Monday, July 9, 2012

Review - - First Do No Evil


First Do No Evil
Blood Secrets #1
By Carey Baldwin
Publisher:  Samhain
Release Date:  June 26, 2012





First Do No Evil by Carey Baldwin hits all the right notes in a compelling, superbly written romantic suspense thriller that grabbed me from the beginning and still hasn’t let go more than two weeks after I turned the final page. 

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!

~PJ

13 comments:

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    1. Plenty of WOW moments in this one, Mina!

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  2. Sounds like a terific start to a wonderful new series; Thanks, PJ!

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    1. Flora, it's one of the best romantic suspense books I've read in quite a while.

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  3. This is another one waiting on my Kindle for the first days after I escape the deadline demons. I need to stop reading your reviews, PJ. They make me more impatient to get to these books. LOL

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    1. Set aside an entire day, Janga. This is one of those books that will not let you walk away until the final page!

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  4. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of FDNE from Carey and I'm so glad I did because it was a Fantastic book! I agree with your review completely PJ, especially as regards the villian. This sociopathic type of villian without conscience or soul really is the scariest type for me because they don't care for anyone or anything except themselves, and how can you possibly connect or get through to someone like that? Oftentimes,the villian's identity doesn't get revealed until the end, but Carey revealing it early didn't lessen the impact one iota. Instead, like you said, it heightens the tensions and stakes because it make you want to shake the hero and heroine to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    I can't wait for Carey's next book, and I'm hoping Dann'y brother Christian eventually gets his own book too! :)

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    1. That's the really scary part, Lisa. You can't connect with someone like that. It's like Ted Bundy was. He felt nothing for all those girls he murdered and completely justified in his actions.

      I'm with you on wanting Christian's story. I sure hope Carey has something planned for him!

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    2. Ah Christian. He was my first ever hero. My under-the-bed all-fun romp manuscript about a lovers' reunion courtesy of reality tv featured Christian. Aunt Faith is the star of book #2 in this series. But you never know. Christian could get a new story. Twist of Fate is far too light-hearted to serve :-) Thanks PJ for an awesome warm fuzzy and lovely review! And thanks to Lisa for her kind words!

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    3. Glad to hear Faith will get her own story. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better!

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  5. PJ, this book sounds fab! I must get hold of it. Thanks for letting me know about it - it had passed under my radar. Isn't it wonderful when we hit a new author we love? I discovered one on the weekend. Jeannie Lin who writes books set in Tang Dynasty China. Someone here recommended them so I gave The Dragon and the Pearl a go. What a great read!

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  6. Sounds like a great thriller, PJ! Terrific review!

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  7. Don't you just love a book that has the power to leave you reeling days after you've closed the cover? I've had a few of those this past year that are still with me. A very moving experience! :)

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