by Lina Gardiner
Genres: Mystery, Suspense Thriller
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Raven Gale can’t put the past behind her. A year ago, her husband tried to kill her in a car accident and killed himself instead. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough; she finds out someone is pretending to be him on an isolated island in the Bay of Fundy. What if it’s really her husband? What if he’s still alive? She’d been in hospital when the funeral was held. For the first time in her life, she finds the strength to track down the imposter to find out what’s going on. Now stranded on an island with no way back to the mainland, she’s in the worst trouble she could ever imagine. The imposter claims to want to help her and keep her safe from the other visitors on the island, a group of men who want her dead. And she has no idea why. She quickly learns everyone wants the same thing her husband wanted. Her family’s secrets. Secrets that she doesn’t know, or can’t remember.
What She Doesn’t Know is a romantic suspense novel, that takes place primarily on an isolated island of the Bay of Fundy. Gardiner known for her paranormal romances delivers a suspenseful tale, filled with a secret society and a group of greedy thugs who want to uncover treasure. I quickly became engrossed in the tale and its characters.
The protagonist Raven Gale is determined to put the past behind her, but when it appears that someone is using her dead husband’s identity she investigates. A little over a year ago, her deceased husband tried to kill her, and a part of her is somehow afraid he is still alive. She learns the person using his identity is on an island in the Bay of Fundy. She hires a guide to take her there. What she finds is a man who looks very similar to her husband, but before she can get some answers, she finds herself tied up, chased and running for her life. In order to survive, she will need to put her faith in Sloan (the man impersonating her dead husband). Raven soon learns that her parent’s death and everything she thought she knew about them is wrong. A group of men are after a treasure they believe her parents safeguarded and think Raven may have the answers. It’s a race against the clock as Raven and Sloan attempt to solve the mystery and stay alive.
Gardiner’s tale was action packed with likable characters. Raven and Sloan were the main characters, and I liked the interaction between them. While Raven clearly cannot follow directions, she is quick on her feet and remains calm while questioning everything. I respected Sloan for not rushing into things, even though the physical attraction was intense between them almost from the onset. The fact that he was noble enough to realize it was more important that Raven have all the facts first, scored him major points. The romance, while it progressed slowly, was delightful.
The tale that Gardiner weaves was fantastic, with secret societies and hidden treasure. It reminded me of the movie, National Treasure. Overall, the plot moved at a good pace, revealing key points along the way. This gave the tale, a genuine feel and added to the overall suspense. There were a few scenes where I question the plausibility of what occurred. For example, when someone is shot in Raven’s apartment, she and Sloan are able to leave the scene and go to the hospital. While the author provides an explanation, it wasn’t realistic for me. The EMT’s witnessed them at the scene. The author also stated the police where held up with a traffic accident and couldn’t be on seen. For shots fired? Not likely..in Chicago? The next morning they return to that apartment and Raven showers. Wouldn’t this still be a crime scene? But do not be discouraged, this was my only issue and a small bump in a fantastic, action packed, suspense that kept me turning the pages to see it reach its climactic conclusion. I would enjoy meeting more members of this secret society and hope Gardiner decides to make a series from this novel.
I recommend What She Doesn’t Know to fans of romantic suspense and mystery. Gardiner has five published works, including the Jess Vandermire paranormal series. The first book in that series is entitled, Grave Illusions. What She Doesn’t Know is currently available in eBook format. I look forward to reading more by this author.