Review and Contest: Splintered Lies by Karen Lopp

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Splintered Lies

Karen Lopp

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Publisher:  SilverTree Publishing

Date of Publication:   May 18, 2014

ISBN:  978-0-9903666-0-7

ASIN:  BOOK1FSEW

Number of pages:  223

Word Count:   70k

Cover Artist:  Karen Lopp

Available at Amazon

splinteredlies850x1362Book Description: 

Detective Rissa Marten sacrificed her only chance for a normal life to put a drug lord behind bars. Now, her life in the shadows has to be brought to life to save the man she has secretly loved for years. With a price on her head can she risk letting him know?

Detective Jerah Qassem has built his career as an undercover agent in the dangerous world of drug cartels. But when a ghost from his past is resurrected can he overcome his bitterness in time to save her life?

REVIEW: 

I love Romantic Thrillers, especially if the suspense is intense and the romance sizzles. SPLINTERED LIES delivers all that and more.

There’s a whirlwind of action in this story, and  more twists and turns than an amusement park roller coaster. Some readers may find Rissa Marten’s multiple alias’ a bit confusing in the beginning but the author is merely staging with a little backstory . . . necessary to understand the extreme measures Rissa has taken to keep her identity secret. Things soon smooth out and we know exactly who Rissa is, why she is in hiding and how much she loves Detective Jerah Qassem. In fact, the only person who is still in the dark about how much she cares is Jerah.

After believing for eight years that Rissa was dead, Jerah is more than a little confused, angry and excited when she wanders into the bar where he is having a drink. Within a few pages of their meeting, Rissa and Jerah are whisked off to Mexico on the yacht of a drug lord, shot at by Federalizes, and almost drowned in the ocean. As I said, there’s a lot of action in this book!

There are some violent scenes so if you are sensitive to physical brutality, you might squirm from time to time. I personally don’t like graphic violence but I wasn’t too put off by the detailed beatings. It seemed an appropriate way to show the villain’s  capacity for cruelty.

I would have liked a more realistic approach to Rissa and Jerah’s reunion. I felt Rissa was a bit too “offish” for the well written sexual chemistry playing out between her and Jerah, and he didn’t seem as curious about why she faked her death as most men would have been. These are minor issues and in no way take away from the fast pace and suspenseful plot.

If you enjoy thrillers or suspense with a healthy dose of romantic angst, SPLINTERED LIES is a good choice for your to-be-read list.

 Excerpt:

Jerah Qassem had never been more grateful for his years of undercover training than at this moment. Fingers tight around the tumbler to stop the tremors, he watched the apparition glide up to the bar, and wondered if someone had laced his drink with a hallucinogen. Mary was dead. He had nightmares or wet dreams about her most nights for the last eight years.

It wasn’t only the woman’s face that had his insides swirling like a hurricane. It was the way she moved. Long, smooth strides, shoulders straight and eyes darting around like a caged cat. Mary had always been casting looks over her shoulder as if she expected someone to jump out and chase her. But those legs were just as toned and shapely as Mary’s had been. She had been athletic and grabbed every chance she could to romp around the beach. Even the hair was the exact same color of ripened wheat and bounced just below her shoulders. Just like Mary had worn it.

Chills erupted all over his body and cold fingers caressed the nape of his neck. Unable to blink, Jerah stared at the ghost of Mary. The girl he had sent to her death in a fit of anger. The girl he had fallen in love with, yet had been too proud and ambitious to acknowledge until she was gone. Forever.

Jerah closed his eyes against the jarring memory of two firemen holding him back from the charred remains of the building he had sent Mary into as three body bags were carried out. A shudder rattled down his spine. He had relived that day too often. When he glanced back at the bar, the woman had taken a seat and smiled at the bartender. Jerah knew that smile. The same smile that once had almost melted his resolve to not get involved. He had had a career to build. Mary had stirred up thoughts of forever and love, things he hadn’t been ready for. The temptation had been great. But somehow, he persevered and tossed away the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Air exploded from his chest and Jerah shook his head. He did not believe in ghosts. Prickles sprang up his legs as if his blood had decided to flow again. He tugged his leaden body from the chair and stalked to the bar. “Give me a shot of Wild Turkey.” Needing the fortification, he gulped down the amber liquid. Fire burned down his throat. Nope, he wasn’t dreaming. Hands braced on the edge of the bar, he turned to the woman at his side.

“Jerah?”

A voice from the grave, soft and melodic, brushed across his ears. That face, resurrected from the dead, shimmered under the neon lights, a few years older, but still able to mesmerize him. Fear, anger, and profound sadness glittered in those honey-hued eyes as the color leeched from her face.

Anger and shock swelled like a wave and crashed over Jerah. That’s all she had to say? After leaving him to believe she had been killed?

Blood roared in his ears and he clamped a shaking hand around her arm. “Come with me.” A tiny voice told him this was a bad idea. That too many curious eyes watched this little exchange. But he couldn’t help it. Mary was alive and he damn sure wanted to know how. Carl and the risk of a blown cover be damned. Besides, this wasn’t the usual meeting place, and Carl wasn’t here yet.

“Let go of me, Jerah.” The sharp whisper of dismissal slapped him in the face.

He leaned in close and tightened his grip. “You are coming with me and I don’t give a shit if you cause a scene or not.” The bartender sat another drink on the counter and Jerah gulped it down in one swallow, ignoring the open interest of the bartender. The burn of alcohol on his throat was not enough to ease the utter chaos of his insides. “Come on.”

Mary catapulted out of her stool at his tug and stumbled into him. When she landed against his chest, sizzles and crackles exploded over his flesh like a bolt of lightning. Conscious control flew away as Jerah’s free hand snaked to the nape of her neck and he feathered his fingers through her soft tresses. Something he had dreamed of many nights over the years.

About the Author:

karen loppStories have always been a part of my life, from books to tales passed down from my ancestors that brought history to life. Danger, struggles and the will power to overcome are all found in the rich legacy of my family tree. Inspiration from their lives inspired me to write what I love. Branching out to contemporary suspense has been another dream come true. I hope my stories bring you entertainment and inspiration.

I love history of all times and places. And my second but equal love of suspense fills my books.

http://karenlopp.com

https://twitter.com/karen_lopp

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http://www.pinterest.com/karenlopp

 

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About Debra S. Sanders

Debra is an RV nomad, traveling full time with her husband, dog and cat. She writes, hikes, star gazes and explores myth, lore and curiosities from America's back roads. She also indulges in colorful sunsets and good wine.

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