Book Talk Tuesday: Irene Hannon

I’ve read two Irene Hannon books recently.

That Certain Summer

First up was That Certain Summer. It represents a return to Irene’s roots as a contemporary romance writer before she turned to suspense.

It was good.

I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.

It’s about two sisters, long … not estranged, but certainly not close. Karen was the good sister who married young, stayed in town, and cared for her parents in spite of her mother’s constant fault-finding and comparisons to Val.

Val escaped town at graduation and never looked back, partly to escape her mother’s criticism and partly to leave behind a nightmare.

The story picks up about seventeen years later. Karen’s husband has just left her. She’s struggling to get by as a single mom. Val lives in Chicago where she teaches drama to high schoolers and makes extra money modeling. Their mother has a stroke and needs more help than Karen can manage so she calls her sister.

The story is well done, but I never really connected with either sister. Karen was a bit of a door mat, even after she woke up and started standing up for herself. Val’s story seemed more issue-driven, then rooted in Val herself. That’s a fine distinction and not one most readers would pick up on, other than to leave vaguely dissatisfied with the resolution.

On the other hand, Fatal Judgment was very good. I liked it from beginning to end. I think Irene’s talents definitely are in the suspense arena. FatalJudgement

Jake Taylor can’t believe it when his next U.S. Marshal job is to provide protection for federal judge Elizabeth Michaels. Liz was married to Jake’s best friend until Doug died, possibly driven to suicide by his cold, career –driven wife. Or so Jake always thought.

As Jake gets to know Liz, he discovers she’s a lot more than he’d thought. And he enjoys her company.

There’s a subplot about anti-government groups that I found completely plausible. For suspense readers, I recommend this one! The story is great, the pacing excellent, and the writing is well done. This one’s a keeper.