Wednesday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

We'll be disappearing for a couple of days, have a great Thanksgiving and happy reading.

Tuesday, November 24

Even Steven or Finding Balance Where There is None

The other day we watched the Seinfeld Even Steven eposide, where George is up, Elaine is down and Jerry is Even Steven.  This is what came to mind today as I read through the RWA/Jane/Dear Author debacle . 

I'm Even Steven.  When I don't have a dog in the fight, I find myself seeing both sides.  I'm always amazed by the inability of people not to see there are two sides to an issue and inevitably there is a balance that falls somewhere in the middle, sometimes right smack in the middle and sometimes somewhere closer to one perspective than another.

My take... 

I have to think RWA is over-reacting, but I'm not surprisied given the romfail situation.  Romfail makes me very uncomfortable.  After seeing all the attention it was garnishing, I checked it out and read a large chunk of the "romfail" from 3 days ago.  I don't live by the "if you have nothing good to say...", but there is a point where snark turns to humiliation, and I have to think romfail hits that point.

Having said that, Jane does more to support the romance genre than most bloggers in Romanceland...  Reviews, First Sales, Interviews, Link Round Ups, Publishing News, If You Like..., Recommended Reads, and for me the mind numbing ebook information.  Apparantly there isn't enough here to warrant her support of romance authors.  I'm not sure what else she could actually do?

It's not the last time RWA will be short sighted and I'm sure Jane will continue with romfail.  If you don't like romfail don't follow or participate, but RWA can't claim "...that indicate you do not support RWA or romance authors."

And that's one Even Steven's take.  Have a great day and happy reading.

Saturday, November 21

Real Life Interupts

So once again real life interupted a really good reading binge.  Since Wednesday we've been non-stop with work, school and cub scout things. 

Wednesday I worked in the parish CCD (Religious Education) office, cleaning up some of their bookkeeping issues. Since I will only be going in a couple of hours a week this is going to be a long term project.  That night our parent organization voted down our largest fundraiser.  Largest means it requires a tremendous amount of time to plan, organize and run, unfortunately given the economy it only brings in a fraction of what it did in the past. 

Thursday during the day I was baking Magic Cookie Bars and Pumpking Bread for the Cub Scout bake sale we're having on Saturday and Sunday after the Masses.  Then  it was After Care for the school and the communal baking of pies for the bake sale.  We used the school's kitchen--lots of counter space and a nice sized convection oven.  While we were baking the cafeteria was being used by another school fundraising commitee, putting together 100 gift baskets for an upcoming "Tricky Tray" event.

Friday it was back to work in the rectory. The bulletin for Thanksgiving weekend was due at the printer, normally it goes on Tuesday but holiday schedules always throws it back to the Friday before.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the first week of Advent, which means--I'M NOT READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!  After work I had After Care again.  Junior went to see Planet 51 and I had to pick him up at a friends house.  He didn't like the movie and announced he was never going to a movie with two 2nd graders and a kindergartener again--too much noise.  I guess being a 3rd grader makes him old.

And in the middle of chaos the hubby has PIG FEVER.  At least we think that's what it is.  It started on Wednesday and we're hoping it's peaked.

Have a great day, we've got soccer and basketball today :)

Wednesday, November 18


My post recently about Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts got me thinking about faith and romance.  In one of my comments I used faith as a way to judge the characters and I realized I normally don't do this.  Honestly, if we used religion as a basis to judge romance things probably would be found incredibly lacking.  In the case of Bed of Roses, my concepts of faith comes into play because I'm left wondering why don't any of the Vows clients get married in churches--not to say I expect everyone to be married in some sort of church, but some of them certainly would have some sort of religious faith--right?

Normally I go into a book not expecting any religious beliefs one way or another and since I don't read inspirational romances, I find little or no religious belief systems in almost all the romances I read.  With the exception of Linda Howard's Open Season, I can't remember a contemporary where the characters go to church together.

Most of the people who read this blog know 1. I'm a practicing Catholic, 2. my son goes to Catholic School and 3. I work for my Parish.  If I used my faith as a litmus test for what I read, I'd be in serious trouble.  But, I've come to realize I don't come at books using my faith.  It's not my story being told, so I shouldn't or try not to judge what I read by what I believe.  This works for me.  Maybe in some way it's how I subconsciouly  justify what I read, but I don't think so.  There have been a few books over the years that cross what I would consider my boundries and I'm pretty careful to avoid books that cross that line.

