Having written my own first romantic suspense, I'm ashamed to say it's not a genre I read very often. To rectify that, I chose to read The Belvedere Club by the very talented Nicola Trwst and this is what I'm reviewing this week.
The heroine, Briana is a likeable young Irish woman who has had more than her fair share of slings and arrows hurled at her, yet still manages to hold onto her sanity and her sense of humour. "Everyone I love dies," she tells Dusty midway through the story after hitting one of her low points. "I'm like an Irish plague on two legs." I found it impossible not to feel sympathy for this woman once I saw beneath the bright and sometimes brittle front she puts on to keep her pain at bay.
As a photojournalist, Briana is called out by her colleague and best friend, Haylee, to Marin County where the more senior reporter has stumbled upon a story of 'Pulitzer' proportions involving the Belvedere Club. This is a rather quaint ladies' country club with closely observed rules and traditions. Unfortunately, by the time Briana arrives, Haylee has been murdered (at the club) and Briana, with the help and sometimes hindrance of the quirky and aloof sheriff, Dusty, a practising Buddhist, sets out to unravel the curious leads left by Haylee to discover the story and identify the killer.
Nicola Trwst is an accomplished storyteller, leading the reader through the investigation process through Briana's eyes so that it unfolds before us as it does before her. The clever twists and turns the story takes is exactly what make it 'unputdownable'. There is no superfluity in this story. It is beautifully and vividly told and the reader is kept guessing and working throughout. And that's just as a great story should be. On top of the gripping mystery is the heart-warming friendship that gradually unfolds between Briana and Dusty. It isn't a simple romance - it's something rather more satisfying (although I've already played out the sequel in my head so I know what happens between them - and, believe me, that is romantic!)
When I downloaded this story, I hoped I would like it, but I never expected to enjoy it quite as much as I did. A thoroughly good read and one I would highly recommend. It's totally worthy of my full five cute kitties award.
Marin County California, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, boasts home to The Belvedere Club, an exclusive woman’s club that makes Augusta National Golf Club look like a community center. High on a hill overlooking the majestic San Francisco Bay, Old World charm mingles with New World money while perfumed doyennes hide secrets and share tasty gossip. Tree-sitters need not apply. Haylee Macklin, journalist with Washington DC’s District Dispatch, interviews the club’s Chanel clad president and other society page matrons for a tell-all exposé.
But Haylee turns up dead. Her dearest friend, Briana Kaleigh, photojournalist for the same daily, dashes across the country braving a snowstorm, a high-strung poodle, and the cultural divide to find the killer. When Briana uncovers an internet porno ring, she leads the police astray, almost closing the homicide investigation for good. Briana first alienates the Buddhist sheriff working the case, but gradually wins him over with her Irish charm. After many dead-ends and a second murder, the only hope to find the killer is a blind bag lady spouting clichés.
About the Author
Nicola Trwst has a gypsy heart. She currently resides inDiscover Nicola’s work at www.nicolatrwst.com.
but has lived in Virginia, Georgia, France,
She loves languages and speaks several, including Pig Latin. Due to an
overactive imagination, her stories thread many genres such as mystery,
thriller, paranormal, and contemporary. Her short stories have appeared in several