Reluctant Smuggler by Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Jill Elizabeth Nelson has done it again. I won a copy of her first book in the "To Catch a Thief" series (Reluctant Burglar) and I have been hooked ever since. Restrictions on my time being what they are, and Jill's amazing speed with cranking out books has meant I have not had the chance to read book two (Reluctant Runaway) yet, but I fully intend to. There's no way books one and two could be so wonderful and book two not be great as well.
Reluctant Smuggler is full of exotic locations which Nelson surely must have visited. She has an eye for detail to pull the reader in and make you see, feel, and experience the setting in a very real way. I am not being trite when I say this book is the next best thing to a honeymoon in Cancún. If you can't afford plane tickets, grab this book and go to a tanning salon to read and you really will feel like you've been to Mexico. But be careful, because Nelson also descibes in chilling detail (pun intended) a Boston blizzard. I would not want to be wearing a bathing suit while reading those parts of her tale or I'd end up with a serious case of gooseflesh!
The settings are fabulous but not in any way distracting to the story. Reluctant Smuggler is a romantic suspense and it delivers on both counts. Our heroes, FBI Special Agent Anthony Lucano and his security expert fiancée Desiree Jacobs are a wonderfully well-matched and adventurous couple whom I would love to talk to at a party. Wait. Scratch that. If I had my druthers, I'd BE Desiree! There's only one short passage in the book where I wouldn't want to be in her shoes, but I won't tell you about it, lest I spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say that Nelson's characters are three-dimensional, virtuous, and exciting folks to spend time with.
Great settings. Great characters. But wait, that's not all. Jill doesn't stop there. She's got a compelling suspense plot, full of twists and surprises. Murder. Theft of historical artifacts. Human trafficking. Drugs. Gangs. Dirty business rivals. And though sometimes the subject matter is grave, Jill also mixes in plenty of humor and compassion. This is a rare and wonderful combination that will keep me wanting to read more of her books. Please tell me there's going to be another adventure in the making for Desiree and Tony and another book in the "To Catch a Thief" series.
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