So, here's the thing, if you believe in God and follow an "organized" religion, how do you seperate your faith from fiction?

Tuesday, November 17


Random thoughts and observations from early this AM:
  • I really dislike the "when did you stop beating your wife?" type of questions, it always leaves me wondering why people even engage in the conversation.
  • We have a popular local radio station that is already playing Christmas music. I'm actually okay with this.  The radio station's most populer DJ lives down the street from me.  He's a pompous ass. 
  • I was playing the station on my laptop at work yesterday and turned the music down when the pastor came into my office not because I thought the music would bother him, a Mariah Carey Christmas song came on, I hate Mariah Carey.  Now I don't actually hate Mariah Carey, you can't hate someone you don't know.  My dislike of her music is extreme, this also includes Whitney Houston and anyone else that does that weird flutter thing with their voices.  I know they're talented, but I can't listen. 
  • My office isn't really an office, it's a closet with a table, laptop and printer--works for me because it's really private and people can come in and out of the rectory and never know I'm back there working.
  • Another local radio station had a 70's Rock Weekend this past weekend and Junior is apparantely a fan of 70's Rock--right there with his mama :)  Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Elton John when he was actually good.
  • I'm a fan of redemption stories. Not a surprise, but it explains a good portion of what I read and what I keep. Sometimes I'm right in step with the rest of romanceland, but not always. After the discussion about rakes on Dear Author, I pulled out my copy of Georgette Heyer's Devil's Cub. I have to admit, one can not live on rakes alone.
  • I have a massive TBR pile and feel like I have nothing to read.  How is that possible?
It's time to make the coffee, have a great day and happy reading.

Sunday, November 15

Book Binge and other things.

I've been on a reading binge since Friday, finishing Lauren Dane's Laid Bare, Beverly Jenkins' Captured and Bronwyn Parry's Dark Country.  The best book of the bunch was Dark Country a really good spin off of As Darkness Falls.  The Bronwyn Parry books are worth tracking down.

The child is at his second birthday party of the weekend.  Yesterday it was a Chuck E. Cheese party.  I personally think CEC is the third level of Hell.  About 10 minutes into the birthday party the fire alarm in CEC went off and the entire building had to be evacuated.  Today it's a bowling party--I just dropped him.

We got to visit with our new nephew today.  He is very cute in that pinched baby sort of way.

Outdoor soccer finished yesterday and indoor soccer starts tomorrow.  Cub Scouts is Tuesday.  Parent organization meeting Wednesday.  Baking for the Cub Scout Bake Sale Thursday--the Cub Master's wife wants us to bake 80 pies for Sunday's bake sale, I'm not really sure who we're selling them to, but I'll hear it if I don't show up. 

The hubby is starving so I need to cook.  Have a great night and happy reading.

Saturday, November 14

ICE by Linda Howard (Review)

  • Thanks to the USPS, this book arrived bright and early Friday morning.
  • Thanks to Wendy, I knew this was going to be short, really short.
  • Thanks to Dear Author and Rosie, I knew this wouldn't be comparable to her full size books.
So going into this book, my expectations were very, very low.  But, hey, it's Linda Howard for crying out loud.  Linda Howard on a bad day is still better than most authors on good days--so says this fangirl.  And I admit it I AM A FANGIRL.

Yes, the price was obscene, but I'm going to be philosophical about it.  I ordered this book at 198 pages and Stephen Kings new one at 1,074 pages, both cost $9.  So I got 1,272 pages for $18.  Not so bad, it was almost like getting this one free.  See this fangirl can do simple math to justify the cost of a really overpriced book.

Gabriel has just made the trip from North Caroline (where he's an MP in the military) to his hometown in Maine.  His dad is the county sheriff and sends him right out to check on Lolly.  An ice storm is rolling in and the sheriff is concerned he can't reach Lolly on her cell phone.  Gabriel's not thrilled, he thought Lolly was stuck up in high school and pushed her buttons whenever possible.  Lolly's come home to prepare her parents house to be sold.  Being from Maine she doesn't plan to stay in the house during an ice storm.  She's picking up what she needs and heading back into town where it is safe.

Enter Niki and Darwin, meth addicts, who notice Lolly's Mercedes and figure they can score some money and stuff worth stealing if they follow her home.  They're crazy in the criminal, drug addict way one would expect.  They stalk and attack.  Gabriel helps rescue and into the storm they all go.

