‘Shiver’ is perfect suspense

Lezlie Patterson / McClatchy-Tribune News Service /

Published Jan 6, 2013 at 04:00AM

“Shiver” by Karen Robards (Gallery Books, 400 pgs., $25)

No one does heart-stopping, nail-biting, riveting romantic suspense better than Karen Robards.

“Shiver” is no exception.

This is just an outstanding book, well-written with an enthralling story, engaging characters and spellbinding suspense.

Sam is a single mother, struggling to pay her bills and raise her almost-5-year-old son. She drives a tow truck, repossessing cars during the night while her son sleeps.

Danny is an undercover FBI agent, posing as a corrupt federal agent-turned-federal witness. Danny’s job is to draw the bad guys’ attention, keeping the witness safe and alive to testify against a nasty cartel.

Danny does his job too well.

Sam unwittingly rescues Danny from certain torture and death, but in the process turns her life into a nightmare. Suddenly, Sam and her son’s lives are in danger, and she finds herself in a surreal situation hiding from evil men and not knowing who to trust.

The fact that Danny can’t reveal his true identity doesn’t help matters.

While you really, really want Danny to confess his real identity and reveal to Sam that he is one of the good guys she can trust, Robards does a good job of making the impossibility of that seem real. So while Sam is incredulous that she’s falling in love with a criminal, there is nothing Danny can do but let her think that.

Without any spoilers, here is the premise: Danny, Sam and her son Tyler spend most of the book avoiding the bad guys. Danny falls in love with Sam, but tries to refrain from showing it so he can keep his focus on keeping them all alive and safe. Sam falls in love with Danny, but tries to fight it because she thinks he’s a criminal facing jail time.

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