Saturday, August 14, 2010

Arty -- Love Me If You Must by Nicole Young

If you read my earlier post on Kiss, you know I don't like Christian adult authors, except for some exceptions. Nicole Young is now an exception.

"A run-down Victorian to renovate, a past to leave behind--who has time for romance...or murder?" Patricia "Tish" Amble has just moved to the small town of Rawlings, and she thinks she's finally got her life together. The police aren't on her, she's nicely isolated in her new fixer-upper - everything seems to be falling into place.

Then she meets her two neighbors - handsome Brit David, and rugged policeman Brad. And both of them want more than a friendly neighborship. Did I mention that Brad's a policeman? So Tish stays away from him in favor of the more elegant David.

But there's more to the old Victorian house than Tish knows. Faces appear, and voices come out of nowhere. The high point of the hijinks is the body she thinks she sees in the basement cistern. But when she gets the police to look... there's nothing there. They tell her it was a trick of the light. Tish isn't so sure.

To say any more would give away a lot of the surprises in Love Me. Suffice it to say that there are murders, scandals, doppelgangers, and a lot of lovely confrontations with the said love triangle.

Love Me is written in first-person, which is a definite plus. Tish's sometimes wry, sometimes manic, sometimes naive voice is consistent (and very, very amusing at times). The characters are all more than they seem - I can't remember more than one or two people who didn't have ulterior motives, and the ones that didn't were very minor.

As a mystery, the story falls a little flat. There are no brilliant revelations, no stunning red herrings, no shocking betrayals. But, just as a suspenseful, interesting novel, it shines - at least among adult novels. I especially enjoyed the ending - to say anything except that it was utterly different would spoil a surprise.

There are two more books in the Patricia Amble Mysteries series, with equally interesting titles: Kill Me If You Can and Kiss Me If You Dare. I'm waiting to get them from the library, but I've heard that Kill Me ends on a cliffhanger. Definitely a series to watch.

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