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Thursday, 5 September 2013

SWEET AND DEADLY & A SECRET RAGE by Charlaine Harris

Two heroines. Two Southern towns. Two blistering crime novels.
From the bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries.
 
A Secret Rage When Nickie moves back to the sleepy Southern town of Knolls after years modelling in New York, she's looking forward to a quiet, simple life. But the women of Knolls are not safe. Recovering from a brutal attack, Nickie resolves to track down the culprit. And as the crimes escalate to murder, time is running out. . .
 
Sweet and Deadly
Catherine has returned to her hometown of Lowfield, Mississipi, convinced that the death of her parents was no accident. When she stumbles across the dead body of her father's long-time colleague, her suspicions are confirmed. As she investigates, she realises that there are secrets being kept in Lowfield. Secrets that are making people turn up dead. . .
 
 
I'm a HUGE Charlaine Harris fan, so when I found out two of her earliest books were being released as an omnibus I wanted to check them out...
 
SWEET AND DEADLY
 
Catherine Linton goes out one morning for a little target practice when she stumbles upon the dead body of a woman hidden inside a rundown shack. She reports the murder and an investigation begins. But Lowfield is a very small town and she knows the dead woman. She also soon realises that whoever is responsible for this murder is probably someone she's known most of her life. Someone with a secret dark enough to continue killing...
 
I have to admit that while I enjoyed this book overall, it took me a while to get into it. The writing style wasn't as smooth as her other books, and Catherine wasn't as likeable as her other heroines. Maybe it was because Charlaine Harris writes such awesome first-person POVs that this one felt a little, I don't know...dull. It's missing the excitement and intrigue of her other heroines--Sookie Stackhouse, Roe Teagarden, Lily Bard, Harper Connelly--plus the big reveal wasn't as shocking as I hoped.
 
Even though it's not as memorable as her other characters and doesn't have the charm of the other small towns she's written about, I'm still glad I read it. Besides, I think this was her first published novel. You gotta start somewhere, right? ;)
 
 
A SECRET RAGE 
 
Nickie Callahan is a former model living in New York, but when her career seems to be over she decides to move to the college town of Knolls, Tennessee with her best friend, Mimi Houghton. She enrols into college and is determined to eventually pursue her career as a writer. But the quiet town isn't as peaceful as it seems. A college student was raped before Nickie got there, and then the same thing happens to her faculty adviser, Barbara Tucker. Things go from bad to worse when Nickie becomes the next victim and is attacked in her own home. The shocking violation leaves her physically and mentally scarred, frightened, damaged, and full of rage.
 
This isn't a book for anyone who might be squeamish about confronting the aftermath of rape and what it can do to a person. How it slowly turns Nickie and Barbara from victims, into women bonded by this tragedy and determined to figure out who dared to scar their lives in the most awful way possible.
 
The story was suspenseful, shrouded in mystery as every man in Knolls becomes a suspect. Nickie and Barbara start crossing names off their lists, and start to realise their attacker is probably someone they see every day.
 
I really, really enjoyed this book! Nickie was a very likeable character from the very beginning, so when she's attacked and I'd gotten a chance to get to know her, it really hit hard. I felt for her and went through the motions of her recovery. She's a strong character who, in spite of the harsh encounter that will impact her life forever, is determined not to let it stop her life. She continues to study, to go on at her own pace... There's even a spark of romance, which is encouraging to see during a time when her belief in men is at its lowest.
 
This was an excellent book that'll keep you guessing until the end!
 
Sweet and Deadly & A Secret Rage turned out to be a great omnibus. The first story wasn't as intriguing as I'd hoped, but the second one certainly made up for it. Being a Charlaine Harris fan, I'm really glad I got the chance to read where her writing journey began. Thanks, Hachette! :)
 
 
Sweet and Deadly & A Secret Rage, July 2013, ISBN  9781409129196, Orion Fiction

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