Sunday, September 15, 2019

Review - Dark Memento by Katie Reus

Dark Memento
by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

Dark Memento was one of those stories that had me torn between flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next so I could unravel the mystery and forcing myself to slow down to immerse myself fully in the pages to appreciate the masterfully written story that Katie Reus has put together.

The chilling flashbacks from Serenity’s run in with a serial killer set the stage for the background of this story and were woven into the current day mystery perfectly, making it easy for me to be drawn right into the events of the story as they unfolded. Both Serenity and Lucas were wonderful characters and I loved that the story opened with them already having such a solid foundation of a relationship – one that Serenity has forced to remain just a friendship since she carries scars from not only the loss of her sister, but also a marriage that had her feeling lost and out of control. Even though Lucas has made his intentions known, he’s willing to be whatever Serenity needs, even if that is just a friend. What I loved most about the romance is that Serenity knows what is holding her back from giving herself to Lucas, and even though she continues to keep him at arm’s length romantically, she never leads him on or makes promises that she might not be able to keep. And when events unfold that puts Serenity in danger, I loved watching Lucas step up to protect her and her daughter and do whatever was needed to keep them safe.
“It’s okay to be scared. Just don’t hide yourself away and live a muted life because of fear. You literally survived hell. You deserve to live you life in freaking Technicolor. That bastard took a lot from you. Don’t let him take everything else.”
As the first book in the series there were a lot of characters that were introduced which may have been one of the reasons that figuring out who the bad guy was took me right to the end. The town of Verona Bay has may interesting and colorful characters, many of which seem to be keeping secrets of their own, and holds the promise of more exciting stories in this series. Lucas’s family were all awesome and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for his brothers, and Serenity’s friend Adeline also deserves her own happy ever after from the events in this book as well as whatever the secrets from her past turn out to be.

There was a lot going on in this book but Katie Reus always has the ability to weave a story together in such a way that it is easy to follow but still keeps the mystery and suspense in play. She always creates characters that are multi-dimensional and knows just how to bring emotion onto the page.

Call this one a mystery, a thriller, or a romantic suspense, this one checks off all those boxes and deserves a spot on anyone’s TBR!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book I received from the author.

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