Review: Imbroglio by Heather Dawn Robin

 

 

Imbroglio opens at Hartsfield Jackson international airport. Detective Sergeant Shannon Moore is dropping off a friend when she’s spotted by Carlos Romero. From there the seduction begins and as Shannon’s feelings for Carlos blossom, the story becomes a classic tale of playing hard to get. There’s just one minor (major) detail that Shannon doesn’t reveal.

She’s a lesbian.

Or bisexual. It isn’t clear how Shannon defines her sexuality throughout the book. And don’t be alarmed, this isn’t a spoiler because you find out literally on the first page that she’s in a “situationship” with a woman.

As the relationship between Shannon and Carlos grows more complicated, they soon discover that there are snakes on both sides and neither of them knows who they can trust. A messy encounter between Carlos and Shannon’s ex-girlfriend only add to the problems. Once Carlos confirms that Shannon is attracted to women, he wants nothing else to do with her, believing that she was hired to investigate him. Shannon gradually reconciles that she will no longer have Carlos and turns to the church for comfort when she finds out she’s pregnant.

And that’s when sugar hits the fan!

This story is written in third person omniscient, present tense. The first chapters were jarring as I tried to keep up with the head hopping and pacing, but as I sank deeper into the novel, it grew on me. Towards the end, passages slipped into past tense from time to time, but there’s so much action that you probably won’t notice.

I appreciated a number of things in this novel. I loved that Shannon was a strong woman who stood up for herself, but was also allowed to be vulnerable. This was true for Carlos as well. It was refreshing to see a male character that wasn’t afraid to show his emotional side. The grammar was excellent and there were minimal typos. I haven’t read a book this clean in a long time. Though purple prose-like phrases sometimes interrupted the flow of reading—phrases like  ‘vortex of ecstasy,’ and words like ‘accelerando’ and ‘aqueous’—the writing was generally smooth and enjoyable.

The problem in this novel was that most of the conflict revolved around their romance. Because of this, once the romantic subplot was underway, the book stalled. We didn’t learn much new information, and the characters weren’t progressing. Several chapters were spent with Shannon crying and unsuccessfully devising a plan to distance herself from Carlos. Even Shannon’s occupation as a Detective Sergeant—a great opportunity to insert conflict/drama—served no real purpose in the novel as the only time she went to work was to talk to her friends.

Although this novel features two people that have feelings for each other, it’s missing a crucial element that would make it a true Romance. Read the book to find out what it is. To me, this read more as Inspirational Fiction or Christian Suspense.

The cover is perfect for the story. It might take the reader a moment to understand the significance of two characters reaching for each other in front of a tumultuous background, but that perfectly describes Shannon and Carlos’ relationship with each other and to the outside world. It isn’t as simple as them holding hands in the field or as cold as them not reaching for one another. They have a unique understanding. Once again, read the story to find out what I mean.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves suspense or inspirational fiction. There is enough action and mystery to keep you glued and guessing until the last page. I will be on the lookout for future work from this author.

 

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