Author Name: Barbara Winkes
Publication Date & Length: November 1st, 2013 – 152pgs
To save your life…would you trust a stranger with your secret? Disillusioned with the direction her life is going, Marsha Taylor wants to get away, to find out what’s left of her dreams. Picking up a hitchhiker along the way wasn’t her intention, but Jessie, a woman with troubles of her own, is hard to resist. A mishap on the road forces them to make a stop in a small town called Diamond Lake. Residents are on edge since a brutal murder happened in the area not long ago. Everyone has their secrets…some of them are deadly.
This book is an interesting tale of a cop turned private investigator who really just wants a vacation and can’t seem to get one. I have to admit, I started reading this at night and learned very quickly I couldn’t. There are point of view sections from the mind of the serial killer, and that’s what did me in. I think I was up half the night because I’d psyched myself out.
After finishing this book during the day, I can definitely recommend it as a good thriller. There’s two or three plot lines going at once. You have the relationship that’s budding between Marsha and Jessie, their pasts coming to haunt them, and then the serial killer who is out to get them.
The plot is what interested me the most and what kept me reading. However, the relationship between Marsha and Jessie wasn’t as believable as I wanted it to be. I wanted them to find comfort in each other, but the constant back and forth of Marsha about being attracted to Jessie annoyed me after a few chapters. It almost would have been better for the relationship to start with sex and move into comfort from that point.
Secondly, the constant berating of woman got really heavy handed. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, and trust me, it’s a lot more advanced in equal rights than this book makes it out to be. I currently live in the back flatlands of the country and they are not so advanced. Had this book taken place where I currently live, it would have been far more convincing to see the snarky comments about women in “male” roles. Particularly for a lesbian book, this came off as trying to pivot one group against another.
The last issue I had with this book, and why I am rating it 3.5 stars instead of 4, is because of transitioning. There were countless points where I got lost with what was happening because of lack of transitions and setting up the scene. For example, there’s a part where Marsha and Jessie go to get breakfast after talking with the police about Jessie’s crazy stalker who’s come back for a second round. They get to the diner, and then suddenly they’re having lunch and waiting for Jake and the stalker comes charging in. There wasn’t enough scene set up for it to work smoothly enough. I had to read the paragraphs multiple times just to make sense of what was happening. This is just one example. The first time Jessie and Marsha get together is also another prime example. There is absolutely no transition from shower to couch to Jessie suddenly being there on top of her.
This is really a good book. It succeeded in creeping me out, which is very hard to do, and it kept me interested throughout. Revealing the secrets of the two main characters throughout was a very good way to keep interest in a story that could have otherwise gone too quickly or too slowly.
A psychologist/trauma counselor by training, Barbara Winkes left her native Germany to live with her wife in Québec City. Telling stories has always been her passion. She loves to write suspense and romance with female protagonists who try to solve the puzzle of their love life, a murder case, or sometimes, both.
Lesbian fiction with high drama and happy endings:
Barbara’s debut novel “Autumn Leaves” and the follow-up, “Winter Storm”, published by Eternal Press, tell the love story between two women in a small town, where neighbors take an interest in the life of others. The thriller “Secrets” followed November 2013.
2014 releases will include “Spring Fever”, book three in the series about Callie and Rebecca, and the standalone romance “The Interpretation of Love and the Truth”.
Author’s Website: http://www.barbarawinkes.blogspot.ca