TBR Day. Die Before I Wake / Laurie Breton. 2008

I remember when I bought this book. The Borders receipt was still inside the cover when I dug it out last week. I had a $5.00 off coupon and I thought I'd try something different. I like Romantic Suspense, but I'm not fond of 1st person books, which this is. But it turned out OK and while I doubt I'll re-read it, I did find myself engaged by the story.

I can't find a traditional website for the author, although it appears she has a MySpace page here. This is the back cover blurb:

Just five days after they meet, Julie Hanrahan and Dr. Thomas Larkin exchange vows on a moonlit Caribbean beach, the whirlwind conclusion to a romance that's swept her off her feet. Tom is sexy, witty and charming and Julie's sure she's found her Prince Charming.

But not every fairy tale ends happily ever after.

With a workaholic husband, a hostile mother-in-law and a resentful stepdaughter, the honeymoon doesn't last long. Especially after Julie finds out that Tom's first wife didn't die in an accident after all. The cops called her death a suicide, but Julie is convinced that somebody helped Beth over the side of the Swift River Bridge.

Every marriage has its secrets. Julie is starting to wonder if she'll survive discovering the truth about hers…or die before she wakes. 

As the book opens, Julie is flying to her new home in Maine, the antithesis of everything she'd known in California. Julie is leaving behind a failed marriage and a lot of tragedy; she's looking forward to a "normal" life with Tom and his two young daughters. It's not long, though, before she encounters the hostile mother-in-law and resentful stepdaughter. She also has to learn to cope with Tom's hectic schedule as an OB/GYN. Julie begins to get close to Tom's daughters and even makes some friends. However, Julie finds herself on the receiving end of various accidents and then she discovers a deliberate attempt on her life. Too many signs point to Tom as the culprit.

Most RS books that I enjoy use the suspense to bring the h/h together to fight a common enemy. Here, the h/h are increasingly at odds as Julie begins to believe the worst of Tom. This kind of story actually reminded me very much of the old Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt books I enjoyed as a teen (yes, I'm old). Naturally, there's another villain, but it takes a crisis at the end to figure out who the real culprit is. I stink at mysteries, so I was pretty clueless until near the end to figure out who had killed Beth.

There are lots of potential culprits here, and the story has a good, fast pace. It was an easy read and didn't take long to finish. To be honest, this kind of story doesn't typically float my boat. I doubt I'll read more by this author, but that's more because there are lots of other things I'd rather read first. Still, I'd recommend it if you like a contemporary mystery with a gothic flair.


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