By: Camy Tang
Publisher: Steeple Hill
About the book:
The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation – not murder! When Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect – Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?
Deadly Intent marks Camy Tang’s first foray into romantic suspense fiction, and she proves to be as adept at crafting an engaging suspense story as she is at making readers laugh with her “romance with a kick of wasabi” flavored Sushi Series. In Deadly Intent, Naomi Grant, massage therapist and acting manager of the exclusive Joy Luck Life Spa, finds herself trapped in a murderous web of danger and intrigue when one of her clients ends up dead, and suddenly she's a suspect. The victim just happens to be the ex-wife of the very handsome, brooding Dr. Devon Knightley – as the ex-spouse, Devon is the #1 suspect, until a series of subsequent events makes it clear that someone’s not just targeting the spa – they’re intent on framing Naomi for their crimes. Naomi and Devon join forces to clear their names, but can their fledgling attraction to each other survive the threat that surrounds them?
This is definitely one of the strongest Love Inspired Suspense novels that I’ve read. Camy’s skill for characterization and pacing help make this short and sweet read shine. She also shows a flair for building some real tension and threat into the storyline, an element that’s sometimes lacking in LI Suspense reads that focus too heavily on the “love” part of the brand and not enough on the promised “suspense” element. My one complaint about the book is that it's far too short - but that's the nature of the LI series. Camy gives Naomi and Devon wonderful character arcs - they have some real "baggage" to work through while seeking out the killer and falling in love. This is especially true for Devon, as he starts out as an unbeliever - and this is where I wish the novel had more room develop his character's journey. It seems a tad rushed. However, a strong suspenseful plot, engaging characters, and some sizzling romantic tension make this a fun way to while away a few hours. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more suspense from Camy Tang!