The story that unfolds takes place, start to finish, in less than 24 hours.  And it worked for me.  Taking the time frame and story elements into consideration, we weren't going to get a romance centered story.  We get a thriller, adventure centered story with hints of a romance to come.  There's a good review by Sandy on AAR.

For me the only issue is price.  It's not worth $22, it's not worth $9, if it had been released as a category romance for less than $5 it would have been better recieved, and worth the price.  Get it at the library or wait for the paperback version, if the e-version is cheap get it.

That's it for now.  Have a great day and happy reading.

Friday, November 13

ICE by Linda Howard

An hour and a half and it was done.

It was MUCH better than I had expected.  It probably paid to read Rosie and the Dear Author reviews. 

Was it worth $9?  No, but I wonder if anyone would be grumbling if it was a category romance instead?

Was it Open Season or Dream Man or Mr. Perfect?  No, but it wasn't supposed to be.  It's exactly what it's meant to be...  a quick entertaining read.  And, honestly, it would make a great action/adventure movie.

I'll blog more later as I'm working After Care at school.

Order Up

The Amazon order I placed earlier this week came bright and early this am.  The hubby had just pulled away to leave for work and the mail truck delivered  Linda Howard's Ice and Stephen King's Under the Dome.

I'll probably have Ice finished today--mini hardcover with 198 pages.  And I have no idea how long it will take the hubby to read Under the Dome--it comes in at a wopping 1074 pages. Both books cost $9 at Amazon.

Wednesday, November 11

Another Day, Another List Or Two

Book related stuff...
  • Yesterday morning I read The Rake post on Dear Author. Most mornings I don't have enough time to formulate a comment for these types of discussions, of course, by the time I get home in the afternoon there are a gazillion comments and my thoughts will only get lost in the multitudes, not that I have anything interesting to add to the conversation. I love a good redemption story and real rakes need redemption don't they?
  • I posted this at the bottom of my Lorraine Heath post... I was 105 pages into Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare before I picked this one up. SOAS may end up a DNF for me, it took me 3 days to read 105 pages and I'm not even remotely interested in where the story is going. Oh, well. Unless someone tells me why this book is fantastic, I can't see how it rated B's everywhere I look for reviews. From the back blurb Sophia "wants a life of her own: unsheltered, unconventional, uninhibited." Sophia is 1. self-centered, 2. clueless, 3. unrepentant. What's the draw. I actually kind of like Gray, but not enough to care why he would be interested in "Miss Turner". I'd much prefer to read a story about Joss finding new love.
  • I just realized I don't have Meljean Brook's Demon Forged. I may have to stop at B&N and pick it up while we're out shopping.
  • For the most part I try to mix up my reading. Since most of what I read is historical I try to mix in some romantic suspense, contemporaries and paranormals between books or I'll burn out. I was digging through the TBR pile and realized I didn't have Meljean's latest, I was looking for a paranormal. I'm also missing the newest Viehl and Singh books.
We're off today, and a day off means things to do...
  • We have a new nephew, born yesterday to my BIL and his wife.  Junior and I are heading to Kohl's for some bargain shopping--I got a $15 gift card in the mail from Kohl's and it's burning a hole in my pocket.  A new baby is a perfect excuse to shop.
  • We had an appointment for an oil change this morning.  The mechanic also replaced my headlights, not the bulbs, the whole headlight assemblies.  The old ones were so fogged up that even with the brights on at night I was having a hard time seeing.  New ones, clear bright and shiny.  Just like Christmas--per Junior.
  • The house was in desperate need of vacuuming.  We have an Oreck and I have a tendency to kill belts--sucking up the edges of area and oriental rugs will burn up belts real quick--of course, if I were a little more careful when I vacuumed this wouldn't be an issue.  So, the vacuum had a funky smell and I assumed it was the belt.  It took me a while to get to the Oreck store--why I didn't think to order belts on line I can't tell you.  So this morning I'm all set to replace the belt--and yes, I do it myself--the belt is fine.  The bag on the other hand weighed about 25 lbs., that would explain the lack of power and lousy suction that I had attributed to the belt being damaged.  The whole house has been vacuumed.  The hubby will be happy.
  • The child is outside playing.  One of the neighborhood kids came to the door and whispered, bring the guns.  We're the house with the good stuff, the stash that everyone wants, the arsenal, the weaponry--the Nerf guns, the toy rifles, the Star Wars Light Sabers, etc...
Got to go :)  Have a great day and happy reading


I'm not sure when I bought this book.  I think it's release date was October 27th, so I must have picked it up sometime in the last 2 weeks.  None of that really matters, but why was it at the top of the TBR pile?  I don't know.

