From the back cover:
"EVEN OUT HERE IN THE COUNTRY, BAD THINGS HAPPEN."
Raven Stevenson was in Lakeview barely twenty-four hours when she heard those ominous words. She'd come to the small Virginia town to reconcile with her brother and forget the haunting memories of her past. She didn't expect to find friends, community - or a thirty-five-year-old mystery of tragic love.
Nor did she expect to meet Shane Montgomery, whose love for his ailing aunt Abby breaks through Raven's carefully built defenses. When Abby unwittingly shares some of the secrets behind that long-buried mystery, she and Raven are targeted by someone who wants those secrets silenced - and who's willing to kill both of them to do it.
This is good, solid romantic suspense--half romance, half suspense to add the tingle of mystery and mayhem.
Raven comes across as a very real woman, not too sweet or too perfect. Her sad past is poignant, and her spiritual journey is earnest and flows naturally--not cheesy or preachy.
Shane is a nice gamma male, more vocal and less He-Man than Jake from "Still Waters," which is the first book set in Lakeview.
There is a lot of good romantic tension between Raven and Shane, and terrific dialogue. Their relationship develops at just the right pace, without rushing into familiarity and friendship too soon.
The other characters shine almost as much as the main protagonists. Any reader with a grandparent whose mind is fading will relate to Raven and Shane as they do their best for Abby. Jake and Tiffany from "Still Waters" make small appearances, and Tori, who stars in "Even in the Darkness" (January 2006), welcomes Raven to Lakeview. Tori's grandfather is a crackup and a wily old fox.
The pace slowed a bit in the middle, and I had a few personal objections to the ending (I won't disclose them here), but on a whole this was excellent storytelling. The emotions are vivid, the spiritual struggles are difficult and honest. There isn't anything to object to in the suspense. I wouldn't hesitate to give this book to any romance reader, from age 10 to 100.
Die Before Nightfall excerpt