Cold Feet
Brenda Novak
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Cold Feet

Brenda Novak
384 pages
February 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Madison Lieberman has spent the past twelve years championing her father, Ellis Purcell, who had been the police's primary suspect in the "Sandpoint Strangler" serial killer investigation. None of Purcell's family ever believed he was capable of such horror. Yet, after he committed suicide two years ago, the killings stopped. Madison just wants to put the past behind her and focus on her fledgling real estate business and being a single mother to her six-year-old daughter. However, when she finds a box in the crawl space below her parents' home containing clothing items and other memorabilia from the dead women, her world is turned on end and she doesn't know what to do.

Caleb Trovato used to be one of the members of the police task force investigating the Sandpoint Strangler case. After a messy divorce from his wife, Holly, Caleb moved from Seattle to San Francisco and has grown in notoriety as a writer of true crime. When Holly calls in a panic because her sister, Susan, is missing, she begs Caleb to return to Seattle and search for her. Caleb rents Madison's guest house, and the sparks fly between the two immediately. Will Madison fall for Caleb if she knows his involvement in her father's case? Is the Sandpoint Strangler at it again, or is this just a tragic copycat?

Cold Feet is an intense, edge-of-your seat thriller that will have readers turning pages late into the night. Brenda Novak sets the stage and the characters skillfully, drawing the reader immediately into the story. I can usually figure out mysteries long before they are completed, but the ending of Cold Feet came as a true surprise. There are many plausible culprits presented, and the big twist is saved for the shocking finale.

Madison is very believable. Understandably weary from dealing with the long years of upholding her father's innocence, she still remains positive and optimistic. She trusts the best about others in her life, even her stepbrothers, who have many black marks against them. Caleb makes an ideal complement to her personality, and their romance both sizzles and simmers. Even though their courtship evolves quickly, it doesn't feel forced or false.

Cold Feet is my first experience with Brenda Novak, and now I want to read her other books. Even readers who shy away from Harlequin's books should give this a try. Cold Feet is the perfect blend of romance and electrifying suspense that will keep readers coming back for more.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Melissa Parcel, 2004

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