And the Winner Gets…Married!

The Baby Bonus

Behind the Mask

Dad in Demand

Switched at the Altar

The Wager

Flash Point by Metsy Hingle
(Mira, $6.50, PG-13) ISBN 1-55166-714-2
Metsy Hingle has written a taut, romantic thriller that keeps you turning the pages. Flash Point is full of intrigue, psychic abilities, and romance with a New Orleans flavor.

Kelly Santos has the ability to see things that have either happened or are about to happen. And her visions tell her Sister Grace was murdered. This is the second vision of a murder in a few days. The first vision was of a man being killed in a car by a woman. She went to the police with that one, but she won’t make the same mistake twice.

Kelly has really never known who she is – she just knows she loves photography. That was her lifesaver and still is her passion. Growing up in an orphanage, her one “family member” was Sister Grace and now she is dead. Kelly has returned to New Orleans to pay her last respects, including accepting the small gifts Sister has left her in her will.

When visiting the police station, Kelly is greeted with sneers and skepticism. Her hope by going was to stop the murder from happening. But that wasn’t to be. Now an old acquaintance is heading the murder investigation. Jack Callaghan is one of the rich Callaghans. His father was a prominent attorney, as is his brother Peter. His sister, Meredith, went to school with Kelly but didn’t really know her. Their social status and the rumors about Kelly being a witch kept them apart. But Jack had met Kelly briefly and she changed his life. She told him to give up being in law school and become a policeman like he wanted. He never understood how she knew his true feelings, but he followed her advice. Now he runs into her again while investigating this murder.

Not wanting to give too much away, suffice it to say the murder investigation leads to questions and discoveries about Kelly, Sister Grace, Kelly’s past and all the connections between the murders. Kelly learns about herself as she learns about Jack. Jack and Kelly are attracted to each other; Jack finds Kelly fascinating and not just because of her “gift.” Kelly is equally intrigued by the feelings Jack cause in her, but she is very leery. A previous relationship ended when her so-called love called her a freak and frigid because of her abilities, and Kelly decided to never give so much of herself.

Along the way, we are also treated to a secondary romance between Jack’s sister Meredith and his long-time friend Alex Kusak. Meredith and Alex have known each other for years and have been lovers on and off for a few. But Alex doesn’t think he is good enough for Meredith because he came from a broken home with a drunk for a father and a whore for a mother. Yet he loves Meredith. Now she just needs to convince him he is good enough and she loves him too. It is a nicely done side romance.

Jack is a fine hero. He uses his instincts and his heart in his job, and he is good at what he does. He finds himself drawn to Kelly now just as he was years ago, but now he sees her as a woman, and one he wants to know more about. He comes close to crossing the professional line of getting personally involved in a case, but what would a good romance be without personal involvement? This case probably doesn’t follow true police procedure, but as a reader I was so wrapped up in the romance, these details were not distracting.

Kelly is a lady a reader can empathize with even while wondering whether to believe her. The style of the author is such that I was drawn in immediately, so everything that happened seemed plausible in this context. If you are a reader who prefers logic and complete accuracy in plots, this may not work as well for you.

Flash Point is the kind of story one could easily imagine being made into a movie. The writing is very visual and engrossing. When Kelly had a vision, I could see what she was seeing. I applaud Hingle for her ability to make those ideas come alive for the reader. For good romance and excellent storytelling, Flash Point will not disappoint.

--Shirley Lyons

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