Broken Bonds Blog Tour and Review

Broken Bonds by Karen Harper
Publication date:December 30, 2014 by Mira
Source: e-galley provided by the publisher via Pump Up Your Book for an honest review
Description:
Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.


My Take:

Broken Bonds is the third book about the Lockwood sisters and Cold Creek. I have not read the other two books, so my review is of the book as a stand alone. Char Lockwood, the middle sister, has returned to her hometown of Cold Creek after some time spent in the Southwest. She is a social worker intent on helping the young children living on the edge of Appalachia.

There is a lot going on in this suspenseful novel. Char is the first person to arrive at the scene after Matt Rowan is almost pushed over a cliff by another truck - and not accidentally. Matt is a newcomer to the area, is manager of the new luxury Lake Azure properties  and has connections to Royce Flemming, the head of the fracking operation that is causing friction between the locals. Since some of the families are making lots of money by selling their land for the fracking and others are not benefiting from this new industry in the area, tensions are running high.

There is also a strange cult living on land nearby and the Lockwood sisters have a cousin who lives there. The leader of the cult seems dubious at best and extremely dangerous at worst. The sisters are concerned for their family with good reason.

Char and Matt hit it off right away, and while it seems a little too fast and abrupt to me, they become a team to be reckoned with - especially since someone seems to have it in for one - or both - of them. There are many possible culprits and so many possible motives, that it can get a bit convoluted.

I thought the book did a decent job of presenting the issues regarding fracking - not just environmental issues, but also ethical and social issues that can go along with this type of industry. The book also examines the poverty and lack of services for families living in remote areas. It took me a while to get into the story, but that may have to do with the fact that I hadn't read the earlier books. Also, the formatting of the e-galley I read was a bit distracting. I did get into the story once I was firmly into the main story line. I think that if you like romantic suspense novels, you might enjoy this book. I would suggest reading all three books in order though. I think I would have benefited from the background and the attachment to characters that comes with reading a series.

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Excerpt from Broken Bonds:


She started to get out until she saw the driver of the truck was really covered up for the weather. She could see through his windshield that he wore a ski mask, leaving only his eyes visible. He climbed down and started toward her truck, holding up his hands as if to apologize.
Could this be the man who nearly ran Matt off the cliff?
She turned the ignition back on, put the truck in Reverse, yanked the steering wheel and tried to back up to get some maneuvering room, but she was held tight by the tree, and her wheels spun. She laid on her horn, but saw no other vehicle on the road.
The man went back to his truck and returned, holding a metal carjack, the kind needed to change a flat tire. He walked now with swift, strong strides. She knew he was going to use it to smash her window. Was this guy desperate or crazy? They were on a public road in broad daylight.
She waited until he came close and raised the car jack. He hit the glass of the driver’s-side window, which only cracked on the first blow. She had to do the unexpected and fast, run for help. She’d seen a car parked at her childhood home if she could make it there. She dug in her big purse for her phone. Too much in here—couldn’t feel it. She had to go now or he’d have her!

In an instant, she unlocked her doors, tried to grab her heavy purse, but he reached for it, too, yanked it and tipped her toward him. She slid away from the steering wheel and clambered out the other side, forced to leave the purse, the phone. She had no illusions he just wanted the purse. She slipped to her knees in the ice-crusted snow, then clawed her way up and raced toward the trees.

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About the Author
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Broken Bonds, the third book in the Cold Creek Trilogy.
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