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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Heron's Cove by Carla Neggers

Heron's Cove by Carla Neggers
Publisher: Mira- Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (327 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

When your safety depends on living a lie…

After escaping certain death, deep-cover agent Colin Donovan is back home on the Maine coast with his new love, FBI art crimes expert Emma Sharpe. Then Tatiana Pavlova, a London-based jewelry designer, arrives in Heron's Cove, asking for Emma's help—a prized collection from a lost era of Russian opulence, decadence and rare beauty has resurfaced, and Tatiana warns Emma it's about to be stolen again. And Colin realizes his nightmare isn't over. It's just begun.

And everyone you love is a target…

Emma guards her past closely, and Colin is determined to unlock her secrets. As they investigate the mysterious collection and the equally mysterious Tatiana, they confront their greatest challenge. Now they must count on their expertise—and each other—to outwit an enemy who wants to destroy them and everyone they love most.

Who can you afford to trust?

Trouble’s afoot when the story starts. Colin Donovan, a ghost FBI agent, has been gone and silent too long. Emma Sharpe, Father Finian Bracken, and Colin’s brothers Mike, Andy, and Kevin gather at Hurley’s in Rock Point, Maine for whiskey tasting but more important for support as they wait and worry. The undercurrent of suspense ebbs and flows from beginning to end of HERON’S COVE.

Colin operates on instincts and has kept himself alive through tough jobs. But he needs help this time. An illegal arms deal has gone bad.

Emma Sharpe of the Sharpe Fine Art Recovery family, ex-nun, and now FBI agent gets a call from a trusted source from long ago. “Your man is in danger” and an address. Her call to her FBI boss Matt Yankowski secures Colin’s escape.

Now, the intrigue, the tangle of Emma and Colin’s pasts, the balancing of strong personalities, and the threat of danger for both their families and their friends create tensions in all directions. Old secrets, old and new greed, and love that hangs in there through it all keeps the reader “smack-dab” in the middle of the action.

Carla Neggers’ strong characters, even the secondary ones, and her skill in weaving together multiple secrets and sub-plots into the main plot make HERON’S COVE spellbinding.

Emma’s analytical, measured, never impulsive approach to a situation along with her unique connection to the art world make her a valuable asset to Matt Yankowski’s team in the FBI. While Colin’s bold, aggressive, “go-it-alone, instinctive methods make him a ghost that serves the FBI well. BUT, when their worlds get tangled both personally and professionally, Matt Yankowski says it’s like opening two cans of worms on steroids—volatile—explosive.

Emma’s intriguing connection with billionaire Russian Dmitri Rusakov and Ivan Alexander keeps Colin off-balance and edgy, but his not-to-be-denied attraction to and need for Emma makes him determine to keep her close—preferably in his house, in his bed.

Colin’s family accepts Emma, but they size her up wondering if she can fit in Colin’s life while she wonders if Colin and the Donovans can fit in her life. Mike, the oldest brother, is a loner and plain spoken. He has reservations about Emma that she can feel. Kevin, the policeman, and Andy, the lobsterman, just enjoy Emma’s company with a wait and see attitude.

Father Finian Bracken, Colin’s friend and confidante, understands Emma and plays a unique role in events as the story unfolds. He has a compelling story all his own.

If you read SAINT’S GATE, you probably feel like it is reunion time—so good to catch up with these characters, But, there’s little time for visiting. Former client of the Sharpes, Russian billionaire Dmitri Rusakov brings his fancy yacht to Heron’s Cove. His friend and body guard Ivan Alexander, who has a special place in his heart for Emma, is aboard. They bring trouble, trouble that connects to Colin’s illegal arms trouble. My goodness, what a tangle things get in when tiny, feisty Tatiana and sophisticated Natalie stir the pot.

The way Ms. Neggers makes every little piece fit together and her vivid descriptions amazes. She pulls the reader into the environment so completely one can almost feel the October rain in Maine, feel the squish of mud under foot, and shiver with Tatiana hidden by the canoe. One feels the unspoken fear in the characters. The desire and uneasiness in Emma and Colin’s relationship as it ebbs and flows like the tide keeps the reader turning pages as they move in fits and spurts toward a happy-ever-after that will never, ever, be dull.

HERON’S COVE teems with intriguing characters like Finian who is so much more than a priest: Andy, the rake, at least according to Julianne Maloney; and Mike Donovan that lives in isolation much of the time and seems gruff, but whom Emma knows has a romantic heart. Maybe Ms. Neggers will tell us their stories some day. HERON’S COVE is a keeper to be enjoyed more than once.