About the Book:
Author: Lisa Harris
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Southern Crimes – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Suspense, Series
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review: There is a serial murder on the loose if evidence proves anything and detective Avery North is beginning to question her line of work – and heart. Combining her sharp skills as a detective, Avery uses her behavioral specialist degree to help her get an idea of what kind of criminal they are looking for, only now she is realizing that the job has taken a lot from her, first her husband and then her brother, and now all Avery wants is to live a normal life and raise her teenage daughter. Along with partner Mitch, Avery’s newest case involves what looks like a serial killer who is murdering young Asian girls. Now between a list of suspects and clues, and the forensic evidence that has Avery working closely with the handsome medical examiner Jackson Bryant, Avery must solve the case before her daughter or anyone else she loves is caught in the crosshairs.
About a third of the way through this novel, my overall opinion of Dangerous Passage was that Lisa Harris could write oneheck of a suspense novel – and carries into the final pages, she did not disappoint. Golly, this book was really a pleasant surprise. Being a newbie reader of Harris’, I didn’t know what to expect and in fact was a bit skeptical for reasons I can no longer remember. All of the key elements that are the indicator of good suspense are here, only the similarities stop there. Harris’ rips up the “rule book” and focuses on her characters instead of worrying over a good climax or leaving fans hanging at the end of the book – think characterization in the same vein as Dani Pettrey. Taking a risk is one thing, however I think that what Lisa did with her first novel in Revell was wonderful – she used other means of holding interest instead of leading up to a life-threatening climax; one in which, usually, a character’s life hangs in the balance.
Let’s go through some quick fangirl moments regarding the characters because really, it wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t have some thoughts on the protagonists, right!? Avery and Jackson were awesome; there was much to respect and love about them. How their relationship is set up was excellent as was their burgeoning romance. Too many in this genre exaggerate the romantics – by the end, usually there has been a realization of love brought on by a near-death experience, and while that can be a strong jar to ones emotions, nothing up to that point facilitates such a strong reaction. Obviously, there would be affection, just not the kind of love that leads to a proposal, especially considering most the attraction has been physical. Every progression in this romance seemed neither rushed nor disingenuous – Avery and Jackson had already experienced first blushes of love, they’d love and lost, and were now each a part of a more mature relationship.
This book isn’t going to be “right” for all fans of its genre. It takes a break from the usual “excitement” to put focus on its protagonists instead of wrapping itself up in police and guesswork. In fact, the ending doesn’t leave reader’s scrabbling to immediately want book two – it’s a nice way to complete its story, yet still ensures that anyone who reads ‘Passage’ will want to return in order to follow the subtle bread crumbs that have the makings to be fully explored in book two, Fatal Exchange. Joining the ranks of her fellow Revell family (Irene Hannon and Lynette Eason), Lisa Harris has earned her place already, and not just as a “name to watch,” but also as someone who has already set the groundwork for longevity in the world of mystery novels! It is one journey that I am most anxious to continue following.
Coming Next from Lisa Harris: Synopsis N/A, coming Summer 2014
Sincere thanks to Fiction Addict and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.