Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#Book #Review...Outside the Lines

“A fascinating story of modern greed, betrayal, and revenge. The apparent murder of a housemaid in a ritzy part of Los Angeles sets LAPD Detective Joel Jovanic onto the dangerous trail of ecoterrorists, while on the other side of the globe in London, his lover, Claudia Rose finds herself threatened. In a short time, both situations coalesce, and Jovanic and Rose, a forensic handwriting expert, join forces. The stakes rise to an exciting ending that reveals a long-standing injustice—and a twist no reader will see coming. Enormously entertaining, this terrific mystery is one you’ll want to linger with.” 
Gayle Lynds, New York Times Bestselling Author of “The Assassins” 

What should have been a routine afternoon on the witness stand for Forensic Handwriting Expert Claudia Rose turns into a shocking assault that leaves her bruised and bloodied. Following on the heels of a series of other traumatic events, the attack sends Claudia to the brink of a breakdown. 

Her fiancĂ©, L.A.P.D. Homicide Detective Joel Jovanic, learns of the attack while leading a homicide investigation into a mailbox bomb. An innocent housekeeper in the tony Venice neighborhood is dead and the homeowner is the CEO of a major pesticide-producing corporation that has been targeted in the past. When a notebook found in a geocache near the crime scene leads to the protest group People for Safe Food, Jovanic needs Claudia to identify the handwriting of a suspected eco-terrorist. 

Though she may have recovered physically from the assault, weeks later Claudia’s fears continue to plague her. Desperate to get away, she accepts an invitation to lecture in the UK, but her trip turns into a nightmare when she runs afoul of both the FBI and New Scotland Yard. Jovanic’s homicide case has followed her to London where she finds herself unexpectedly allied with the chief suspect. 

“An expert witness makes for expert storytelling in “Outside the Lines.” ” 
Simon Wood, Author of “The One That Got Away” 

Wowwww! What an amazing read! This novel sets the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride that you do not want to get off! My two favorite characters, Claudia Rose and Joel Jovanic, had their hands full in this whodunit. 

An innocent housemaid going about her daily duties could not have foreseen what she was about to experience. As she went outside to gather the mail for her employers, while they were away on vacation, she noticed something odd inside the mailbox. As any inquisitive mind would want to know why there appeared to be toilet paper stuffed inside. Reaching to remove the paper, the next thing this housemaid recalls is a loud explosion. What was going off? Why was she lying on the lawn? Unfortunately for her, that’s the last waking thought she would ever have. 

Enters LAPD Homicide Detective Joel Jovanic. He was briefed on the murder of this housemaid who laid out before him. Was this some type of prank gone horribly wrong by some over-anxious teenagers? Detective Jovanic had no idea, but one thing was for certain—he wasn’t going to rest until he found out who murdered this woman. While Joel was busying himself with this fresh murder, his fiancĂ©, Claudia Rose, the forensics handwriting expert, was in court testifying on behalf of the state’s evidence against a thug who had murdered a police officer. She was lending her expertise to the court on a handwriting sample of the accused. What should have been an ordinary court proceeding ended up leaving Claudia in a battered and bruised mess by the defendant. He wasn’t going to have this woman implicate him and send him away for the rest of his life, and he literally attacked Claudia in the most brutal way a human being can be assaulted. Luckily she made it out of the situation with her life, but mentally the attack softened her approach on how she viewed testifying in court and humans in general. Both of these events caused the two love birds to question their own relationship and cause major mayhem for them both. Would these horrific events destroy what they’ve built up for so many years? You’ll have to read to find out. 

Lowe is an amazing writer. She paints a colorful world of words. Claudia and Joel are such rich and bold characters who have very interesting careers. I first met them in Inkslinger’s Ball, which was an outstanding read as well. I have never read a series quite like this one. This story was such a page turner; I was sorry when it ended. When you read characters this real, you truly forget they are fictional. I feel like I know Claudia and Joel personally, and I suppose I do, since their personalities were created with such finesse. 

If you haven’t read the Forensics Handwriting Series, I urge you to get them and start. They work as standalones, so you’ll feel comfortable reading them out of order. Lowe’s writing puts you front and center in the story. You will soak up the words and quickly keep moving forward to find out what happens next. Her chapters are short, sweet and definitely to the point. And boy, what a point she’s made. Outstanding read! I could not get enough. I can’t wait for the next book in the series! 

Mello & June gives Outside the Lines five stars inside and outside the lines and as many lines you can draw! The novel is on sale wherever books are sold. Please make sure you get yourself a copy, or download immediately. This is not one of those books to keep on your to-read shelf. Start now! Great read! I’m a huge Sheila Lowe fan!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Book Reviewer
Blog Mistress:  Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

Makes for a Great Book Club Discussion!