Publication date: August 27, 2013 by Harlequin Mira
Source: Publisher via Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. for an honest review
Description from Goodreads:
An escape to an idyllic Irish seaside village is about to turn deadly in this riveting new novel by master of romantic suspense Carla Neggers.
For marine biologist Julianne Maroney, two weeks in tiny Declan's Cross on the south Irish coast is a chance to heal her broken heart. She doesn't expect to attract the attention of FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan—especially since a Donovan is the reason for her broken heart.
Emma and Colin are in Ireland for their own personal retreat. Colin knows he's a reminder of everything Julianne wants to escape, but something about her trip raises his suspicion. Emma, an art crimes expert, is also on edge. Of all the Irish villages Julianne could choose…why Declan's Cross?
Ten years ago, a thief slipped into a mansion in Declan's Cross. Emma's grandfather, a renowned art detective, investigated, but the art stolen that night has never been recovered and the elusive thief never caught.
From the moment Julianne sets foot on Irish soil, everything goes wrong. The well-connected American diver who invited her to Ireland has disappeared. And now Emma and Colin are in Declan's Cross asking questions.
As a dark conspiracy unfolds amid the breathtaking scenery of Declan's Cross, the race is on to stop a ruthless killer…and the stakes have never been more personal for Emma and Colin.
I hadn't read the previous two books in the Sharpe & Donovan series, but since it takes place in Ireland and sounded like a fun story, I agreed to read and review Declan's Cross by Carla Neggers.
At first it took me a while to figure out the dynamics of the relationships between Julianne Maroney and Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe. It is obvious that there is quite a lot of back story here and it was a little bit daunting trying to wade through the story while trying to figure out exactly why Colin is so concerned about Julianne's actions. Is she a suspect in something? Why does he care? Why is it any of his business? Eventually, I just stopped trying to guess and just enjoyed the current story. As the book progresses, more of the blanks are filled in and I felt that I had a good grasp of the important information from the previous books.
Once I quit trying to piece together the main characters' history, I was able to enjoy the story and the beautiful desctiptions of Ireland. I really enjoyed reading about tiny Declan's Cross and all the interesting people who live there. As with most small towns, everyone knows pretty much everything about everyone else. It was a nice parallel to Rock Point where Julianne and Colin and the other Donovan brothers are from.
The mystery is regarding an art theft, but this theft may be related to another theft years earlier that the Sharpe Fine Art Recovery had worked but the crime remained unsolved. There are so many mysteries going on - not just the current art theft, or event the previous theft, but the motivations of various residents of Declan's Cross and what exactly their relationships are. There are also strange things and mysteries about Julianne's new friend, Lindsey Hargreaves. It is all very complicated and sometimes a bit confusing, but still fun. I enjoyed all the information about whiskey and farming and the lovely descriptions of the area, houses, farms, everything.
While I think it would be helpful to have read the previous books, I was sufficiently entertained and intrigued by the story and the characters that I really enjoyed Declan's Cross. In fact, I enjoyed the book enough that I will be looking for the previous books so that I can learn more about Emma and Colin and the other Donovan brothers. I am also very curious about Emma's grandfather and Sharpe Fine Art Recovery. I think I would suggest reading at least one of the previous books first, but I can happily recommend Declan's Cross as a very fine mystery with plenty of wonderful descriptions of Ireland.
About the author:
Carla Neggers has been spinning stories ever since she climbed a tree with pad and pen at age eleven. Now she has millions of copies of her books in print in more than 30 countries, and more than two dozen of her books have placed on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Declan’s Cross is the third novel in her acclaimed Sharpe & Donovan romantic suspense series that launched with Saint’s Gate and Heron’s Cove and has been praised as “a breathtaking reading experience” (Providence Journal), “gripping and suspenseful” (Nashua Telegraph), and “outstanding” (USA Today). Her popular Swift River Valley series debuted with Secrets of the Lost Summer, which spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnered rave reviews, including a starred review from Booklist and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews. Growing up in rural western Massachusetts with three brothers and three sisters, Carla developed an eye for detail and a love of a good story. Her imagination, curiosity and sense of adventure are key to creating the complex relationships, fast-paced plots and deep sense of place in her books.