Catch Me If You Can

Sins of the Father

Sweet Revenge

Sweet Suspicion by Nina Bruhns
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1277, $ 4.75,PG) ISBN 0373-27347-9
Sweet Suspicion is Nina Bruhnsí sixth book set in New Orleans and environs. The author does such a beautiful job of permeating her characters with their New Orleans lifestyles that one simply feels its effects on the characters - from the sleepy but treacherous bayous to the electric nightclub life. These characters are woven into a plot line that, while not unique, has an additional twist of interweaving families from prior books.

James Davies is the major crime boss of New Orleans and Muse Summerville had voluntarily become an FBI informant. To protect herself, without the FBI knowing, she has stolen a copy of a videotape, which would guarantee Daviesí conviction when he is caught and charged. To all appearances, she has been having an affair with one of Davisís henchman, when she breaks it off, the FBI makes the decision to bring her to a safe house for her safety.

Remi Beaulieux, apparent bad boy from Bruhnís first novel is the agent chosen to bring her in. Of course it is quickly obvious that someone in the form of a probable FBI mole has alerted Davies, so the plans are changed and Remi is instructed to flee with Muse until Davies is charged. They head into the bayou country to a house of a reclusive computer genius.

Muse has an identical twin Grace, who is her polar opposite personality wise. Muse is a flirt, and wild partygoer, masking the trauma sustained from an early rape. Her twin is a staid psychologist who appears in New Orleans when she discovers Muse missing. Her search for Muse is the subject of a prior book. It is a challenging feat to complete that book long before starting this one, but the author neatly ties it all together.

Remi and Muse are both victims of childhood abuse, each creating a very different mask that they have grown into. Somehow this is fitting in the City of Masquerades, but in addition to Remiís apparent issues, he does have one that is very real - his control issues. Rape victims, by definition would be more resistant to this type than any other. However, what follows in their flight for safety is a gentle getting to know you stage followed by several steamy stormy sexual encounters.

Sweet Suspicion is generally well done with interesting contrasts in characters that possess many layers of complexities. Muse is the more interesting character for this reason. She jeopardizes her own safety when she realizes her sister is at risk. However, the book concludes with an ending that is far too swiftly reached, and just slightly contrived.

Nina Bruhns is a consistent four heart author for a very simple reason: she imbues complex characters with a great sense of setting in a fast paced suspense story over laden with steamy sex.

--Thea Davis

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