Legacy of Lies, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson (Love Inspired Suspense, 2010)
When recently-widowed Nicole Keller-Mattson moves in with her elderly grandmother in small-town Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to discover an infant’s bones that will reopen a 50-year-old investigation and incriminate the grandparents she’s always loved and admired.
Police chief Rich Hendricks is already swamped with a spate of robberies and no clues in sight, but he needs to see justice done for the baby’s family… even though they’re a dysfunctional and secretive brood who’d like to see him fail.
Nicole is the first woman Rich has noticed since his wife died, but she’s determined not to marry another cop. And if he has to arrest her grandmother, forget the chances of a relationship.
Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a strong suspense writer who has proven herself able to craft longer novels (with her “To Catch a Thief” series) and although I’ve followed her to Love Inspired, it limits her scope. Despite the smaller word count and the genre-specific need to focus on the hero and heroine’s mutual attraction that faces insurmountable obstacles, she delivers richly-crafted characters, a complex suspense plot, and some fun and fresh writing.
Take this description, where she doesn’t stop with telling us Nicole’s sensation but expands until we feel it too: “Nicole’s skin crawled as if tiny bugs scampered across her flesh.” (p. 106)
And the way Nicole describes one of the other characters: “Fern’s a good half a bubble off-centre…” (p. 156) If you’ve never used a carpenter’s level you might miss that one, but it’s new to me and I liked it.
Legacy of Lies is a hard novel to put down. Most of the chapters end with a stakes-raising twist that will have you reading the next page before you know it.
Love Inspired books only stay on store shelves for the month of release, but you can order them as paperbacks, large-print paperbacks, or ebooks through the major online retailers.
You can learn more about Jill Elizabeth Nelson at her website. To get a feel for Legacy of Lies, check out this excerpt. I’ve reviewed some of her previous books: Reluctant Burglar and Reluctant Smuggler.
Watch for her newest title, Season of Danger, with Christy-Award-winning author Hannah Alexander, releasing November 29, 2011. From the Amazon listing, it looks like the book has two short novellas, one from each author: Silent Night, Deadly Night and Mistletoe Mayhem.