Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dirty Little Lies - Julie Leto

Dirty Little Lies
Julie Leto
Pocket Star Books

Thriller/ Romantic Suspense

Former gang member Marisela Morales feels fortunate to have found a legitimate job that incorporates all the action and adrenaline rush of her previous life. She’s an operative for Titan International, a worldwide security firm. As the story begins, she’s attending what looks to be a boring gathering of the rich and entitled in Boston. Things start looking up when, while waiting for her shift to begin (she’ll be watching the borrowed jewelry sported by the wives) she spots her ex, Frankie Vega on the other side of the ballroom.

A bit of flirtation takes them up to a balcony that surrounds the dome of the room. She’s shocked to see a gun barrel on the other side of the balcony, and only her honed reflexes allow her to get off a shot at the would-be assassin. As it is, a Congressman lies on the floor, grievously wounded. Marisela chases the assassin and is shocked, and a bit pleased, to find that it’s a woman. A fight ensues, during which the masked assassin displays a gang tattoo identical to the one on Marisela’s wrist. Soon enough, Ian Blake, who runs Titan with this sister Brynn, gives Marisela and Frankie a new assignment: Find out who is after the Congressman, and why.

It’s clear from the opening scene that the motive is revenge, but the ‘who’ and ‘why’ are questions that must be solved during the investigation. This novel, while labeled “Romance,” is really much more of an action-packed thriller, which should give the author a much wider readership. There is an undercurrent of tension among the characters, but it’s hardly the driving force of the novel, and that works out just fine. The female characters are strong, competent, and independent without being harsh or bitchy caricatures. None of them have to rely on a man for rescue. And all of them, assassin included, have complex and sympathetic backgrounds, making their choices and current circumstances understandable. It isn’t necessary to have read the first novel in the series, DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, but once you meet Marisela, you won’t be able to resist. I hope to see much more of her.

Rating: 8
September 2006
ISBN# 1-4165-0163-0 (paperback)


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