Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SINISTER by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, Rosalind Noonan

by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, Rosalind Noonan 
ARC Review
Published: November 26, 2013, Zebra Books

My rating: 3 of 5 ⭐️

When Dillinger family patriarch, Ira decides to get married, he is determined to have his children by his side. None of them are particularly pleased with the upcoming nuptials, since their mother just passed away less than a year ago, and they are in no hurry to flock back home to welcome a gold digging much younger woman to the family. Being a master in manipulation, it doesn't take Ira long to get his way and one by one all kids end up coming home to face their father, his new bride and some unfinished business most thought they had left behind.

Two decades ago an unsolved fire burned down the old homestead on Dillinger land and trapped Ira's brother, Judd and his mistress. Judd died in the fire and Colton, Ira's oldest son, had been able to just pull out Judd's badly injured mistress. Although there was never any proof, some suspected that one of the  neighbouring Kincaids may have been behind it, but it was written off as the work of a transient. 

With preparations for the wedding in full swing, some disturbing discoveries and unexplained fires bring memories and questions around the twenty year old blaze back to the surface and raises old and new suspicions. With everyone back in town for the big event, the speculation is running rampant, but one thing is clear; someone is determined to hurt the Dillingers.


A complex and wildly woven plot makes for an intensely suspenseful read!!

The balance in this book teeters far more to the suspense side than it does to the romance side, in that the romantic story lines are not explored, they almost occur as a side line and without much dialogue. The focus is and remains on the mystery side of the story throughout all three major parts of the book, each written by a different author. 

The characters were plentiful and varied. At times I felt there were too many names and connections to keep straight along with a rather involved backstory to get the gist of. And that backstory was important, if not where everything started, it was where everything started to turn for the Dillinger family, and not only for Ira.

The fire was a pivotal point in a few of the Dillinger children's lives as well. Colton was a little too close to the tragedy, having been right there, and he needed to get away from home, leaving his family and his girlfriend behind to sew some wild oats. Delilah left after the fire that lead to finding out her secret lover had cheated on her, and since she had aspired to be an actress, she headed for California. Ricki had taken off for the big city, pursuing her dream of joining law enforcement and getting over a childhood crush. 
All three end up coming back to find themselves reconnecting with people not quite forgotten and feelings still alive under the surface.

The family dynamics are interesting to observe. Ira as family dictator and manipulator, a general intolerant nature, nurturing the ongoing feud with the Kincaids and more concerned with the status and appearance of a complete and gathered family than the experience of one. The siblings, at least the three main ones we get to know a little better, get along well and seem to have their father's number. The two other siblings, a married brother, who we only see briefly, and a younger sister, who also only has a minor appearance, hardly factor into the story. This is something I don't really understand......why not?? Are there more books coming about this family?? Especially the brother with his more than shaky marriage, why write that in if it didn't fit into the story somehow?? Right now, it only feels like a loose end. There is also talk about uncles and aunts and cousins, who really don't come back into play until the last few pages, except to say that Ira specifically does not want them at the wedding..... I haven't found any clear explanation  as to why that was?? 

Yes, I was left with a few questions, or loose ends I wasn't able to tie up or answer after finishing this book. I don't know whether that was because I missed something in the huge number of facts that needed to be processed or whether it was just missing. Or, like I said! there may be more books coming that will help unravel this very entangled story.

The writing itself was great! The transitions from one author to the next near impossible to detect, they were so smooth and in no way interrupted the flow of the story. I was unable to put the book down, so poised for the next twist or turn the story would take. 

It did make for very thrilling reading, because if anything, it was spine-tingling!!!

✨A hair-raising, compound and compelling story of family ties!✨

**ARC provided by NetGalley and Zebra Books in return for an honest review.**  Kobo Barnes&Noble

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