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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sight Unseen

****½ Sight Unseen by Samantha Graves. Romantic suspense.

I got this book for the Cherry Forums Book Club discussion, to which I actually contributed--my usual reticence got overruled by the fact that I was nominally "in charge" of the discussion. Which is archived here if you're interested.

Raven Callahan is blessed (or cursed) with the gift of psychometry--that is, she can read the history of an object by touching it. It comes in handy in her job: recovering and authenticating stolen artwork.

Dax Maddox was a cop, until a burglary left his partner dead and himself no longer able to see color. Now he's searching for the thief responsible. He knows it wasn't Raven, but he'd caught her casing the same place the unknown thief hit, and now they're after the same painting.

The Raven's colleague is kidnapped, and Raven has to steal a priceless painting as ransom, and she and Dax are forced to work together.

Sight Unseen is fast-paced and exciting, and I don't normally pay much attention to settings, but they go to Cuba in their pursuit, and that was pretty darn fascinating. The suspense plot is nicely convoluted, with some twists I didn't expect, and the romance develops along with the suspense plot. There's also personal growth and change--it hits the mark on all three things I look for in a romantic suspense.

I enjoyed both Raven and Dax, and it was a nice switch to have a bad-girl heroine (she's not the only bad-girl heroine I've ever read, but the bad boys vastly outnumber the bad girls in this genre). Raven's adventurous spirit was infectious, and her aloneness and discomfort with her gift made her sympathetic. Dax was damaged and guilty, but he was also honorable and determined. It was wonderful watching both of them become more at ease with themselves and heal emotionally.

The secondary characters, too, were interesting and three-dimensional. I loved Raven's young protégé Paulie, who I'm thrilled to hear will also make an appearance in the next book. The villains, too, were fleshed out, with believable actions, and more motive than "he's a bad guy."

I'm not going to reveal the romantic climax (heh--not that kind of climax), but I will say that it was one of the loveliest I've ever read--entirely specific to these two characters, and with layers of meaning. I'd read the book again just for that scene, even if I didn't love the rest of the story.

I can't wait for Out of Time next summer, but in the meantime, I think I'll be checking out her work as C. J. Barry. I know there's at least one of her books in my TBR pile.


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I know...you raves about this book, and I will get it soon. Sound like a good book :)
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