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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
Karen Robards honed her writing muscles turning out steamy historic romances that consistently stood out from the rest of the pack. When she later turned her eye toward contemporary romantic suspense, her old fans followed and legions of new ones flooded in, boosting Robards to the top of bestseller lists everywhere. She aptly demonstrates the talent that got her there in Paradise County, her latest tale of sizzling (in this case, in the most literal sense) suspense.
Alexandra, the eldest daughter of billionaire Charles Haywood, arrives at her father's Kentucky horse farm to settle his estate after learning he has committed suicide. Alex also learns that her father's fortune is gone and that all of his assets must be sold in order to pay outstanding debts. Settling into the centuries-old family home, Alex sets about her duty, which includes giving notice to Joe Welch, the hunky farm manager who lives on a neighboring ranch. But Alex is unprepared for Joe's determination to keep his position, given that he has three teenaged kids to raise and a fairly ironclad contract. The sparks of ire triggered by their confrontation quickly ignite some serious flames of passion.
The pastoral horse farm setting that earned Paradise County its name is ironically deceptive, as there is a deranged serial killer on the loose, one with a penchant for burning his victims alive. And he is much, much closer to Alex than she could possible imagine. When Alexandra's teenaged half-sister, Neely, shows up at the farm, Alex and Joe find their hands full of more than each other. Four teenagers full of raging hormones and eager to explore life keep them plenty busy. Not to mention their own pitiful attempts to resist each other. But things escalate to a much more serious level when Joe's eldest son and Neely both disappear. They are in the clutches of the killer, their fate resting on Neely's quick wits and the actions of a curious cat.
Although the graphic nature of the crimes committed may offend those with tender sensibilities, Robards's latest is undoubtedly a page-turner of the highest order. The sex is hot and the flames of passion leap high, as do the flames set by the crazed killer. But to keep things in balance, Robards provides plenty of chilling moments (including some ghostly interludes) to occasionally cool things down.
Beth Amos is the author of several novels, including Second Sight and Cold White Fury.