Sunday, February 7, 2010


I'm a sucker for romantic suspense novels usually, and I hate when one fails to deliver. I've been reading Jasmine Cresswell's Raven trilogy and finally got around to finishing it up with PAYBACK, the last one in the series. I was left a little bit disappointed by it, honestly.

From the back blurb:

For twenty-five years multimillionaire businessman Ron Raven played the loving husband and father -- to two very different households. But when Ron disappears, his deception is revealed. Now it's time for...PAYBACK.

The police assume bigamist and wealthy businessman Ron Raven paid the price ofhis crimes with his life -- a conclusion his "second" family, the Fairfaxes, accepts. So when restaurateur Luke Savarini outrageously claims to have seen his former investor -- in the flesh! -- Kate Fairfax is furious.

When her anger cools, evidence leaves Kate facing the possibility that her father is still alive. With Luke's help, Kate is willing to risk everything to find Ron Raven, if it means bringing him to justice, once and for all.

I'm not sure if it's because there was such a lengthy time between my reading the first two books and then finally this one, or if it just felt like the trilogy-ender was the final book because the series needed one. The Raven trilogy features all of Ron Raven's three kids -- two by his first wife, and one by his "second" wife -- and how they're left dealing with the aftermath of Ron's deceptions. His first - and real - wife, Ellie, has a secondary friendship in the last two books that builds into a romance, and I found myself enjoying that more than PAYBACK. Avery, his "second" wife, is a character that grows in the short span of this book, but what I liked was the fact that she didn't feel she needed to 'find' someone to be with to be complete. I was very afraid that this would happen.

Onto the romance between the two main characters, Luke and Kate. It was temperate, and maybe a bit far-reaching? Yes, the two had chemistry and a past history, but they play Nancy Drew just a bit two easily when the private detective they hire to track down Ron Raven is murdered. Two individuals who know and love the pastry and restaurant world should know next-to-nothing about sleuthing, but guess what...they're just as good at it as they are in the foodie world.

All in all, PAYBACK seemed to not ring true to the series for me. I enjoyed MISSING and SUSPECT, the first two books, much better, with MISSING being my favorite. If I were a grading girl, I'd probably rate it on a C+ scale, with B- tendencies.

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