Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Perfect 10:

STOLEN - Shiloh Walker A Perfect 10
Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0-345-53190-2
November 2012
Romantic Suspense

Alaska - Present Day

Shay Morgan has dealt with nightmares all of her life, but shortly after an accident that almost takes her life, they start getting worse. Even more disturbing is the nightmarish turn her waking hours have taken. A visit to the lone bookstore in her small town sends her world into a spin when she sees autographed copies of Shane Neil's latest book. She knows that Elliot Winter, the store's owner, is a fan—that's something you learn about a person you dated for a year. They broke up when Shay couldn't share any of her horrific past with him, and while Shay misses him every day, she plans to keep her past private. She never even told him that she's Shane Neil, his favorite author. Being Shane Neil though, she knows for a fact that the author has never signed books in Elliot's store, so she needs to figure out who did.

That's only the beginning of her new nightmare, though, as Shay realizes that “Shane Neil” has set up pages on several social media sites. Shay is reclusive for a reason, and she has no intention of letting people get to know her. In fact, choosing a male name for her pseudonym was meant to hide her identity even more. But when the imposter posts libelous information about Elliot, Shay knows she has to be a little more proactive in her actions to stop this person. Enough of her life has been taken from her, Shay's not about to let anyone take any more—especially not if it hurts Elliot in the process.

STOLEN is an absolutely riveting suspense story. Between the accident that left Shay in a coma for a week and the nightmares the accident has somehow stirred up, she's feeling a little fragile right now. Shay has no memory of the first four years of her life, only glimpses of a closet and blood and screaming, but since coming home from the hospital after her recent accident, she's remembering more. Learning that someone is stealing her identity and all she's worked for makes her furious—enough to push past the nightmares and the loneliness to fight. Elliot could tell there was something bad in Shay's past, and he tried to be patient, but after a year of pursuit and another year of dating, he was frustrated by her lack of trust. When she finally opens up about her secret career, six months after they broke up, he isn't sure what to believe—after all, he's already met someone who is claiming to be Shane Neil. When it becomes clear that “Shane” is coming after both of them, Elliot knows that he'll do whatever it takes to protect Shay.

Being vulnerable from recent events only makes having someone impersonate her all the more terrifying for Shay, yet we also get to see the survivor inside. As her past is slowly revealed, readers get a chance to see the strong woman Shay is, even as she hides herself, not only from danger but from the world in general. As reclusive as she is, Shay can't imagine who could know enough about her to pull this off. Yet, even as she thinks she has things figured out, Shay's world will be rocked once again, and readers will be left guessing as to what the truth really is. Between the compelling characters and a story so gripping that I couldn't put it down, I'm awarding STOLEN a Perfect 10, and highly recommend it.

Jennifer Bishop

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