Deadly Little Secrets
by Jeanne Adams
(Zebra, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-1-420-10882-8
****
CIA Agent Ana Burton had been transferred to the San Francisco Office and assigned to the cold case division while waiting the resolution of an investigation of her actions in an investigation which resulted in five people dying. Amidst guilt and the anguish of wondering what she had done wrong that turned into such a tragedy is the realization that her career with the Bureau may well be at an end.

Working hard is Ana's antidote and she had resolved one cold case and is starting an art fraud case which involved ten high profile victims, who discovered their art forgeries when they attempted a resale. Authentic art had been purchased but forgeries had arrived at the new buyer's gallery. It was an agency problem since it was international in scope and had also involved torture slayings and execution style killings.

Contacting a local victim, Ana meets Gates Bromley, security expert and personal assistant for the very wealthy Dav Gianikopolis, who among his many holdings and hobbies is an art collection. Gates is extremely cooperative and attractive and he provides a starting point for Ana in her investigation. At this time she is also challenged in her personal life by one of her few friends, Jen ,who is trying to get her to join the dating scene.

In one of these meet and greet affairs Jen had tried to lure her into attending, Jen meets a local millionaire who is instantly attracted to her. From this flows an invitation to Jen and Ana to attend a prominent art gallery affair for a budding artist. Small world that it is, Ana notices this particular gallery had been tangentially involved in many, if not all, ten cases. Thus she attends, although disguised.

There Ana finds Gates and his boss Dav who is clearly infatuated with the gallery owner who is a recent widow. A pushing incident with flailing bodies blows her cover to Gates and there begins their eventual alliance in the solving of this case. Gates is able to contribute his very advanced computer skills to Ana's ability to discern patterns and detail to their efforts.

The author utilizes shifts of scene to an anonymous voice to alert the reader that the criminals are nearby and actively watching Ana. Gradually, this morphs into their need to neutralize her actions for their own self interest.

Gates and Ana are attracted one to the other and the sexual tension is paired with the mounting tensions of discovery in this well paced romantic suspense story. The plotting is a little more complex than most and is advanced with the use of sub plots and secondary characters.

The character development is well done and the dialogue is always in the voice consistent with the very wealthy as they meet law enforcement types. The method of the resolution is perhaps the book's weakest point, but after all it is the enjoyment the author provides while getting there that is sufficient to make it a very good read.

--Thea Davis


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