Sunday, May 16, 2010


by Rachel Ann Nunes

"Imprints," Rachel Ann Nunes' ground-breaking, envelope-pushing paranormal suspense novel, is my favorite read of the year, and proof that Nunes has upped the game for LDS authors in all genres.

Nunes is a big fan of paranormal suspense, but when the search for clean paranormal books--books a gospel-centered reader could embrace--became increasingly challenging, she decided to write one herself, and try to break a new niche in the market.

This award-winning author isn't gliding on her reputation. In my opinion, "Imprints" is her best work, proof that more great material is ahead, from Nunes, and from other authors who will benefit from "Imprints'" success. Using her considerable talent and clout, Nunes is expanding the market to a wider range of books in order to satisfy a broad hunger for clean, uplifting fiction.

"Imprints" isn't an LDS-themed book, but cautious readers who specifically choose LDS-authored suspense/romance, seeking high moral values and clean language, can comfortably embrace this paranormal book while enjoying the thrills and pace of a national best-selling read. Here's the premise:

Following the tragic death of her beloved adopted hippie-father, Autumn Rain receives a few unexpected gifts--the twin sister separated from her at birth; the paranormal ability to read "imprints," the emotions and images left behind on objects; and the knowledge that her sister also has a gift of her own.

Reining in her gift is Autumn's problem. She attempts to deal with it, and the pain it sometimes causes her, by using her ability to help victims of tragedies. Not everyone believes in her or her ability, causing Autumn to curb her inherently open, giving nature and close ranks around a few trusted relatives and friends. Paramount in her life are her sister, Tawnia: Tawnia's husband, Bret; and her best friend, Jake, the herbalist who owns the shop adjacent to Autumn's antique business. This trio--and a few objects retaining the soothing, loving imprints from Autumn's parents--are all the gifted woman has to anchor her as she comes to term with her ability and the scrutiny it brings her.
The jury is still out on Autumn's character, at least it is for a handsome detective named Shannon, who used information Autumn provided to locate a missing child. The girl was found--dead--and Shannon seemingly moved Autumn into the suspect list, as well as onto his list of informants.

Still, a pair of desperate parents come to the Herb Shoppe seeking Autumn's help. The story of their lost daughter compels Jake to make an introduction to Autumn, whose reading of the imprints left on the girl's possessions reveals cult connections. Autumn advises the family to contact the police, and soon Ethan--a gorgeous part-time P.I. with his own interest in exposing the cult--shows up at Autumn's shop, sweeping her off her logical, bare-footed feet. Consumed by multiples desires to help others, please Ethan, and to justify her ability, Autumn is swept into a world of intrigue that leaves readers pointing the finger of accusation at nearly every character in the book. You'll have a hard time walking away from this one.

And it's not just because the suspense is so tight and compelling, though it absolutely is. "Imprints" is the total package, the real-deal. Nunes' dialogue is smart, savvy, and sassy, giving each of her diverse characters powerful, compelling, and very individual, voices that endear them to the reader. The characters, particularly Autumn and Jake, are unique and adorable in their conflicted friendship, keeping you cheering as the potential love triangle expands to pentagonal proportions. I absolutely loved the book and I'm recommending it to everyone. It has national potential written into every page.

My only unresolved expectation surrounded the mysterious, accidental death of Autumn's father--the event that serves as the catalyst for everything else. I kept expecting it to be tied into this book's storyline somehow. But several "Imprints" characters have unresolved issues, and I expect that these issues, and the details surrounding this accident, are likely to be resolved, or at least explored, in upcoming "Autumn Rain" books. Yes, readers will be delighted to know that a sequel is already in progress.

So bravo to Rachel Ann Nunes--an award-winning, best-selling author of nearly thirty books--for taking a courageous leap of faith and leading out with "Imprints."

And hats off to Deseret Books and Shadow Mountain Publishing for taking a chance on "Imprints" and widening the market for LDS literature, although banking on Nunes--a solid, proven success--can hardly be considered a gamble.

Readers can pick up a copy at their neighborhood LDS book store!


  1. Sounds interesting! Great review, Laurie!

  2. I'm excited to read this one. Great review!

  3. This sounds like my kind of book, and its why I already ordered it. Great detailed review.

  4. Great review, Laurie. I'm adding "Imprints" to my list today (and maybe bumping it toward the top).