Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Crimson Eve
by Brandilyn Collins

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"Not only does Collins let readers into her characters' heads to experience the action, she pulls us into their hearts and emotions. Who needs movies with this kind of writing?"

At the opening of Crimson Eve, realtor Carla Radling leads potential buyer, David Thornby, through Edna San’s old mansion. Taken in by his British charm, Carla can’t help but daydream about romantic adventures with David in the big house overlooking Kanner Lake. Her dream shatters when Thornby points the barrel of a handgun inches from her chest.

Thornby’s a hired hit man who can’t afford to fail. Rage devours him when Carla floods his face with pepper spray. She got away. For the moment. Good thing he cast a wide net to keep her from fleeing too far. No matter where she runs, she can’t hide. Thornby calls her cell laying out his plan to kill anyone to whom she approaches for help. Her escape and elusion makes the hunt more personal. The lives of his wife and child depend on Carla’s death.

Carla tries to cover her tracks and figure out who could possibly want her dead. A journal from her teen years is the only logical clue. The answers are shocking. The stakes are high. High enough to affect the 2008 presidential election.

Seatbelt suspense author Brandilyn Collins needs to think up a stronger restraint system if she hopes to continues on this path of teeth-chattering, mind-freezing prose. Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen. The pacing is so intense there was little opportunity to rest. Collins crafts an unparalleled cat and mouse game wrought with mystery and surprise.

Her characters are so real I forgot I was reading a book. I jumped at every creak and groan in my house, expecting a hit man to blast his way through the living room window. Collins’ powerful word choices create the illusion that you, the reader, are in the midst of the action. Not only does she let readers into her characters’ heads to experience the action, she pulls us into their hearts and emotions. Who needs movies with this kind of writing?

And the subplot of Carla’s past collides with the main plot giving readers an adrenaline rush not even a case of extra-large, sugar-laden, super-caffeinated energy drinks can mimic.

Each Kanner Lake book stands alone, so you don’t have to read the previous installments (Violet Dawn & Coral Moon) to get the full effect. I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did. And, believe it or not, there’s one more book after Crimson Eve. Will this reviewer survive the extreme suspense of the next novel to write about it?

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.