Declan’s Cross by Carla Neggers

CROSS
Declan’s Cross by Carla Neggers
Publisher: Harlequin / Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (314 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

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.

Declan’s Cross, like the other Sharpe and Donovan novels, is a riveting, suspense-filled romance with complex characters that have secrets from the past that influence much of the action.

FBI special agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are in Ireland for R&R. Their relationship is an undercurrent that bubbles up often to keep the reader wondering how two people with so many secrets can ever make a love match even though sexual attraction and a unique love connection draws them to each other.

Author Carla Neggers lures the reader into the Irish community, making one feel, see, smell, taste, and hear the things the characters are experiencing. The beautiful green landscape and breathtaking rainbows, the cold rain and gusty winds, the warm fire in open fireplaces and in the whiskey are woven into the suspense to keep the reader firmly on the emerald green island and near the sea that roars and crashes against the rocks. It seems the setting that ranges from harsh to beautiful parallels the action.

Julianne Maroney, a friend of the agents, comes to Declan’s Cross to help her new friend Lindsey Hargreaves set up a marine science research facility while she tries to recover from being “dumped” by the love of her life Andy Donovan, Colin’s brother. She, Emma and Colin become involved in a police case when her friend Lindsey goes missing. The suspense, mystery, danger, tidbits of information, and the clues form a web with filaments that reach all the way back to Heron’s Cove and Rock Point, Maine.

The only-once-seen Lindsey Hargreaves is a driving force throughout the story as is the never-once-seen art thief that has plagued the Sharpe family for over a decade. Other characters that appear in HERON’S COVE and SAINT’S GATE are woven into Declan’s Cross at just the right times and places. Even if the reader has not read these two previous books of this series, the characters fit in with ease as vivid and life-like as one can imagine. Their unique personalities and their contributions to the rising action add to the spine-tingling suspense, the subtle humor, and the strong undercurrent of love that has a firm grip on more than one couple in the story.

Sean Murphy and his Uncle Paddy add a touch of mystery as well as a peek into their uniquely Irish characteristics that make them memorable. Kitty Doyle and her son Philip add another touch of Irish. They very much live in the present yet call up much of a hurtful past. Emma’s grandfather Wendell Sharpe and her brother Lucas of the Sharpe’s Art Recovery do their share to add to the ever present thread in the story about the uncaught art thief that thwarts the Sharpes. He or she just might be involved in the case at Declan’s Cross.

Declan’s Cross, though replete with suspense, mystery, and danger, is a love story, actually more than one love story. Ms. Neggers takes strong, diverse personalities and conflicts galore, and weaves them together with amazing skill to create bonds of love that are tested and tried to the limit and found to be steady, true, and forever.

The unique flavor of Carla Negger’s stories is one to be savored. I would invite you to enjoy them all. Declan’s Cross is one of the best of them.

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