Author: Camile Carson
Genre: Contemporary romantic suspense
Heat Level: Hot/Erotic
Reviewer: Erin O'Quinn
Lust and larceny, murder and red hot sex. Mmm . . . since Mickey Spillane’s powerful heyday, the combination has always been a draw. Camile Carson’s Lovers and Saints does not disappoint. She knows how to tell a story that somehow balances between heart-stopping suspense and thigh-blistering erotic turn-on.
Samantha Copperton--call her “Sam”--is a better than average crime reporter who has been called to a grisly crime scene by one of her cop pals. The only one of a handful of precinct detectives who seems to push her out of the way is Andre Rodriguez. In spite of his simmering resentment, she sees the lust smoldering in his eyes, and she is attracted to him in spite of herself.
But Andre is not the only cop who lusts after Sam. There is another whose eyes undress her, who resents any attention Sam gets from his colleagues. This one, Carl, hovers on the edge of revealing his smarmy desire and keeping his hands in his pockets.
A third cop, Paul--this one now gone, out of Sam’s life--nevertheless is much closer than anyone realizes; and a fourth cop, Grant, may be more than just a study in quiet competence.
She begins to unravel what turn out to be serial killings--young girls, not Catholic, seemingly executed with a rosary clutched in their dead hands. Shadowy figures tell their own story in the background--a priest with a secret and a large brooding fellow with an axe to grind weave in and out of the narrative. As she gets closer to the killer, the killer gets closer to her.
The writing is tense and immediate. Carson describes her attractive protagonist in a few bold strokes: “The young girl in strawberry braids [now] wore suits and lipstick. There were no swings to be had, only articles to write.” When she and Andre draw together in sudden, suffocating passion, we read: “Limbs, tangled like strings of softened twine, searched, sought, and found. Kissing and tasting the flesh around their mouths and necks, the two danced in a rhythmic rhumba.”
As the murderer draws closer and closer, the reader is plagued by the suspicion that he could well be one of the cops themselves--even Andre--and as the noose draws tighter around her lovely throat, an ominous black bird swoops and waits, for the fresh blood that is sure to spill.
For a story that is terse, bold and suspenseful; and for erotic detail that stokes our imagination even as a murderer stalks, this novel sits atop the pile of fine contemporary suspense stories, with the promise of a sequel. Bring it on!
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