I’m slowly increasing my repertoire of Australian authors and (in all honesty) feel bad I haven’t done so sooner. My latest addition is former Sydneysider DB Tait, who also writes erotic fiction as Keziah Hill and contemporary romance (as Deborah Tait). She’s previously worked in the criminal justice system—experience she puts to good use in her new release, Cold Deception.
Julia Taylor’s being released from prison having served 10 years for a murder which some saw as warranted and others as vigilantism. Now 30 she’s returning home to her eccentric artist mother Eleanor and stepmother Dee in the Blue Mountains.
Julia soon finds that putting her past behind her is not as easy as she’d hoped. The dodgy police officers responsible for her arrest are no longer with the police service but still prominent in the small community; and Julia’s much-younger sister Blossom returns home having had her own encounter with the local police thanks to her drug-dealing boyfriend.
We quickly learn that there’s more to the incident which sent Julia to prison so many years before. Determined to protect her family however, her only option is to maintain her silence about other events of that time.
Not helping her cause is Detective Inspector Dylan Andrews. Although Julia’s experience with law enforcement has been far-less-than-positive she finds herself attracted to this newcomer but forced to keep him at arm’s length when he wants to dig into a past she’d prefer stay hidden.
I occasionally struggle with romantic suspense which relies a too little on the former and less on the latter, however Tait achieves a good balance. The plot itself seemed as if it was going to be predictable but a few late few twists and turns added some complexity.
A strength of the novel were Tait’s characters—Julia and her supporting cast of family and friends. Indeed, I really really liked lead protagonist Julia and felt as if I came to know her well.
Tait also set the scene beautifully. I noted that she lives in the Blue Mountains and her description (early on as Julia returns home) and throughout the novel really reflected Julia’s (and obviously Tait’s) passion for the area.
I did feel the editing process could have been tighter (though I did have an advance copy of the book). I’m not sure if some major sections were chopped and changed but a few names / incidents were introduced which came from left field (but later explained) so I found myself a tad bamboozled on a few occasions.
However… none of those loose threads really impacted on the plot’s progression. All in all, a good read and I look forward to more from Tait.
Cold Deception by DB Tait, published by Momentum Digital Publishing, is now available.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes via NetGalley from the publisher.