I dislike the title of this book, with the exception of "Midnight Pleasures" it doesn't have anything to do with a "Scoundrel" with the exception of the villains.  Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel is book 4 in Lorraine Heath's adult version of Oliver Twist.  The odd thing is I've not particularly loved this series, each story is different, readable but none have been keepers, but I've felt compelled to finish it.


She Sought Revenge But Discovered Desire.

On a quest to avenge her sister's death, Eleanor Watkins never expected to fall for the man following her through pleasure gardens and into ballrooms. But soon nothing can keep her from the arms of the sinfully attractive scoundrel, not even the dangerous secrets she keeps. Strong, compassionate, and utterly irresistible, James is all she desires. But can she trust him enough to let herself succumb to all the pleasures that midnight allows?

James Swindler has worked hard to atone for his unsavory past. He is now as at home in London's glittering salons as he is in the roughest streets. But when the inspector is tasked with keeping watch on a mysterious lady suspected of nefarious deeds, he is determined to use his skills at seduction to lure Eleanor into revealing her plans. Instead, he is the one seduced, turning away from everything he holds dear in order to protect her—no matter the cost to his heart.
This is a very good description of the book. I'd been looking forward to James' story as I felt he needed true love after being in love with Frannie since they were children.  James isn't a scoundreal and Eleanor isn't whom she appears to be--and I'm leaving it at that.

There seems to be an odd cadence to the writing style for a large part of this book, no bad but a little choppy. Having said that the cadence and writing style left me somewhat detached from the story telling.  The first half the book reads similar to a gothic novel. There is mystery afoot, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Eleanor is stalking a man who was the cause of her sister Elisabeth's death, but there is more to it.  There are interesting twists to the story, which would include major spoilers if I actually included them.

That's all I'm giving you :)  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it, and yet somehow I felt compelled to finish it in less than 24 hours.

I was 105 pages into Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare before I picked this one up.  SOAS may end up a DNF for me, it took me 3 days to read 105 pages and I'm not even remotely interested in where the story is going.  Oh, well.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Monday, November 9

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

I finished Bed of Roses  yesterday morning (after Mass and before working Bingo).  I'll start by saying I liked this book.  Do you hear the "but"?  But I have some issues, which probably stem from working for a church.  I apologize now for sounding prissy later :)

To be fair I'll list what I like about this book/series...
  • After a gazillion books, it is obivious Nora Roberts has writing down to an art. Fully developed, smart characters and an attention to details that is amazing.
  • In my list the other day I wasn't sure I liked the four women in these stories--I do like them.  Their friendship, their commitment to each other, their sisterhood and love, their strengths and understanding of each others' weaknesses all of it is beautifully created and written.
  • I really liked Emma, she's sweet and giving. And the friends to lovers theme works for Emma and Jack.
  • The four heros are interesting, smart, and very different from one another.
  • I love the environment that Nora Roberts has created. The wedding business "Vows" is an incredible concept, owned and run by four smart women--the planner, the photographer, the floral designer and the baker. It's more than just the backdrop to the stories. it comes to life for every event.
  • The books are beautiful. To quote Wendy "...those trade paperbacks are really lovely to look at, touch and pet."
What I'm prissy about :)...
  • Do any of the "Vows" clients get married in a church instead of at Vows, not necessarily Catholic, but maybe Lutheran or Episcopal or Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian or maybe a non-denominational church?  There was a mention of a chupah [sp?] in this one.
  • There's something a little slutty about how they talk about when they last had sex.  I don't expect women in contemporaries to be virgins, but these four seem a little bit looser than I'm used to.  Now I realize my life revolves around a church environment, so I'm probably not a good judge of this :)  Fast and loose can be expected in erotic romance. One of the ladies is on a sex moratorium--she hasn't had sex in 6 months and the other ladies commiserate with and feel bad for her.  Maybe it's my age, or maybe it's my faith, but I believe sex is about long term commitment not just hooking up.  Hooking up creeps me out.  Told you I'd sound prissy. 
  • The storyline of this one, seemed too similar to the 1st book.  Mac had commitment issues in the Visions in White and Jack had issues in Bed of Roses.  Both Mac and Jack are from divorced families (Jack's parents get along, Mac's mother is crazy).  Carter (Visions in White)and Emma (Bed of Roses) are from large, stable and loving families.  And the conflict about commitment in Bed of Roses seemed a little forced, I didn't like Jack's phobic reaction to commitment, but I also didn't like that they, the ladies who have known him for years, didn't understand his commitment issues.
  • This one is going to sound stupid, but I'm sharing it anyway.  I don't like architect heros--strange right?  My husband is in contractor sales and supply.  He "hates" architects, well, not all architects, only the ones with "vision" and consider themselves artists.  The hubby reads blueprints and it amazes him how often architects don't design to building code and sometimes designs aren't even structurally sound.  Some architects are okay with changes or corrections to their designs, but the ones with "vision" can be and usually are difficult.  Also, remember Seinfeld--George's fantasy job is being an architect.  I don't want to think about George Castanza when I read a romance.  Told you it was strange :)
Will I read the next one?  You bet.  Laurel and Del's story (Savor the Moment) comes out in May 2010.  I would LOVE to read Emma's parents' story, it sounded beautiful.

