Monday, June 6, 2016

Iola Goulton reviews: SINS OF THE PAST by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason

Iola Goulton reviews Sins of the Past, a collection of three novellas by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason.

In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed," introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found—but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

My Review:

Sins of the Past is a good name for this collection, as each story is a current event influenced by something in the past (well, Shadowed is a 1979 event influenced by something pre-1979).

Missing was a solid suspense story with a touch of budding romance (as is appropriate for a story which is condensed into a short period of time). It was a solid novella which focused more on the plot than the characters—I would have liked to have gotten to know John and Sharon better, but I suspect we might be seeing more of them in future Dee Henderson novels. I hope so.

Shadowed is set in 1979 when Ben McKenna meets Libby Jennings in Yancey, Alaska, where she is preparing for an open water swimming race. It’s a generational prequel to Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series, and despite the overdose of 1970’s name-dropping (and possible anachronisms), it’s an excellent story, with a fast-paced plot, fascinating characters and plenty of romantic tension between Libby and Ben as they try to stay one step ahead of the evildoers.

Blackout has paramedic Macey, working with policeman neighbour Chad, attempting to remember what happened to her six years ago . . . before someone else dies. As with Shadowed, the writing is excellent, the plot fast-paced and relatively complex for a novella, and the characters are likeable people brought together by a stressful situation, and finding they have something more than neighbourly friendship. Awww! (This one has the best Awww! Factor, and was definitely my favourite of the three stories).

Dani Pettrey has previously thanked Dee Henderson for helping her learn the craft of writing, and comparing Missing with Shadowed suggests the apprentice is now the master—the writing in Shadowed was much more contemporary in style (despite the historical setting), and gave better insight into the characters. The characterisation in Missing felt almost shallow in comparison to both Shadowed and Blackout, but the collection is still great—each subsequent story is even better than the one preceding it.

Recommended for romantic suspense fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Reviewer Iola Goulton:

I am a freelance editor specializing in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website, or follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Tsu .

I love reading, and read and review around 150 Christian books each year on my blog. I'm a Top 25 Reviewer at Christian Book, in the Top 1% of reviewers at Goodreads, and have an Amazon US Reviewer Rank that floats around 2500 (and I'm in the Top 50 at Amazon Australia).

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