Beguiled, by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand (Bethany House, 2010)
Rylee Monroe is a dog-walker and pet-sitter for the elite in Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately she’s also a key suspect in a rash of thefts by the “Robin Hood burglar,” since most of the victims happen to be her clients.
Journalist Logan Woods wants an inside scoop on the burglar for his paper, but it’s even more important for the book he’s writing on local criminals.
The two meet when one of Rylee’s charges mistakes Logan for an attacker and chases him. Despite first impressions, the two team up to catch the thief, since the police don’t seem to be making much headway. But faced with a growing attraction, can Rylee and Logan trust the other’s motives?
The authors deliver a page-turning mystery that’s not too scary to read before bed. The one problem might be putting it down to get your sleep. I’m unfamiliar with Charleston, but they claim to have reproduced the South of Broad neighbourhood with only very few touches of artistic license.
Rylee, Logan and their friends are sympathetic characters that I was rooting for from the beginning. The opposition is strong as well, and interesting.
I chose this book because of the back-cover blurb, before seeing the cover art. Based on sight and title, I’d have passed it up as a straight romance and missed a good read. (Not that romances aren’t good reads! I just like something extra thrown in.)
Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand are each novelists in their own right. Deeanne’s most recent historical romance is A Bride in the Bargain, and Mark’s first crime novel, Back on Murder, releases July 2010. Beguiled is their first collaboration, and I hope they’ll do more.
Beguiled is available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. For reviews, audio and video interviews and all kinds of reader tidbits, visit the Beguiled page at Bethany House. You can read an excerpt here, or if you’ve already read it you may want to check out the discussion questions here.