Book Review

DEADLY CARESS
by Brenda Joyce

Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: New York City, 1902

2003 Best Historical Mystery Nominee

RT Rating

I am addicted to this series and so involved in the characters' lives that I can hardly wait for each new installment. Joyce does not disappoint as Francesca Cahill, Rick Bragg and the rest of the series ensemble become entangled in a frightening murder mystery.

Suspicion is cast upon Francesca's brother, Evan, when his ex-mistress is found dead in a young artist's apartment. Did the City Strangler, who attacks female artists, make a mistake and kill the wrong woman, or did Evan want to get rid of her?

Solving the mystery and catching the killer is only half the fascination of DEADLY CARESS. The other half is becoming completely immersed in Francesa's life and her affair with Rick, police commissioner, cohort and lover. But complications arise as Francesca becomes more and more attracted to Rick's charismatic half-brother, Calder Hart—just as Rick's estranged wife makes a pitch to win back her husband's love.

Somehow Joyce manages to perfectly blend a marvelous mystery, complete with red herrings galore (I was stunned by the killer's identity), woven into the tangled love lives of her characters. There's plenty of sexual tension as both Calder and Rick vie for Francesca's love, but the side storylines featuring her brother and sister's own problems add more fuel to a sizzling fire. I don't want to wait too long to see what happens next. SENSUAL (Apr., 400 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed By: Kathe Robin

Publisher: St. Martin's

Published: April 2003

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