Saturday, July 9, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Old Acquaintances by Ursula Gorman

Old Acquaintances
Ursula Gorman

Release Date: December 14th, 2010
Publisher: Tate
Page Count: 140
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Romancing the Book, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both)

Two years after her mom's death, Rissa is finally ready to get on with her life. But someone else has different plans for her...

Rissa Neil is confronted with an unknown enemy who turns her life into a living nightmare. She tries to convince herself that everything happening around her—feelings of being watched, strange phone calls when she's away—is just coincidence, but she can't fool herself for long. Finally, when two old acquaintances of hers are murdered, she turns to her best friend, Matt, for help. But who can she rely on when he suddenly jumps to the top of the suspect list?

With only a few leads to go on and nowhere to run, Rissa wants to use herself for bait, but the police want to put her in protective custody. While they butt heads, things heat up as the body count rises and the suspect list dwindles. Detective Stone, a respected detective who lives up to his name, is soon assigned the case, but will he be able to solve the murders of Rissa's old acquaintances before the killer decides its time to end the game and destroy Rissa for good?
What Stephanie Thinks: Mystery and suspense set your skin on fire in Gorman's debut, Old Acquaintances. The drama presented towards Rissa is frightening because of how far the criminal goes to ruin her life, and also because of how realistic the situation is.

Innocent citizens are brutally murdered, and the sequence seems random, until one link is discovered, that connects them all: Rissa. The victims are all somehow related to her, whether they be childhood friends, neighbors, or people in her daily life (such as her hairdresser); all old acquaintances.

Somehow, Rissa knows these slayings are happening because of her. Even worse, she knows this serial killer is targeting her specifically for a reason. But what reason could that be? She doesn't have any enemies that she knows of.

Old Acquaintances is thrillingly fast-paced and unexpectedly charming. The romance could have been left out, however. I mean, I enjoy a starry-eyed romance every now and then, but it's plain annoying when squeezed in with the suspense of the crime. It's also one of the impractical aspects of this short novel. Stone, the handsome detective, and Rissa fall in love during the case, where Stone is the active detective, and Rissa is the protected victim and witness; their relationship seems highly unprofessional and unlikely. Rissa also has the chaste "no sex until marriage", and claims to be in love with Stone as soon as the case is over. Like I said, I love romance, but even to me, that sort of "love" is a bit farfetched.

Gorman's style is effortless; the story moves quickly and the plot is laid out step by step, making it a little predictable. Regardless, I enjoyed this mystery novel; there were times I smiled at the cheesiness of Rissa and Stone's romance, and times I shivered at the creepiness of the murderer's path. For those of you who like a blend of clean romance and spine-tingling suspense, Old Acquaintances is the perfect read.

Stephanie Loves: "When [Stone] found [Rissa] on his bed and in his clothes, his heart flipped.

Radical Rating: 
8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