Friday, January 20, 2017


Mystery / Suspense
Date Published: July 4, 2014
Publisher: Himmel River Press
A dead nun, a smart reporter, a surprising twist.
After receiving a mysterious message from a dead nun, journalist
Leah Nash reopens the investigation into her teenage sister’s death.
As she starts closing in on the answers, someone starts closing in
on her. Leah races down dangerous paths in this twisting tale
of hidden motives and long buried secrets—until she
finds the stunning truth.

Enjoyable, Very Well-written mystery!

Leah Nash is a reporter—and a darn good one, too, and when Sister Mattea is found dead, she doubts the official finding of accidental death. Especially since the nun dropped by to see her the week before this “accident” happened. What had she wanted to say? And did it concern what happened to Leah’s sister? Lacey’s death had also been ruled “accidental”. She’d been locked away in the DeMoss Academy, a school for troubled teens, when the death occurred. Leah never doubted the death was anything but what was purported, but now? Now everything’s changed, and if Lacey was murdered, Leah wants the killer behind bars.

DANGEROUS HABITS by Susan Hunter was an unexpectedly great surprise. Very intelligently written, it’s a complex story that you have no problem getting into. The characters are well-defined, but just as importantly, there’s an emotional spark running between them. It makes for great dialogue and good interaction.

Susan Hunter is an excellent writer. The story sings and a nice pacing is established as clues are revealed and plot twists come out of nowhere. And there are plenty of them in this story about retracing what happened to a troubled teen. Nothing in the story is derivative, and I doubt that anyone is going to figure this one out.

I did have two problems with this book. The first is one I have with a lot of fiction, and it’s this: either you have a real character or you have a fantasy one. If you have a real one, what happens has to conform to the physical laws of reality. In DANGEROUS HABITS, Leah Nash is a real one, replete with hopes, dreams, flaws, and heroic flights of fancy. She’s amazing, but there’s no way she could have survived what occurs. The other is that she’s so convinced that she’s right that there’s never a doubt—not even after she’s proven wrong again and again. Wouldn’t there be at least a little bit of hesitancy in thinking someone else guilty? I thought there should be. Anyway, both of these points pulled me out of the story, and turned what could have been a sensational read into a very good one.

The ending itself is satisfying -- and that makes up for a lot. It's both logical and surprising. No, I didn’t guess the killer, and thanks to Ms. Nash for cleverly concealing the identity. Because of all the above, I can highly recommend the story—and author—to mystery readers. I’m giving it a 4.1.


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