever. I admire Natalie, and feel for her. Ms. DePaul certainly did a good job creating the angst and realism in Natalie. Writing a lead character without one of the major senses can be difficult. Kudos for really delving into the emotions and every day struggles for a woman facing the truth of her loss.
Liam McKenzie, otherwise known as Mac, is the hero. He meets Natalie after responding to a distress call from her house. His reaction to her surprises him, and he has even more admiration after the discovery of her declining vision. He's drawn to her, though he fights what he feels for various reasons. Mac seems to have some deep unresolved issues of his own, but they don't get much exploration in the book. He's tough, but he does his job well, and that includes keeping Natalie safe when a killer sets his sights on her.
The first couple of chapters were a bit slow, but once the pace picked up, it stayed steady and I couldn't put the story down. The flow of the story, the great writing, and the characters all blended together to create a whirlwind of a tale. The author sure knows the craft of suspense, keeping readers wanting more and more. Shades of Desire isn't just about the suspense, it's about the emotional journey of two people that must face their past in order to move forward in the future. You've got my attention, Ms. DePaul, and I am anxious to see what else you've got.
If you're a fan of suspense, Shades Of Desire comes highly recommended from this reader. Get your copy quick!