This is a second-time around, romantic suspense story. Bay Bishop has moved back home to small-town Michigan with her husband Derrick to start an upscale restaurant. It is a success in so many ways. But then Derrick is killed in a hit-and-run right outside the restaurant’s back door. The investigation takes an abrupt turn when a connection to drug trafficking is found. Enter Greg Musgrove, narcotics detective and the high school boyfriend who ghosted on her nearly 20 years ago.
Bottom line: Dead in an Alley is for you if you like second chance, redemption romances, culinary morsels, and rich storylines that immerse you in the lives of the main characters.
Strengths of the story. The novel weaves together storylines: investigation into Derrick’s death; Bay’s grief over the loss of her husband and coming to grips with the sham that was her life; Greg juggling work, a new business venture, and the realization he stilled loved Bay; Bay’s conflicted reaction to being in close quarters with Greg again; and Bay’s issues with her parents and siblings. The lines are influenced by each other, which makes for a compelling, over arching story. The main characters, Bay and Greg, are likable and the main supporting characters add texture. Ms. Michalove culinary knowledge shines through and if she cooks as well as she describes in here, I want to go to her house.
Where the story fell short of ideal: The logic, my #1 test, was reasonable but not strong. I walked away with questions about why characters would do certain things – primarily the culprit and side characters, not Bay and Greg. With so many storylines, it isn’t surprising there are a lot of characters and keeping them all straight was a challenge I failed at a few times.
I haven’t decided where I fall on the start of the romance itself. Being romantic suspense, it is obvious where it is going. But Bay loves her husband. She is truly devastated when he is killed. It is hard for me to buy the quick turn to the one that got away. Yet, this is romantic suspense and that spark has to happen quickly, it’s just part of the game. Likely this is one place where readers will fall into different camps: didn’t notice; noticed but no problem with it; noticed and didn’t love it but got over it; and noticed and didn’t get over it. I enjoyed the book and am glad I finished it.
Listen to the first chapter on my Toe Tag page and everywhere you get your podcasts. Then download Dead in the Alley by Sharon Michalove for the rest of the story. DEAD IN AN ALLEY was released August 10, 2022 from Coffee and Éclair Books and is available from Amazon and other book retailers. From July 18-August 12, 2022 Dead in an Alley is on tour with Partners in Crime. Check out the tour link for more content and information https://www.partnersincrimetours.net/dead-in-the-alley-by-sharon-michalove/