Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Exchange by Inga C. Ellzey

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Exchange by Inga C. Ellzey. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Exchange by Inga C. Ellzey

The Exchange by
A Jewelle Dawson Mystery

Lambie Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-60585-504-9 (1605855049)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60585-504-2 (9781605855042)
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $19.99

Review: Inga C. Ellzey introduces Jewelle Dawson, a woman without a past and an uncertain future, in The Exchange, the first book in a series of romantic suspense novels.

After an injurious warning not to testify, a knife drawn down her cheek leaving a hideous scar and a finger being dismembered, Elinore Hanson testified anyway against the Gambrelini mob family of Chicago. She was immediately put into the Witness Protection Program as Jewelle Dawson and moved to Duluth. After seven years in a lackluster job, her only true friends being John Murray, her Witness Protection officer, and his wife Betty, Jewelle decides she wants more for her life. Against the warnings of John, Jewelle elects to take a month’s cruise in the Mediterranean on the luxury liner, Emerald of the Seas, flying to Barcelona where she boards the ship with thoughts of making new friends, having an exciting adventure, and perhaps fitting in a little romance. Little does she know that her assumed persona would innocently and unknowingly be revealed by a new and trusted friend and that word would get back to the Gambrelini don who had never given up his aspiration of finding and killing her for the trouble she had caused his “family.”

Jewelle is delighted to be seated at dinner with Frances and Gordon Wakefield from Quebec. Besides celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, Frances, a writer of mysteries, is eager to write her final novel, a mystery involving an intercontinental jewel theft. Also present is Paul Rosini, a handsome widower, who took an immediate interest in Jewelle as she did in him. During the first few days at sea she also meets Max Caldwell, a very wealthy, very attractive gentleman, who shares a mutual interest in her. Jewelle is having the time of her life. But, through a quirk of fate, one of her new friends described Jewelle to another acquaintance who had once been a member of the Gambrelini “family”. He notified Gambrelini and plans were immediately set in motion to find the woman now know as Jewelle Dawson. When Jewelle’s friend realized what she had done, she gathers all who had came to know and love Jewelle to devise a plan that would save Jewelle’s life, yet satisfy Gambrelini that the woman who had caused him so much harm in the past was now dead.

The title of The Exchange has several meanings in the book, not the least of which is the ultimate exchange of Jewelle's old life for her new one. The richly drawn characters come alive, each of the principal ones having memorable attributes. The plots of the jewel theft and the jeopardy surrounding Jewelle are complex but are beautifully woven together. The Exchange is a passionate, suspenseful novel, and, according to the author's website, just the first in a series to feature this intriguing woman.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Exchange and to FSB Associates for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, Jewelle Dawson hopes to regain her freedom and her identity by embarking on a one-month Mediterranean Cruise. With full knowledge that the Gambrelini mob is still hunting her and despite desperate pleas and warnings from John Murray, her Witness Protection Officer, Jewelle flies to Barcelona and boards the luxury cruise ship, the Emerald of the Seas, in search of interesting new friends, a fresh beginning, and hopefully...romance.

Two men quickly find their way into Jewelle's protected life and heart. Max Caldwell, the fabulously wealthy playboy gambler lures Jewelle into his life of risk with promises of adventure and romance, yet lets Jewelle know upfront that he's a man who wants no ties or commitments. In spite of his warnings, Jewelle finds herself in a game of chance, willing to risk it all for love. Paul Rosini, the handsome, widower pilot, fascinates Jewelle with his gentle ways and romantic charms, although Jewelle knows that there's a hidden, deeper, darker side that he won't reveal to her...or anyone. Through exotic ports-of-call in the Mediterranean, Jewelle finds new relationships with Frances Wakefield, the eccentric internationally famous mystery thriller authoress, Randy and Sarah Harrison, Picco, the Italian Countess, and Kenny Scott, the physically grotesque but lovable Vietnam Vet. All add fun, adventure, and intrigue to Jewelle's escape vacation.

Love and friendship are put to the ultimate test when the mob discovers Jewelle's vulnerable location. Two will die, relationships are defined, and Max and Paul will be forced to reveal their secret pasts when all the characters come together in a daring exchange to give Jewelle freedom from the Gambrelinis once and for all.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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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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