Thursday, August 11, 2011

Devil's Rock by Gerri Hill

Publisher:            Bella Books

Gerri Hill resurrects a villain from the Tori Hunter books to set up another murder mystery in Arizona.  Andrea Sullivan left the crime ridden streets of Los Angeles to find a quieter life as a deputy in Sedona, AZ.  She hopes to forget a personal tragedy as she patrols among the red rocks that make the spiritual community famous.  Instead Andrea finds herself dealing with a serial murderer of college students and her department doesn't have the resources to properly pursue the case.  The FBI sends Agent Cameron Ross to assist in the investigation.  Ross has her own ghosts she's dealing with and her intention is to catch the killer and move on to the next case.  Neither of them is looking for a relationship, but they have to work very closely together.  Stress, danger and mutual attraction will cause each of them to reassess her future.

Hill is particularly adept at creating strong female characters.  In Devil's Rock she has two complex women who have been seriously damaged in earlier events, yet still able to perform at a high level of efficiency.  Andrea and Cameron are smart and extremely capable, strong and vulnerable, like two sides of the same coin, but their emotional baggage is making both of their lives unsatisfying.  Hill is able to develop an intricate murder plot while letting the reader watch them try to heal each other.  The best part is that both of the women are believable.  They aren't perfect and they struggle to make things work.  Sometimes they make mistakes and the pain each is feeling comes off of the pages.    

Gerri Hill has written a number of novels that vary in quality.  Devil's Rock is one of the better ones.  The story is predictable, but the characters are appealing and well developed.  The suspense around the murders remains strong throughout the book.  This one is worth a few hours of reading.

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