From Merrimon Book Reviews
by Sharon Sala
and Colleen Thompson
DEADLIER THAN MALE
teams up two unique voices in romantic suspense, Colleen Thompson and
Sharon Sala, in spine-chilling short stories featuring wicked female
characters. So wicked and devious are these women that the danger
spirals deeper and deeper as they plot against two different
couples. In both stories, danger has the possibility to destroy
romance or bring couples closer together.... if they live long enough
to survive the threat to their lives!
In Sharon Sala's "The Fiercest Heart," high school sweethearts Haley
Shore and Mack Brolin reunite after 10 years. They had promised
to wait for each other when Mack went away to college, but a car
accident and the death of Haley's brother intervened. Now, the
death of Haley's father and a terse announcement of his funeral summon
Haley back to her hometown. Will Haley and Mack be able to
rediscover the love they once had? Someone seems determined to
keep them apart at any cost. Will Haley finally be able to stand
up against the past?
In "The Fiercest Heart," Sharon Sala writes a suspenseful story about
young love maturing in the face of danger and outside pressure,
maturing enough to finally be able to stand up against the forces
against them. The suspense lies not in the identity of the person
plotting against them which the author reveals quite early but rather
in the devious and outrageous lengths to which the person goes.
As troubling as the villain is the town's inability to stand up for
Haley as a youth. As the danger becomes more and more insideous,
Mack and Haley are tested beyond their wildest dreams--- tested in ways
that make them both stand up and free themselves of the past. At
heart, "The Fiercest Heart" is a second chance romance in which danger
provokes the psychological growth needed for their love to survive.
In Colleen Thompson's "Lethal Lessons," elementary school teacher
Mara Stillwell escapes to Red Bluff, Arizona hoping to free herself of
the past but the past has a way of following a person. Adam
Jakes, her older brother's best friend, has a daughter Rebecca as a
student in her class. The death of her mother haunts
Rebecca. Rumors and warnings about Adam abound in this small
western town, but Mara finds herself trusting the man, a man who, when
he was much younger, used to set her heart afire. As Mara tries
to help Rebecca, will Mara place her trust in the wrong person?
Will the love growing between Mara and Adam be able to survive the
danger or will the past finally catch up to them?
"Lethal Lessons" is a chilling tale of romance and suspense as past and
setting merge to inflame the passions of a vicious villain. As in
her previous works, Colleen Thompson brilliantly makes use of setting
to bring out the inner demons and compassion of her characters.
In the small town of Red Bluff, from the tighter environment of home
and work, a threat emerges in the least expected place. Rumors
have more effect and positions of authority can be used to the
detriment of individuals. As the dark secrets of the heart
emerge, the danger escalates, but so does the possibility of romance,
and a compassion that grows from the conflict, a compassion that
transforms all those around the couple. Romantic suspense fans
will relish the clever and fun echoes of past classics to which Colleen
Thompson pays homage. A brilliant twist!
As well as the enjoyment of each individual tale, DEADLIER THEN MALE is
even more richly enjoyed by the pairing of the two individual
stories. Read in the context of the other story, the finer
nuances of each emerges through contrast and comparison. Similar
themes in each, handled differently by each author, bring out the
individual voice of each. DEADLIER THEN MALE would make an
excellent book club choice for romantic suspense fans for exactly this
reason. Unfortunately, the publisher diminishes the brilliance of
the editor choice to pair these two particular stories and these two
particular authors by the difference of font size on the cover.
Whether you come to this book as a fan of Colleen Thompson or of Sharon
Sala, notice how the unique voice of each makes both stand out as quite
special. This reader certainly hopes to see more collaboration
between these two as well as their individual works! A keeper for
fans of romantic suspense!
Reviewed by Merrimon,
Merrimon Book Reviews