Saturday, December 3, 2011
BOOK NOOK REVIEW
Award-winning author, Liz Adair, delivers a crisp, delicious read with her recently released romantic suspense novel, Cold River. Once again, Adair draws from locales and events dear to her heart—this time it’s the northwest timber country—to create intricate, realistic settings and characters with an endearing quirkiness.
When life in Albuquerque becomes complicated, twenty-nine year-old Dr. Mandy Steenburg finds escape in her newly earned doctoral degree. Two remote school districts need a new superintendent badly enough to take a chance on this enthusiastic newbie — one is in Alaska, the other is Limestone, Washington. So, Mandy packs up her life and ships it north.
Tossing her doctoral degree on the back seat, she exits the big city in her sassy Miata bound for Washington State and a small town of residents descended from North Carolina depression-era settlers. The only thing smaller than Limestone is the residents’ gene pool.
The climate change was expected, but the chilly reception Mandy receives from this community makes it clear she’s unwelcome as the replacement for Grange Timberlane, her beloved, but facially-afflicted predecessor, who is now her frustrated assistant.
Welcome or not, Mandy is determined to make a difference in this seemingly undisciplined school system despite the tangled web of feuding families, suspicions, and secrets. Headway is slow, and friends are hard to come by — that is except for Fran, the manager of the Qwik-E-Market, and her wickedly handsome boss, Vince Lafitte, who just happens to also be the head of the local school board. Tangled as five coon dogs in a fox hole, right? Well, hold on.
Vince and Grange share unpleasant history as well, and the more Mandy comes to care about each of these two men, the more accidents and near-death experiences she seems to have. Toss in some moonshine, some magnificent Bluegrass music, and the unexpected arrival of Mandy’s teenaged sister, and Adair has concocted an intriguing romantic suspense that will leave you smiling, snarling, and page turning until the satisfying end.
It’s no surprise that Adair was the 2009 recipient of the Whitney Award for Romance. She is a master storyteller who does her research, creating books that breathe with realism. Adair spreads enough guilt and motive around to keep the reader nail-biting and guessing about the conclusion until the end, while injecting the read with delicious moments of humor.
Walnut Springs is the fortunate publisher of this charmer. I highly recommend Cold River for readers who love a good suspense novel, a tangled romance, or both.