Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Spotlight Review: THE GIFT by Deb Stover
THE GIFT - Deb Stover
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Present Day Brubaker, Tennessee
Is it a gift or a curse? Whatever you call it, it allowed empathic Chicago Homicide Detective Elizabeth Dearborn to solve every case she handled. But reliving every victim's violent death drove Beth to drink or go mad. She quit the force, dried out, and went to work for Memphis-based Avery Mutual Insurance as a fraud investigator. On the way to determine if the company must pay out a hefty sum to the husband of a missing wife, or if the woman is alive somewhere, Beth's old car has a flat tire. A tall, hunky rural type, who tops Beth's own nearly six foot height, stops to give her a hand.
Town gossip and some slight evidence might suggest that Lorilee Brubaker-Malone ran off to Europe with a lover seven years ago, but her husband Ty is convinced she is dead. Lorilee would never, ever leave her babies. However, no body has ever been found. The time has come to find out the truth, so Ty asks to have her declared dead.
When Beth arrives at the Malone farmhouse, she gets two surprises. One is realizing the libido-stirring man who changed her tire is the husband of the missing woman. The other is the terrifying feeling of being attacked and beaten as she enters the house's foyer. The house is old and has had many inhabitants; Beth has no way of knowing whose death she's reliving before she passes out.
Driven by both characters and plot, THE GIFT is a real treat. Beth is stronger than she knows. She's alone in the world except for a cousin who inherited his own "gift." Ty is a man of the earth, a loving father, and wholly attractive. I hadn't read Deb Stover in a while before being assigned this review. I must say that her writing has matured. The mutual attraction of this hero and heroine is enriched by being equally as strong in its mental as in its physical aspects.
Minor characters are vivid as well. Beth's cousin Sam should have his own book. The people who make up Ty's household, from the house's Pearl and farm's Cecil to Ty's three children, are likable and lifelike. The rest of the cast you'll need to meet yourself.
For a novel of suspense, warmth and sensuality, and with an intriguing premise leading to a poignant conclusion, I highly recommend THE GIFT.