Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chloe's Heart by O.M. Aguilar

Publisher:              CreateSpace

If you like a mystery that isn't a disguise for a romance, this is the book for you.

If you like a mystery that keeps you guessing what the ending will be, this is the book for you.

If you like a book that is populated with characters you're going to want to know more about, this is the book for you.

If you like a book that has an absolutely perfect closing scene, this is definitely the book for you.

Chloe's Heart is the first volume in the Shana Niguel mystery series.  It introduces the reader to private investigator Shana, her devoted and somewhat zany friend Guadalupe LeBlanc, rancher Kate Wolf and an intriguing supporting cast of family and friends.  Shana and Kate meet literally over the body of Kate's murdered friend Chloe.  Though they feel an immediate attraction it has to take a backseat when Kate's aunt hires Shana to investigate the case and possibly clear the man Kate believes to be the murderer.  Through twists and turns Shana will try to follow the clues that sometimes conflict and often don't fit together.  The case will test the ties of friendship and family that mean so much to everyone involved, but the ultimate cost may be the hope that Shana and Kate have for a relationship.  If Shana solves the mystery the way her employer hopes she will, then it might cost her Kate.  Integrity battles with emotions as Shana tries to stay true to her profession even if it means breaking her own heart.

Aguilar has created a true mystery story that has a romance in the background.  Though the relationship growing between Shana and Kate is always there, it doesn't drive the story.  There is also a great deal of humor injected through the friendship that Shana and Guad share.  The reader will quickly realize that Shana is sometimes a lost soul and Guad, with all of her outrageous behavior, is the rock that keeps her centered.  Although Guad is straight, the reader will understand completely when Kate is confused that Shana and Guad might be lovers.  Their relationship is actually closer than that. 

What makes the book a winner though is the mystery.  The reader is presented with an opening scenario that seems a closed case; then Aguilar sprinkles in bits of information designed to take the reader in different directions.  Even if the reader begins to suspect the truth, the story will still draw you into other paths.  Not until the end do all of the pieces come together to reveal the truth.

If all of the books in this series are this good, then an extremely entertaining new author has been added to the mystery genre.  The fact that her main characters are lesbians is just icing on the cake.

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