First Do No Evil
Blood Secrets #1
By Carey Baldwin
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Dr. Skylar Novak has had more than enough tragedy in her life. Her mother died of breast cancer when Skylar was a young girl. If that wasn’t bad enough, her father was murdered during a home invasion when she was a teen. But now, fifteen years later, she's settled into a good, if unexciting, life. She’s planning her wedding to the man with whom she runs a medical clinic serving the disadvantaged of Flagstaff, Arizona, her older brother has just formulated a vaccine that shows promise for preventing the type of breast cancer that killed their mother and Sky has finally started to put the horrific events of that Halloween night fifteen years ago behind her. As she awakens Halloween morning with “a premonition of happiness,” you just know that fate is about to deal her another blow.
Flagstaff Detective Sergeant Daniel “Danny” Benson is one of the good guys. A widower with a young teen daughter, he’s strong, protective, sexy and a bit of an outlaw at heart. When he and Sky meet while waiting for a local coffee shop to open, it’s instant chemistry but she informs him she’s meeting her brother and fiancé for breakfast and Danny doesn’t poach on another man’s woman – even if he’s certain that Sky isn’t in love with the man she's planning to marry. Then a robber enters the picture and events take a startling and tragic turn. One person leaves the café in a body bag; three others in ambulances and life, for all of them, will never be the same.
Three months later, just as Sky is beginning to come to terms with the latest loss in her life, Danny shows up with an outrageous theory. He believes the robbery was in fact staged to cover up a premeditated murder and that Sky or her brother, or both, were the intended targets and could still be in danger. He's the only one who believes that though and needs Sky to help him prove or disprove it. Even though she's still fascinated by the sexy detective, Sky thinks his theories are ridiculous and wants no part of the investigation but when certain facts come to light, she begins to wonder if perhaps he could be right. She agrees to help, sending them hurtling down a path filled with danger...and desire.
If I had not already known that this book is Baldwin's debut, I would have thought she was a veteran author with many published novels under her belt. This book is that well written. The characters are realistic, well drawn and easy to relate to. The story is fast paced, filled with suspense and has enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The villain is seriously scary; a person with no conscience, no sense of remorse and a complete sense of justification for heinous actions all hidden behind a charming mask that's presented to the world at large. The fact that Baldwin reveals the identity of the killer early, allowing us to watch the interaction between killer and victims and giving us a window into the killer's thoughts, makes that person's actions even more chilling and kept me frantically flipping pages long into the night. Sky and Danny are characters who deserve a happy ending and had me pulling for them from the beginning. Sky's personal journey is particularly rewarding and Danny is my favorite kind of hero. Some of the violence is pretty graphic but not gratuitous. As a reader, I wouldn't have felt the same impact had Ms. Baldwin not shown us the full extent of the killer's evil. (I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to stuff like this so the fact that I liked this book so much is another testament to the author's superb writing skill.)
I highly recommend First Do No Evil and am already anticipating the next book from this very talented author!