Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: Eden's Shadow by Jenna Ryan

Title: Eden's Shadow
Author: Jenna Ryan

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: December 1, 2004
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 0373228163
ISBN-13: 9780373228164

Like a specter, Detective Armand LaMorte moved with the shadows, stealthy and secretive, and was an expert tracker. Crescent City criminals didn't have a chance when he was on their trail—and no woman had a chance of resisting his native-born allure...

Eden Bennett was no exception. In her darkest hours, Armand offered her strength and safety while a decades-old mystery threatened to destroy what was left of her family. Ensconced in Armand's cloak of security, she knew no danger. But a killer was closing in...on them both.

My rating:

Three sisters, Eden, Lisa, and Mary, given up for adoption at an early age, had found each other ten years ago, found their mother and their grandmother, but learned their father was dead.

Now, Lisa, the middle child, the one responsible for bringing the sister back together, found their father, alive and well, but on their second meeting, someone bludgeoned him to death.

A witness comes forward, claiming he saw Lisa strike the fatal blow, but Eden and Mary, convinced of their gentle sister's innocence, devise a cunning plan to throw the dogs off the scent. Eden and Lisa are so similar in looks, Eden, the oldest sister, demands to stand with her sister in the line-up. The witness and his testimony is kaput.

But something else is going on in New Orleans. Eden has gotten a shadow. And it's not the gorgeous detective Armand LaMorte, although the sexy cop sometimes appears rather glued to her. This shadow is more sinister, and no matter what Eden believes or not, it just might have something to do with the old family curse of "death or worse striking the oldest child".

Well, another proof of why Jenna Ryan is my favorite Intrigue author. Though I usually dislike books with too much crammed in them, Ms. Ryan succeeded in gripping and holding my attention from the first page on.

This book had it all. Gothic atmosphere of New Orleans and the bayou with the stifling summer heat and freakish storms, an old voodoo curse hanging over the heroine's head, two murders, several attempts on the heroine's life, a voodoo queen, a voodoo loving grandmother, a sexy detective living partly in the shadows with secrets of his own and an old church to call home, a slightly "off" sister that might or might not really be a murderer, great tension, a fight in the cemetery, sizzling chemistry, and that extra touch of romance to top it all off.

The twists and turns were endless, the secrets heaping up left and right, the hero himself was a rather shady character, making the reader question his loyalty and motives, and the heroine had some baggage that (unfortunately) was never fully detailed to explain her adversity toward cops. I loved it (yet again), how there were so many contradicting clues as to the killer's identity, so many suspects it made your head spin, and yet, in the end, the truth was still a huge surprise for me...As well as the truth about the hero and his true intentions.

A great story, with good pacing, well-developed characters, great tension and chemistry, and that special mixture of creepiness, suspense and mystery to keep you glued to the edge of your seat from the first sign of danger to the very end of the book.


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