Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mystery Book Review: No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross

No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross
Non-Series

Pocket Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-0166-5 (1416501665)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-0166-4 (9781416501664)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $7.50

Synopsis (from the publisher): homicide detective Kate Delaney fiercely defends victims. Which is why -- despite death threats -- she's testifying to a federal grand jury about local police corruption. It's also why she's infuriated by the police department's blasé attitude toward her estranged sister's death. But pursuing an investigation in a strange city means allying with someone who knows the territory. And the players. Someone with a total disregard for the rules.

As an ex-cop from a police family, New Orleans PI Nick Broussard knows that cops live by their own code. You don't rat out a fellow officer. The last thing he needs is some smart-mouthed, by-the-book outsider unknowingly injecting herself into his undercover search for the truth. Even worse is the way she conjures up visions of tangled sheets.

Nick and Kate's chase pits them against the criminal underworld of the sultry southern city. And as they peel away layers of deadly deception, they discover a dark secret too many are willing to kill to keep.

Review: JoAnn Ross sets her latest romantic thriller, No Safe Place, in post-Katrina New Orleans "where folks have a certain way of doing things".

Chicago homicide detective Kate Delaney travels to New Orleans after she learns her twin sister has committed suicide. Certain her sister was murdered and unfamiliar with the city, she hires a private investigator to assist her in learning the truth. The PI she chooses, Nick Broussard, ex-Navy SEAL and ex-NOPD, seems perfect for the job: he's intelligent, physically fit, motivated, resourceful, good with weapons, and, not necessarily a bad thing, reckless. That they find an immediate mutual physical attraction is a given; will they act on it is another matter. After all, Kate's sister is dead and she has a lot of unanswered questions. The last thing she needs is some Cajun hotshot scrambling her mind.

As a romantic thriller, the emphasis in No Safe Place is heavy on the romance and light on the thrills and suspense. There is almost nothing in the way of atmosphere: Kate and Nick could be on a boat in Seattle, or Bar Harbor, or Miami. This is unfortunate since New Orleans practically synonymous with sensuous and sultry. Character development is non-existent and the plot is mostly recycled. The vast majority of the narrative can be attributed to either Kate or Nick as verbal, mental, or physical interplay. It's a bit tedious in places, but interesting enough to keep the pages turning.

However, where No Safe Place fails is in some sloppy editing. Time frames appear to be arbitrary. Characters forget things that they previously knew. Inconsistencies in the plot, rarely a strong point in this genre anyway, are conveniently overlooked. Fans of the author's previous novels will forgive these lapses; new readers may not.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of No Safe Place for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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