Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review: Miss Match by Sara Mills

Miss Match (Allie Fortune Mysteries #2)
By: Sara Mills
Publisher: Moody
ISBN: 978-0-8024-6927-4

About the book:
Jack…I’m in trouble, big trouble. Once, many years ago, we trusted each other completely. I’m asking you to trust me like that again. I need you. If you can, come to Berlin. I’ll find you.

FBI agent Jack O’Connor receives this cryptic letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks another woman to help him investigate. Wasting no time, Allie Fortune, the best private eye in New York City, comes up with a plan to get them both into Germany.

Maggie was a Red Cross nurse in the war, and she has stayed in the divided city of Berlin to look after an orphaned child. Trapped and in hiding, she has nowhere to turn…except to Jack.
And little does Allie Fortune know that this case might just lead right to her own mysterious past…


In many ways, not much has changed in Allie Fortune’s life since she met FBI agent Jack O’Connor and they partnered together to successfully close a major case. She’s still the only female private investigator in New York City, still has tense dinners with her parents every Wednesday night, and she’s till searching for her lost love David Rubeneski, missing in action since the end of the war. When Jack calls asking for her help, she knows the situation is serious – Maggie, the woman who turned him down years before, has written from divided Berlin needing help. Armed with only a cryptic letter and no idea of the danger Maggie is in, Allie and Jack travel to Berlin determined to save her life. But Allie has a side mission to complete – her mother has charged her with finding a priest in the war-ravaged city and delivering a mysterious gift. Between her mother’s request and the threats closing in around Maggie and her secrets, Allie is shocked when the current investigation rips open old wounds from her own past. With more than her life and the lives of her friends at stake, Allie must navigate the dangerous world of international espionage if she’s to have a chance to lay the past to rest and move on with her life.

The best way I can describe Sara Mills’ writing is that it’s like film noir on the page. I’ve been on a film noir viewing kick lately, and watching classics like Laura, I Wake Up Screaming, and The Dark Corner proved to be perfect viewing complements to Sara’s rich, atmospheric storytelling. The way past and present collide in Miss Match is one of the novel’s greatest strengths. I love how Mills takes each character’s secrets and forces them to confront their fears in the light of present danger. Allie is as smart and engaging as she was in her debut, but since meeting Jack, a guy who genuinely values her friendship and her rather unorthodox job skill set, she’s begun to open up. Kudos to Mills for creating such a fantastic investigative team in Allie and Jack – theirs is a genuine, rewarding friendship based on mutual respect and understanding. But emotional risk and self-reflective moments are not always welcome or easy to endure, as proven when Allie discovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past that forces her to re-evaluate her own character and prejudices.

Miss Match
is the perfect blend of post-war intrigue and mystery, the ideal read for anyone who appreciates the tone and storytelling style of classic film noir. A page-turning tale mystery, faith, and second chances, I only hope that one day not too far in the future we’ll get a third Allie Fortune mystery to continue Miss Match’s KILLER cliffhanger. :)

Click to read my review of the first Allie Fortune mystery, Miss Fortune.

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