Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz

Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
Pages: 309
Date Published: October 2010
Publisher: Sheaf House
Source: Joan at Sheaf House provided me with a review copy. Thanks Joan!
Rating: 5 of 5 stars!

Book Description (from the back cover):
Their faces were the same. Will their fates be as well?
The uncanny resemblance between eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase and a murder victim gives Detective Jeff McNichols the haunting suspicion that there is a link between the two women. As he is increasingly drawn to Cassie, a rash of attacks leads him to conclude that she was the murderer's real mark--and to wonder if he can keep her alive.

To read the description, you might think the mystery in Mirrored Image revolves around the murder of an innocent woman, unconnected to the murderer except through mistaken identity. You would be wrong. This story is so much more intricate and complicated than that. The connections between the various characters, which seem innocent and inconsequential at first, become more complex and involved as newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase and Detective Jeff Nichols untangle the threads of the mystery. Unexpected relationships and feelings come to the surface and caught this reader by surprise.

The novel's characters were refreshingly original and authentic. The further I read, the more realistic the characters seemed because in Cassandra and Jeff's investigation the suspects became much more fleshed out. I felt like they were fully-fleshed, multi-dimensional characters by the end of the story.

I was hooked by the story from the first line. The first chapter, in fact, ratchets up the suspense quickly as it climbs inside the head of the murder victim in the hours before her death. More sensitive readers might find the first chapter a bit difficult because of the murder, but I thought it set the stage in an eerie and moving way.

Mirrored Image is romantic suspense at its finest. There were so many twists and turns in the mystery that I wasn't sure what would happen next or who would be responsible. But each twist was entirely believable and didn't make me question the story at any time. The ways that the connections between Cassandra and the murder victim were revealed were unexpected, pushed the story along at the perfect pace, and kept me reading late into the night. When the exact nature of the crime was revealed, I was caught by surprise--a reaction I relish when reading mysteries. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery or romantic suspense, and I'll be looking forward to Ms. Arenz's next book, American Gothic.

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