Saturday, November 7

Another List

I've started 3 different books in the last 3 days and can't seem to settle on what I want to read.  It's the middle of Saturday afternoon, and I'm bored, I decided to make a list of odd thoughts ...
  1. My son has 3 birthday parties in 8 days this month.  At what age do the kids' birthday parties stop?
  2. This summer we finally broke down and bought the child a Nintendo DS.  Guess who plays it almost as much as he does?  I even have my own games.
  3. We're making calzones for dinner tonight, I didn't have the heart to tell my husband it would have been cheaper and easier to have them delivered from one of our local pizza places.
  4. Our local supermarket gets french bread from a bakery in NYC and it's really good.  I put the oven on this afternoon to help the pizza dough defrost for the afore mentioned calzones (the dough is in a bag on top of the stove) and I could smell bread cooking.  I'd put a loaf of the french bread in the oven last night planning to use it for dinner, didn't use it and left it there.  I now have one giant, really crispy crouton.
  5. We had a 9:00 am soccer game today. It was 29 degrees when we got there.  The child had on 4 layers of clothing, a hat and gloves.  I went to Dunkin' Donuts and bought a box of Hot Chocolate for the kids--big hit.
  6. The child got his first pair of glasses this week.  One eye is weaker than the other and he needs them for reading.
  7. One of the books I started was Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts.  I read Visions in White earlier this year.  I liked VIW but I was left not really sure I even liked the 4 women the bride series is about.  After starting BOR I'm still not so sure about them.
  8. I pre-ordered Linda Howard's Ice this week along with a couple of other books and the new Stephen King for the hubby.   Thanks to the on-line price wars I got the hardcovers for $9 and took advantage of the super saver shipping.  I know the Howard is really short, but I'm a fangirl.
Junior just asked me to snuggle up on the sofa with him and watch the Polar Express, so I've got to go.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Thursday, November 5

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt has become one of my favorite authors.  I'm rarely disappointed with her storytelling.  Once again she's hit a homerun (notice the baseball metaphor :)) with To Desire a Devil.

The blurb is very good:
Reynaud St. Aubyn has spent the last seven years in hellish captivity. Now half mad with fever he bursts into his ancestral home and demands his due. Can this wild-looking man truly be the last earl's heir, thought murdered by Indians years ago?

Beatrice Corning, the niece of the present earl, is a proper English miss. But she has a secret: No real man has ever excited her more than the handsome youth in the portrait in her uncle's home. Suddenly, that very man is here, in the flesh-and luring her into his bed.


Only Beatrice can see past Reynaud's savagery to the noble man inside. For his part, Reynaud is drawn to this lovely lady, even as he is suspicious of her loyalty to her uncle. But can Beatrice's love tame a man who will stop at nothing to regain his title-even if it means sacrificing her innocence?
I was really looking forward to this one.  Given the high expectations, I was very pleased.  Reynaud was angry and bitter.  His interactions with other people are outright rude, understandable given his experiences of the last 7 years.  Beatrice is giving, tolerant and understanding.  Ms. Hoyt gradually gives you Reynaud's backstory and it's gruesome and sad.  You feel every one of his emotions.

