Romance novels are delicious distractions, promising a few hours away from real life and the promise that good will triumph and love will conquer. This month, three romances offer a perfect break from the world.
Laura Griffin’s Tracers books are an action-packed romantic suspense series about an elite, private team of forensic experts who consult with law enforcement on challenging investigations. The latest, At Close Range (Pocket), features former Navy SEAL and ballistics expert Scott Black. Scott is summoned to work on a multiple homicide with police investigator Dani Harper, who happens to be his best friend’s sister. The case is complicated and uncertain — facts muddled, motive unclear, suspects sparse — and when the murder weapon turns up with Scott’s fingerprints all over it, things get even more complicated. Dani and Scott are soon working to clear his name and catch a killer, and what results is an emotional, exciting page-turner. Griffin deftly balances the mystery and the love story, leaving readers with the satisfying assurance that decency wins.
Katee Robert is a welcome addition to the romantic suspense genre. This month she begins her Hidden Sins series with The Devil’s Daughter (Montlake). When a serial killer with ties to a religious cult appears in his quiet Montana county, Sheriff Zach Owens finds himself paired with FBI agent Eden Collins, who grew up in the cult, the daughter of its leader. The investigation that follows is riveting — twisting through the complex personalities and relationships inside the cult, all while dredging up Eden’s unsettling past. Zach and Eden’s romance is quiet and honest, a perfect foil for the terrifying events taking place as they race to find a group of kidnapped women. Robert’s portrayal of the cult, which is aligned with Greek mythology, is fascinating, and there is a rich cast of secondary characters. The result is a captivating read, made all the more rewarding when good triumphs.
Farrah Rochon’s delightful Chase Me (Nicobar, ebook) is lighter romance fare — a joyful tale of two decent people who deserve a chance at happiness. Indina Holmes is the product of a large, loving but interfering family who insist that she join them on a cruise. After a little white lie puts her in the awkward position of needing a date for the trip, she invites Griffin Sims, her co-worker and sometimes lover to join her. Indina and Griffin have a no-frills, no-ties arrangement, and Indina thinks this is a perfect solution. What she doesn’t know is that Griffin would like more, and a cruise seems the perfect way to win her heart. The simplicity of the romance does not diminish its uniqueness. Indina is older than most heroines in romance, and it’s refreshing and exciting to see a woman in her 40s win her happily ever after.
Sarah MacLean reviews romance novels monthly for The Washington Post. Her most recent book is “A Scot in the Dark.”