THE HEART-SHAPED MURDERS - Denise N. Wheatley
A West Coast Crime Story (Book #1)
Wayne Jordan (B+)
REVIEW: With THE HEART-SHAPED MURDERS, Denise N. Wheatley pens a novel which reflects all the good qualities of the Harlequin Intrigue line. It’s the first book in her West Coast Crime Story Series and after reading this entry, I am looking forward to reading future books in the series.
When forensic investigator, Lena Love, is attacked and left with an incomplete heart carved on her chest (by an elusive serial killer), she returns to her hometown, Clemmington, California, to recuperate, but she feels personal shame because of the error in judgement she made. Despite being on leave, catching the serial killer is still her priority and the sicko does follow her to Clemmington. However, being back ‘home’ comes with its own complications. Firstly, the conflict which exists between she and her family is still present. They have not accepted her move to LA to work and even now, she is back ‘home’, that conflict intensifies. Next, she has to face the man she was expected to marry. Lena had put her career first. Like Lena’s family, David Hudson, her former boyfriend, still hurts over her ‘rejection’ of his love.
I enjoyed several aspects of this book. The mystery was a solid one with twists and turns that kept me wondering how it was going to end. In a good romantic suspense, the suspense must drive the story and Wheatley not only does this but does it well. The villain is heartless but helps to make the story a compelling one. While I like the family dynamic, I was a bit annoyed by the family’s attempt to control Lena’s choices. In fact, her leaving Clemmington allows her to grow as an individual. However, at the end everything, works out well and they all get what they want.
Although, I did have a bit of a problem with choices Lena makes at the beginning of the investigation, she is a strong confident individual and passionate about her work. Her determination to find the killer is laudable, especially after he attacks her. On the other hand, David is strong and clear-headed, and I saw him as the perfect foil for Lena. I felt his frustration as he tried to protect Lena, while still allowing her to be independent.
The chemistry between Lena and David is strong and who doesn’t love a second change romance? Without hesitation, I recommend THE HEART-SHAPED MURDERS. It is a solid romantic suspense that fans of the genre will definitely enjoy!
19th June 2022 | firstname.lastname@example.org