#Suspects by #DanielleSteel #NetGalley #ARCReview #June2022Release #BookReview

From Goodreads: “A dedicated CIA agent becomes an unexpected ally to a woman haunted by the kidnapping of her family, in this thrilling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Danielle Steel.

Theodora Morgan is fashion royalty. Founder of a wildly popular online shopping service, she is one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, although she prefers to keep a low profile, especially over the last months. It was a year ago when the unthinkable struck her family, and her husband, industry mogul Matthieu Pasquier, and their son were kidnapped and held for ransom—a nightmare that ended in tragedy.

The case has gone cold, despite evidence linking the crime to Matthieu’s Russian competitors. Theo has reluctantly gone back to work running her company. On the flight to a launch party for one of her highly anticipated pop-up shops in New York City, she crosses paths with high-society networker Pierre de Vaumont. Theo politely invites him to her event—unaware that Pierre has been flagged by the CIA.

Senior supervising CIA operative Mike Andrews investigates Pierre’s suspicious Russian contacts and clears him to enter the country, but when he realizes that Theodora Morgan is on the same flight, he becomes concerned for her safety. Posing as a lawyer, Mike begins a covert mission—starting with Theo’s opening party. When Mike and Theo meet, their connection is instant, but Theo is completely unaware of Mike’s true objective or identity… or that the life she is rebuilding is in grave danger.”

I’m always up for a Danielle Steel book. I devoured her books when I was in junior high and high school and enjoyed the 1990’s TV movie adaptations. But I stepped away from Steel’s book for years because they had a certain amount of predictability. In the past year or so, I’ve been picking up her new releases. The books are usually easy reads that don’t require a lot of concentration. In short, I read Steel’s books to escape, the perfect beach read.

Suspects (Amazon) is a different kind of Danielle Steel novel. It’s romantic suspense, which is something I’m not used to reading from her. The beautiful affluent people are in the story, but the book starts off with the tragic kidnapping and killing of Theo’s husband and only child. The story picks up a year later, with the trail of the kidnappers cold and Theo’s life is still in danger since the kidnappers did not get the full amount of ransom money they asked for, yet authorities aren’t working too diligently on the case.

The introduction of Mike, the CIA agent, happens quickly, as does the immediate attraction between him and Theo. I had a hard time believing someone as guarded as Theo could open up to someone so quickly. Yes, I know it has been a year since the death of her husband and son, but she was clearly still grieving. I know grief takes many forms, and that it can take people a long time to get over the loss of a loved one, so it didn’t seem genuine that Theo could just fall for this “lawyer” based upon a short conversation.

As for the title itself, there really weren’t suspects, only one that was featured. It wasn’t really suspenseful because we knew who the bad guy was from the outset, it was a matter of finding the henchmen, which only happened when they tried to kidnap Theo late in the book and some of them were caught. Prior to that, all the authorities kept saying there was no information to go on and it was impossible to trace the kidnappers. So not a lot of investigation goes on until the end of the book.

As with all Danielle Steel books, there’s a lot of repetition. It’s as if the author thinks the reader can’t remember key facts as the book goes along and has to repeat them many more times. Sometimes it happens in the next paragraph, sometimes the next page. That’s one thing I don’t like about Steel’s books. I don’t think many other authors could get away with it. I imagine her editors make very few suggestions of edits because it’s “the Danielle Steel.” However, I know that going into any of her books, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

I won’t say I didn’t like the book, but as with all Danielle Steel books, I found it unbelievable. The characters never have to worry about money because they have tons of it, and they’re always strikingly beautiful and handsome. Everything works out for them in the end. But I suppose that’s why I occasionally pick up a Steel book: for an easy, mindless read that lets me escape reality.

I received and advanced reader’s copy of Suspects from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.

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