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Monday, October 26, 2009

Murder Came Calling by Nora LeDuc

Murder Came Calling by Nora LeDuc
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (258 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

When her mother’s body is discovered at a lakeside cove, Annie Townsend can’t avoid the possibility her father may be a murderer. She launches her own investigation and teams up with prison-toughened Sam O’Brien, a man her family loathes.

Caught in a web of her own suspicions and guilt, Annie finds that, even worse, she’s attracted to Sam and must protect herself from a man branded by his past and imprisoned by his hardened heart.

Although he’s long been proved innocent of murder, Sam knows the world shuns and despises him. His attempts to live in peace away from the prying press are doomed. When Annie catapults into his life, he finds the opportunity to prove himself worthy to love again.

Anxiety reaches muscles-aching levels as Annie Townsend and Sam O’Brien must deal with gang members, vindictive lawmen, a scheming lawyer, a crooked horse dealer, and Annie’s irate father and brother, when all they really want to do is find out what happened to Annie’s mother.

Annie feels rudderless without her mother who has always been the mainstay of her support system. With a controlling father who left her mother six months ago and her elusive brother Jimmy on parole after being in prison on a drug charge, Annie feels she is the only one truly concerned about the disappearance of her mother. Overwhelmed with grief, she seeks out Sam O’Brien, a prison acquaintance of Jimmy’s, to help her find out the truth about her mother.

Sam O’Brien, after five years in prison, just wants to be left alone. However, he cannot ignore Annie’s immediate danger or her plea for his help. Besides, his libido kicks in without regard for the circumstances. He tells himself he survived five years of prison for a crime he did not commit; surely, he can survive helping one high-society young woman.

Each of the secondary characters seems to have a private agenda that wrecks havoc on Annie and Sam’s efforts to sort out what happened to Althea Townsend. Dead end after dead end stymies their progress. Annie cannot bear the thought that someone in her own family might have been involved in her mother’s disappearance, even though she has some damaging evidence in her possession.

Nora LeDuo’s ability to build such adrenaline-pumping suspense while nurturing an improbable love that steals into Annie and Sam’s hearts and refuses to be ignored or denied creates a fast-paced, emotionally charged story. Collectively, the characters in MURDER CAME CALLING commit every cardinal sin identified in medieval times (pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust).

How a true and giving love grows amid all these less-than-admirable traits makes a tantalizing tale about two people finding whom they really are deep inside and finding a soul mate to help nurture and cherish that newly discovered self.

MURDER CAME CALLING has some serious soul searching, but humor finds its way into events from time to time and the surprises near the end all make this an exciting story.