The Substitute Sister
by Lisa Childs
Rocking chairs moving to and fro in the night... and an inherited house straight out of the eeriest of ghost stories. These were the things Sasha Michaelson found when she arrived on Sunset Island to collect the body of her identical twin... and take charge of her newly discovered niece.
But even more frightening to Sasha than her sister's shadowy presence in the old house, and the killer still running loose on the small island, was the fact that Sheriff Reed Blakeslee stopped her breath and made her heart pound fast.
But was the brooding lawman's determined search for answers caused by a love that hadn't stopped with death...or by a desire - for Sasha - that he couldn't deny?
The Substitute Sister had a pretty intriguing premise that had drawn me in. And the book started out pretty good. It had a creepy enough feel, and the additions of a hostile house staff as well as strange noises in the night was a nice touch. The not quite there paranormal elements were also a lovely add-on, giving the book itself that Gothic feel of being set in a huge mansion on a scenic island.
But the moment that Sasha meets love interest Sheriff Reed Blakeslee, the entire story seemed to automatically slide into "Romance, First and Foremost" territory. The insta-lust picked up, and despite there having been a murder on the island, and other matters that Sasha now had to attend to, the two of them kept coming back to "growing feelings" that went from insta-lust straight to insta-love.
I feel like I'm repeating myself lately, but I suppose my selection of reading material just hasn't been all that varied. Although much like some other books I've quite recently read (To the Rescue, The Mysterious Twin), The Substitute Sister is bite-sized and didn't take long to finish.
Don't get me wrong: The writing style is serviceable and the progression was smooth, actually outlined pretty well on the murder mystery side of things. Even our main characters had a bit more personality to them than the other romances I mentioned. And while the main culprit wasn't a surprise, I WILL admit that the book kept me guessing about the entire fiasco--even about whether or not Sasha's twin sister, Nadine, was really dead.
I would probably give this book props for atmosphere, that's for sure.
And as silly as it is to be complaining about how this Romance novel had too much focus on the romance, with an uneven development in our main couple's relationship... Honestly, that was really the biggest quibble I had about it. The murder investigation was a bit weakly constructed, but overall effective.
Despite my low rating and my few disappointments, I'm actually interested in continuing to keep Lisa Childs on my radar as an author to check out other books for.
Water on book cover.
Page Count: 240
Cash Award: +$6.00
Updated Bank Balance: $109.00