Saturday, October 18, 2008

THE INFERNO COLLECTION by Jacqueline Seewald

Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Five Star Hardcover
ISBN# 9781594145766

Rating: 4 Enchantments

An inferno collection is a collection of literary works deemed inappropriate for the times, morally disreputable, and unfit for perusal.

University reference librarian Kim Reynolds knows such a collection pertains to Victorian times and other eras of strictness. It certainly has no place in the modern world as she knows it. However, her friend Lorette Campbell feels her life may be in danger because she is inquiring about an inferno collection in the library where Kim works. When Lorette is later found dead, Kim is convinced her friend was killed, yet the police write it off as suicide.

From here on, Kim’s quiet life takes a turn. In wanting to find Lorette’s killer, secrets spring from the woodwork, paranoia clouds her every move, and a clairvoyant ability she possesses starts to shadow her every thought and moment. Amidst all these happenings, Kim also has to come to grips with a troubled past she tries hard to repress. And when not one, but two, handsome men appear interested in a relationship with her, she is left reeling.

For whom will her heart beat faster? Charming, easygoing professor Don Bernard, or dark and dangerously sexy police lieutenant Mike Gardner? To make things worse, Kim knows there is a psychic connection between her and the lieutenant, and for someone who has tried very hard to deny this clairvoyant side, only confusion and havoc can result. Yet, most importantly, Kim is out to find out who is behind Lorette’s murder.

Ms. Seewald knows how to keep a reader in suspense. Clues, revelations, and red herrings alike are disclosed in such a smooth manner that I was swept through. She intermingles threads of suspense, mystery, troubled past and family ties in a harmonious tapestry, rendering an effortless flow to the plot and its developments. The world of the university was portrayed in stark realism, and the characters, especially Kim, leap from the page. The reader can also easily become immersed in Kim, follow her path through unravelling the murder of Lorette, as well as coming to grips with the person she really is. Professor Bernard provided much needed relief from the tension of the mystery, and his charm and wit is enough to win over any woman. Lieutenant Gardner sounds like a true hero of modern times.

The only aspects which jarred me were the countless references to literary texts and quotes. Under some instances, it felt like a somewhat erudite knowledge of the classics was needed to grasp the meaning of the allusions. I also wanted to see more of the romance, but the author does well to bring fulfilment to her heroine in the way it happens in the book.

Overall, an enthralling read.

July 2007

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