Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dirty Little Secrets - Julie Leto

Dirty Little Secrets
Julie Leto
Downtown Press

Romantic Suspense/Thriller

At 28, Marisela Morales has already lived a lifetime. As a teenager, she was part of a street gang called las Reinas. After winning her independence by literally fighting her way out of the gang, she found a bail bondsman willing to give her a chance and a job tracking down bail jumpers. But a nasty little altercation resulted in Marisela’s losing her license to carry a gun, ending her employment. Now she’s looking for a new job and a fresh start. She’s about to get her wish, in a big way.

Francisco (Frankie) Vega was Marisela’s teenage love. Now he’s in a whole different place in his life, too. The DEA recruited Frankie as an informant while he did a stint in prison. He found he had an aptitude for the work and continued his undercover life. Now, fate is throwing Frankie and Marisela together again. In fact, Marisela, as a personal favor to Frankie’s parents, is making sure that he doesn’t jump bail on his latest arrest. Her methods are original, to say the least.

Ian Blake, head of Titan International, recruits Marisela and Frankie to handle a missing child case. This is not your average parental kidnapping. The mother is from old Boston money. The father is Puerto Rican, and an international arms dealer. He kidnapped the girl when she was a toddler, and has moved through Central and South America to avoid the authorities. Frankie and Marisela must infiltrate the operation, get close enough to gain the girl’s trust, and get her out safely. In one week.

This is that most entertaining type of romantic suspense story. It’s unique, features strong, original characters, and a lot of action. While there’s plenty of tension between various characters, the real story is Marisela. She’s a great character, a real kick-ass heroine who, while undeniably feminine, can take care of herself and everyone around her. In this genre, it’s not often that the main characters are truly flawed. The author pulls it off perfectly, detailing the realities of their previous lives, and allowing them to make the tough choices along the way. The narrative is fast paced, the action sequences well written, and the plot features some interesting twists. The sequel, DIRTY LITTLE LIES, is available now, so watch this space.

Rating: 7 ½
June 2005
1-4165-0162-2 (trade paperback)


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