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The Private Concierge
The Private Concierge
by Suzanne Forster

Subtle, chilling web of suspense framed by the passions beneath the surface.

When former police officer Rick Bayless discovers that his longtime friend Ned Talbert's death has been ruled a murder-suicide, Rick's determination to reveal the truth behind the shocking scandalous crime leads him back to the past and a woman from his past, the woman he had arrested as juvenile. Back then, he knew she was trouble. Lane Chandler's company The Private Concierge caters to every whim of the rich and famous. Already trying to douse the scandals set off by some of her prominent clients, the last thing she needs is another scandal. When her newest client is found dead, Lane is on a mission to save her company before anyone discovers Ned Talbert's connection to The Private Concierge. When Rick Bayless starts poking his nose into the crime, Lane's troubles only get worse. One word from Rick about the secrets of her past will destroy everything she has worked so hard to build. As an attraction builds between them, will it destroy them? As they seek to protect friends and clients, will their attraction unearth the past? Will the hunt for the truth expose their vulnerabilities?

Suzanne Forster's THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE is a masterpiece of characterization. Not only are Rick and Lane two fascinating characters, but the stories of Lane's clients fascinate as well. On the surface Rick presents himself as a tough guy, a former police officer hardened by what he has seen in the lives of the juveniles he has prosecuted. As the story develops, his devotion to his friend Ned draws the reader into the deeper undercurrents and loyalties beneath the surface while his relationship to the mouse in his home provides an eclectic sense of humor, compassion and friendship. Having built her company into a concierge service with the most impeccable reputation, Lane is a woman of intelligence and know-how and yet at the same time, she has a certain compassion for her clients and friends and an ability to read the intangible desires of her clients. Priscilla Brandt, the new queen of etiquette is one of Lane's most impossible clients, and a character that one loves to hate as her pristine world crumbles around her. Each and every client has their own secret life to hide and each client's story captivates.

Suzanne Forster's THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE creates multiple suspenseful threads as the lives of Lane's clients and employees intersect in the scandals plaguing The Private Concierge's reputation. As Rick tries to investigate the concierge, Lane tries to cover the tracks, protecting her clients and their reputations as well as her own. Suzanne Foster creates a multi-layered work of suspense with meaningful twists and turns that will delight fans. I thought I knew who it was, then changed my mind several times but as I discounted one culprit, I found myself still satisfied, having enjoyed the story behind that thread. No twist is gratuitous but rather each builds up a intricate, fascinating network of characters, tied together by theme as the reader views their public life and more private life until the last surprising twist when the reader discovers the ultimate secret of both present and past. Suzanne Forster's THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE combines carefully plotted suspense with a look inside human nature, a brilliant look into the relationships and psychological connections that destroy, turning people into villains as well as those dynamics that inspire her characters to emerge from less favorable circumstances. As much as this reader sometimes feels resistant to the marketing pressure to produce series, appreciating Suzanne Forster's boldness in bucking this trend, after reading THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE, I find myself craving future stories of some of the unique characters developed within. THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE is a book that inspires rereading just to catch another glimpse of the characters inside. Suzanne Forster's THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, combining a subtle, unfolding web of suspense framed by passions revealed beneath the persona, of pasts emerging to haunt the present. THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE is a work of suspense that both chills and warms the reader's heart.

Publisher: Mira (October 2008)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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