Marilee Jennings had come to New Eden, Montana, for a much-needed holiday, but her dream getaway soon became a nightmare. For when she arrived her best friend was dead, and Mari couldn't silence her suspicions that New Eden was harbouring the killer ...Someone else has a stake in the wild beauty of New Eden. Someone with secrets worth killing for. Someone with an appetite for evil. Someone with the power to turn a slice of heaven into a Dark Paradise. And as Mari digs deeper beneath New Eden's picture-perfect exterior, finding the truth is suddenly no longer a matter of justice. It's her only hope of staying alive.
It has been a while since I read anything by Tami Hoag but I had this one in the TBR pile so I picked it up, as it seemed an interesting romantic suspense.
I am happy to say that I really enjoyed. The book opens with the crime being committed. You know who the victim is but during that scene, the identity of the killer is not revealed.
We then proceed to get to know the heroine, Marilee, a court reporter who has decided she needed a change in her life and travels to Montana to be with her friend Lucy. However, when she arrives at Lucy’s home in the mountains she finds the place ransacked and a mysterious and overbearing man who warns her away and tells her that Lucy is dead. Shocked Marilee decides to stay and find out what happened to Lucy.
There are several mysteries surrounding the town but the one about who killed Lucy is apparently solved to everyone’s satisfaction having been labeled a hunting accident. Marilee sees it as ironic the fact that the death of her friend only brought a slap in the wrist to her killer. Surprisingly she is informed that she is Lucy’s heir and the letter she left for her leads her to think that someone may have been behind the accident.
Undecided on what to do with her life and the property Lucy left her while at the same time intrigued by the people she meets Marilee decides to stay in town for a while. She soon develops a relationship with JD Rafferty, the owner of a neighboring ranch who has been feeding Lucy’s animals and keeps thinking of Marilee as just another Lucy. JD wants to buy the property and is determined to fight the Hollywood crowd who has recently invaded Montana leading to the prices going up and the ruin of local ranchers. This is the crowd Lucy ran with, so Marilee is also interested in them and what are they really involved in.
Things are not what they seem and when more people die the tension between the locals and the newcomers rises while at the same time Evan Bryce, the Hollywood tycoon who has been buying land, seems to have found a way to get to Rafferty’s lands through JD’s brother’s wife.
We do know who the bad people are from the beginning, it is more a question of why and how then of who. Marilee and JD are not new as characters in the sense that we have read about the city girl who meets the lonesome cowboy before but I liked how Hoag wrote them and their story worked for me. This is a romantic supense that is very heavy on romance, Rafferty was a bit overbearing and Marilee had to fight for every inch of his heart. Some people might have a problem with him as this feels as an old fashioned romance. I liked how the tension builds near the end when we find out what is really happening and the final confrontation scene. For me it was an interesting and compelling read.