Don’t Look Now

High Country Bride

In Your Dreams

One Wish

Springwater

Springwater Wedding

Two Brothers

The Vow

 
One Last Look
by Linda Lael Miller
(Pocket, $13.00, PG-13) ISBN 07434-7050-8
****
How do you handle being pregnant, finding out that your fiancé is moving from Tucson to Dry Creek, Arizona, to take a local police chief’s job, and seeing more dead bodies in a few weeks than most homicide detectives in New York do in several months? If you are the heroine in Miller’s One Last Look, it just seems to be a part of the deck life has dealt you. In this third of a series about Clare Westbrook and Tony Sonterra, everything seems to fall apart in order to come together. Throw in some dangerous situations, some torrid sex scenes, some romantic bantering and some psychic events and you have one heck of a wild ride. This ride is good even if like me, you haven’t read the previous two books.

Clare Westbrook is a lawyer turned investigator for the prosecutor’s office. Tony Sonterra is a police detective who has agreed to take on a local police chief’s job in order to try to catch the “coyotes” that are smuggling and then killing illegal immigrants. One person they killed was a young kid named Jimmy Ruiz, who Tony was trying to get back into the county legally. Once they move to Dry Creek, things go haywire. Clare tries to help a battered woman and her daughter only to be attacked when returning from Tucson. The local doctor and this battered woman are both found brutally murdered and the young daughter is missing.

While Clare and Tony try to find her, Clare was almost forced off the road again. Dead bodies in the form of skeletons are found in the basement of the house they are using in Dry Creek and another woman, who is somehow connected to Clare’s past, comes up missing. Action abounds and there are times when the book is a page-turner. Clare has a psychic friend, who warns her of danger and Clare has nightmares/hallucinations that also seem to foreshadow evil. (These get a bit hokey in the end and pull in a plotline about Clare’s heritage that would have been better left out).

Meanwhile Clare is pregnant and Tony is trying to get her to set a wedding date. The fact that Clare grew up in a foster care system with lots of emotional scars keeps her from committing. But Tony is patient and knows he will get her there one day. Emma, Clare’s cousin, who lives under their care, is a support system and much smarter than her age. She wants to be a cop and at times, comes across as an adult instead of a young teen. Clare’s friend Loretta provides another person to support Clare and gives Clare someone to care about as she begins to go through a rough time in her marriage.

The relationship between Clare and Tony is the focus of the story interwoven between all the mysteries. It is obvious that they have a history and have been through rocky times. Now their relationship is one of strength; filled with love, teasing, caring and arguing. Their sexual passion is abundant and the fact that they don’t see eye to eye about the cases and how much sharing they should do is a strong point to the story.

There are a few distractions. Clare often does stupid things on her own that get her into trouble. She is pregnant and wants to protect her baby one minute and then goes behind Tony’s back to investigate something in another. She is full of emotion and often is portrayed as weak and easily shocked. The next minute she is ready to stand up to a murderer. This kept me from fully embracing her although I did like her sense of humor and her loyalty.

Tony is all man and is not afraid to show his softer side, despite his obvious macho cop nature. He keeps finding Clare and bailing her out of trouble. He yells at her then pampers her, then loves the heck out of her, steaming up the sheets, the shower, the living room, etc.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I probably would have enjoyed more with the knowledge from the previous two books. There were a few times that I knew something had happened in the past, but it was only a minor distraction. One Last Look is worth a good look because of the strength of this story.

--Shirley Lyons


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