Innocent or guilty—there’s nothing perfect about it.
Phoebe Davidson is a good girl who’s been through some bad times. Her life changed forever when she learned that her husband was living a secret life. Now, six years later, she’s just going through the motions of her life, afraid to let anyone in.
When a horrific crime occurs in her home, she meets Logan Matthews, a police detective working the case. When Phoebe herself is charged with the murder, can she trust Logan? Can she, and should she let him into her life?
My spine stiffens.
I thought that I’d imagined the sound, but there it is again. A muffled gurgle…maybe. Then silence.
Not a sound that belongs in my home.
I think of fleeing.
The urge to see where it’s coming from is too great. Besides, it doesn’t sound threatening. How stupid would I feel if I called someone to help me, and it was just the dishwasher overflowing or something equally frightening?
I breathe in deeply, taking my fortification from the air around me and then release it slowly. My heartbeat echoes in my ears.
I take my first steps, moving gingerly toward the back of the house. Goosebumps wash over my arms.
The sound echoes again.
Why am I being so ridiculous? Get your butt in there and see what the problem is.
It probably isn’t even that loud, anyway. It just seems that way because it doesn’t belong. I expel a breath and get on with it. My courage renewed, I ignore the bumps of warning on my arms, take the turn into the kitchen…and fall to my knees.
Hysteria bubbles to the surface of my being.
My breaths now escape as rough sobs.
A black cloud forms around my vision, but I push it away as I try to assess the sight before me.
There’s blood—so much blood—in pools and smears on my white floor.
And a man.
Just lying there.
Something protruding from his chest.
I choke back the bile that’s building in my throat. It’s too late to turn back. I crawl to him slowly on shaky limbs. I sway, dizzy from the sight before me.
His chest rises and falls, revealing the source of the sound.
Is he alive?
Perfectly Innocent was the first book I’ve read from Ms. Lassiter. For the most part the suspense of the story was nicely done–events built upon each other subtly, ratcheting up the danger for Phoebe and Logan as the story progressed. It really wasn’t obvious who the villain was for much of the story–generally speaking, this is a good thing; however, when we do find out “whodunnit” there really weren’t as many clues leading us to the suspect as I would have liked so it felt kind of out in left field. Not totally–the character did have motivation–but the big reveal really didn’t give me any “aha!” moments like some mysteries do. (Aha! That’s why he/she did/said/meant by that…!)
I liked Phoebe and Logan together–they had some nice chemistry going on and made a cute couple. Their attraction had a hint of insta- to it, but overall it wasn’t wholly unbelievable. Iwanted them to get together, so it was easy to go along with it.
Phoebe was a Twizzler fiend, which automatically makes her a kindred spirit. She gets Twizzler bouquets from two guys! How does one get so lucky? 😉
The dead body in her kitchen/being arrested for a crime she didn’t commit part is a downer, of course. But… Twizzlers!
At times Logan’s character lost my sympathy a bit for wishy-washiness. A few times he made Phoebe believe he was in her corner only to turn on her (not completely, but enough that I would have had a hard time forgiving him for it) when some evidence showed up that might point to her guilt. In the next scene, though, he’d be sure she was innocent again. Make up your mind, man! A seasoned detective should be a bit steadier in his convictions.
The story lost a bit of its tautness at the end–things were resolved a bit too quickly and easily; a secondary character does an abrupt about-face in regards to his feelings about both Logan and Phoebe without quite enough reason for it; two police detectives were awfully fast to go running to the rescue without any real evidence that a rescue was needed (it was, but all we had to prove it was another character who suddenly said, “*character name here* has reason to want to hurt Phoebe!”); and the villain, though they did have some motive, was just a teensy bit over-the-top with the drama of it all. It felt just a tad bit far-fetched.
Still, I did enjoy the book; up until the end it had my complete attention and even though the end was a little less than I’d still pick up another book from this author without hesitation.
I liked the dual narrators for this romantic suspense novel. Both did a nice job with their characters; the narrator who voiced Phoebe added in little extras–a small laugh, for example–that added a touch of realism to the performance. At times the editing (or whatever the audio equivalent is) of the finished product needed a little more tweaking–a few times we switched voices a bit too abruptly. A small pause would have made the transition less jarring. It only happened a few times, though–overall the audio experience was a very pleasant one.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
About Tamra Lassiter
I live outside Washington, D.C. with my wonderfully supportive husband and two daughters, one of which is approaching her teenage years. Help us all! If that isn’t enough, we have a Great Dane and an English Bulldog to keep us on our toes. It’s crazy around here and I love every minute of it!
Writing is my third career. I didn’t set out to be a writer, it was just meant to be. My Mechanical Engineering degree from Virginia Tech prepared me well for my first career as an Engineer/Program Manager. My second career was in Human Resources. Long story, but I figured it out. I believe the best start for a writing career is to be a reader first and I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. I’ve loved to read ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew mystery in the fourth grade. Now I love reading just about everything, but I don’t read sad books and I don’t watch sad movies either for that matter, no matter how many awards they’ve won. Life’s too short and who needs all that strife to bring us down?
Many of my words have been penned late into the evening, which explains why I’ve never viewed whatever television show you recommend to me. I would, however, love to hear your recommendations for a great read!