Right away, author Carla Neggers hurries about introducing you to the characters in her book – by paragraph four, you’ve met five – and you begin to feel like you’ve arrived late to a party. If you’re new to the Sharpe & Donovan series as I was, you have. The party has been going on since 2011 with the publication of Saint’s Gate where we lose a nun right off the bat.
This time we start off with a bad case of mass food poisoning on a private yacht off the coast of Rock Pointe, Maine, but nobody dies. Is there such a thing as a psychopath who just wants to make people throw up?
In Rivals’ Break (MIRA), 10th in the Sharpe & Donovan series, sweethearts and undercover agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are newly married. (He still carries her up the stairs to the bedroom.) Emma spent her girlhood in a convent and the Donovan brothers are a toss of law enforcement, the military, and lobster fishing; but a small town makes for strange bedfellows. The Sharpe family business specializes in lost and stolen art. The collection of friends and family, thieves, Brits, spies, and Irishmen and a priest continues to commit and solve crimes on two continents.
The story improbably weaves together mushrooms and honeymoons, dahlias, bean hole suppers, apple pie, Irish whiskey and the irresistible landscape paintings of a beautiful artist with the legendary name of Aoife. (It’s pronounced Ee-fah. I had to look it up.) While the Donovan brothers create their own brands of romance, the plot circles and attacks: a valuable painting disappears, someone dies – far away and alone, curious memories resurface and poor Georgina the chef is racked with guilt.
It takes half the book to determine that there has actually been a crime committed and the other half to figure out who did it and why. Along the way, if you have not already been a Sharpe & Donovan fan, you have fallen in love with Emma and Colin and the handsome, wily art thief Oliver. You want to put your arms around Finian the still grieving priest and go for a foggy morning hike in Ireland with Emma’s grandfather Wendell.
Each of the Sharpe & Donovan novels stands as a story on its own, but once you’ve been introduced all around, you probably won’t want to leave this band of lovable characters. When Emma and Colin meet with their FBI boss after the dust settles, the last words of the chapter are “Let’s get started. We have work to do.” The promise of book 11.
And the priest you wanted to hold? At the very end of the book, kind of like Scarlett O’Hara, he decides he’ll think about it tomorrow. “For now, he was home.” But of course, we know that tomorrow will come.
Rival’s Break is now available for purchase.
ABOUT CARLA NEGGERS:
Carla Neggers is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than seventy-five novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Whether creating stories of friendship, family and love or razor-sharp suspense, Carla always takes readers on a captivating journey. Her books have been called “smart and satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews), “extraordinarily memorable” (RT Book Reviews) and “highly entertaining” (Publishers Weekly).
In addition to writing, Carla is a dedicated runner, having completed the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont several times as well as the Dingle Half Marathon in Ireland. Frequent travelers, especially to Ireland, she and her husband live in New England, where they love to garden, hike and enjoy good times—and a taoscán of whiskey—with family and friends.
For more information on Carla Neggers, visit her website: www.CarlaNeggers.com