To Seduce a Sinner is my favorite book of this series, but this is very close.  I loved Reynaud's interaction with Lord Vale from TSAS.  Jasper and Reynaud have such a shared history that they were bound to reconcile, and I felt it was handled well, with frustration and anger, laughter and memories.

A good book, if you're a Hoyt fan it's a satisfactory conclusion to a good series.

Have a great night and happy reading :)


My You Tube video was deleted, so I pulled it from the

The Core Four
"It’s only fitting I think that Andy started it,
Mo finished it," Jeter said.

Wednesday, November 4

Just Finished!!  I'll blog about it tomorrow :)
Have a great night and happy reading!!

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

When I first came back to blogging "everyone" was reading Tessa Dare's Goddess of the Hunt.   And just about every review left me thinking TSTL heroine.  That is until I read Rosario's Review. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait :)

The best review I found for this delightful book.  I was pleasantly surprised that Lucy would work for me, usually that single-mindedness creates an incredibly annoying heroine, not this time, though she does have her moments.  And Jeremy :)  Loved when he tried to distract himself with latin--conjugating the verb to kiss didn't work.

Surrender of a Siren and A Lady of Persuasion are moving up the TBR pile.

Monday, November 2

For the writing challenged among us

I discovered Mandy's She Reads Blog over at Wendy's and decided since I'm never going to be a writer and usually lurk at sites doing the NaNoWriMo thing, that I will join her and other's in NaNoReadMo...  The National Novel Read Month.  Mandy's hoping to read 5 new novels this month.  5 sounds good, 10 would be better.  Given my reading time, 10 is probably way too ambitious.

If it's Sunday I must have finished a book...

Acutally it's Monday, but for the last two weeks I've finished books Sunday afternoon, Indiscreet and As Darkness Falls.

Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel

I finished Indiscreet last Sunday and talked a little bit about it most of the week.  Sabine Godard is the niece of an Oxford professor and is "ruined" by the good friend of Lord Edward Marrack.  Fast forward 2 years and Lord Edward is now the Marquess of Foye.  He's traveling in Turkey and ends up in the Godard's circle of friends and collegues.  The professor is very sick and finishing his last academic writings.  The attraction between Foye and Sabine happens quickly, though Sabine is cautious because of Foye's friendship with man who ruined her.  Ah, but Foye has a good reason to dislike, even hate his old friend.  Foye is very concerned about Sabine's safety while traveling in Turkey.  She's caught the eye of a Pasha that doesn't have good intentions.  Sabine wont leave her uncle.  When disaster happens, the second part of the book becomes an adventure, road story.

I enjoyed this story.  In the past I've found Carolyn Jewel's writing to be a bit scattered sometimes focusing on secondary characters that didn't have a story to tell.  Indiscreet is very much focused on Sabine and Foye and that's why the book worked for me.   Even though Sabine needs rescueing, it's not because she has done something stupid and Foye is completely dedicated to her.

Give it a try, I thought Indiscreet was worth reading.

As Darkness Falls by Bronwyn Parry

It rained in our little area of the world on Halloween.  I sat on my front porch with As Darkness Falls and read while giving out candy.  A dark and dreary night is a good atmosphere for reading a very dark, yet very enjoyable romantic suspense.  If you are like me and expect your RS to be dark, this will probably work for you.  Ms. Parry does an incredible job creating an oppressive atmosphere that revolves around a small town on the edge of the Australian Outback and the consequences of vigilante justice.

Isabelle O'Connell is drawn back to work as a detective after the kidnapping of a friend's young daughter.  Alec Goddard is the lead inspector.  Bella's backstory is slowly developed until you fully understand the horror she has survived.  She is an amazing heroine... smart, strong, survivor.  Alec's story comes in small dumps of information, but it doesn't feel like large scale info dumping.  The secondary characters are smartly written, interesting and very typical of a small town.  The town itself is an important charcter to the story.  Bella needs closure and Alec involvement goes quickly from professional to personal.  I can't imagine how difficult it is to remain professional when a case involves a child.  This anxiety ratchets up the overall suspense of the story.

This book is worth hunting down.  I recieved it from Bronwyn Parry after winning Wendy's book contest.  I know it's available from The Book Depository and I believe the shipping is free.