My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had a bit of a time getting into Sea of Suspicion, one of Carina Press’ romantic suspense titles. Toni Anderson did draw me in nicely with the setup: rugged coast of Scotland, marine biologist stumbling across a murder, investigating detective on a quest for vengeance and locked squarely on the biologist heroine’s boss as his primary suspect. By and large, it is a decent story. It’s just that various aspects of characterization never quite clicked in for me.
Part of this had to do with the obligatory Troubled Pasts for both the heroine and the hero. While I acknowledge that it’s a bit of a nice change of pace to see the hero as well as the heroine having to deal with sexual abuse in the past, that’s a particular plot point I’ve seen too much of, both in fiction and among people I know in real life. Which is about all I can say about that, really, and it has less to do with this particular book and way more with just my personal tastes as a reader.
More pertinent to the book was that at least for a good stretch in the beginning, I was actively disliking the hero. He pulls one stunt in particular at the heroine’s expense that made me cranky at him, and which was not entirely ameliorated by his owning up to it later.
I had better luck with liking the heroine as a character, even given my aforementioned weariness with sexual abuse as backstory. Plot-wise, the story’s decent, and to its credit, it did come together more strongly for me towards the end. Props too for Anderson doing a nice job keeping me from figuring out the actual killer until suitably close to the end. Three stars.