reviewed by Pam Guynn
Alexandra Ivy deftly weaves mystery, suspense, action, and romance in the fourth book in the Pike, Wisconsin romantic suspense series. Desperate Acts features Lia Porter and Kaden Vaughn in this chilling tale.
Fifteen years ago, Lia was sneaking home after a party when she saw a woman running in terror. Now a skeleton has been found near the same spot. The police rule it a suicide, but Lia disagrees. Hollywood stunt driver Kaden Vaughn wants to know the truth about his brother’s betrothed who disappeared fifteen years ago. Lia and Kaden join forces to find the killer they believe is still in town.
Lia and Kaden are both likeable and relatable characters who initially seem very different. Lia likes to follow the rules, cares for others, and doesn’t initially seem to be much of a risk taker. Kaden has thrived on the adrenaline-inducing stunts that have been the trademark of his career. However, he has recently retired and started his own business. While Lia bakes when stressed, Kaden tears apart and rebuilds engines. Both of them show hidden depths as they face many challenges in the story. The other characters have varying levels of depth. Some are despicable, but are they killers or just hateful, controlling, and corrupt?
This riveting mystery captivated me from the prologue to its astonishing conclusion. The deeply involved plot has plenty of twists, turns, and surprises. The world-building was excellent. The author does a great job of making readers feel like they are experiencing the cold, snowy, icy conditions of winter in Wisconsin. The descriptive writing was fluid, suspenseful, and moved at a fast face. When two people with no trained investigation skills attempt to solve what they think is a crime, things don’t go smoothly and are often dangerous.
The storyline is grabbed my attention immediately. The characters are compelling, and readers got fantastic insights into their thoughts, behaviors, and actions towards others. This action-packed novel features death, power, corruption, humor, manipulation, ambition, secrets, romance, and much more. There are also references to bullying and domestic violence.
Overall, this was an intense story with likeable characters that kept me turning the pages. I was surprised several times by events. This kept the tension level high throughout the book. There was enough background in the novel that it worked well as a standalone. Those who enjoy crime thrillers, mysteries, and romance may want to check out this novel.
Kensington Books – Zebra and Alexandra Ivy provided a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently expected to be February 21, 2023.