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.

Book Talk Tuesday: In Harm’s Way

When a friend first recommended Irene Hannon, she said In Harm’s Way was the best one she’d read. I chose to start with the first in the Heroes of Quantico series. This is the better book, but I’m not sorry I started with Book One. I skipped Book Two even though I’m sure it’s excellent also. I just have a limit to how much time and money I can spend reading. In Harms WayFrom what I can tell, the books are loosely related (crossover characters) but do not need to be read in order. Come on, they’re romances. As I read book one, I knew which character would be the protagonist of book two. Book three featured him and his wife in supporting roles. Because this is romantic suspense, you can be sure the hero and heroine are going to end up together, so skipping book two didn’t “ruin” anything for me. If book two crosses my path, I’ll read it. Anyhoo…


  I did buy Hannon’s newest book, Vanished, and it’s in my To Be Read Stack (affectionately known as Mt. TBR).

But about In Harm’s Way …

Rachel Sutton finds a dingy doll in a restaurant parking lot, covered in snow and ice. She digs it out because she imagines the child who lost the doll is inconsolable. But when she plucks it from the ice, terror races down her spine. She knows it sounds crazy to say she’s getting “vibes” from a doll but the feelings are so strong she’s compelled to take the doll to the local FBI office.

Special Agent Nick Bradley would like to write off Rachel’s story as being from a kook. But he witnesses her physical reaction and sees that she’s rational and uneasy herself about being labeled either a psychic or a nut.

Neither Rachel nor Nick foresee how that doll will figure into their lives and how it relates to an abducted infant hundreds of miles away.

I enjoyed this one a lot. The writing is great. I was concerned about the “psychic” element but Hannon offers a perfectly reasonable explanation and the incidents continue throughout the story. Well done! I may have to move Vanished to the top of the stack.