by Susannah Sandlin
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex–combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House . When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world’s most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives. To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who’s lost his way, navigating the brutal “death coast” of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar, stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Susannah Sandlin was a serial that I read over the course of eight weeks, and it was such a thrilling adventure. (Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost.) Sandlin once again showcased her talent as she delved into the romantic suspense genre. Mini review: Intense, action-packed, romantic and engaging.
Gillian Campbell finds herself in the middle of a game played by billionaires where she and others are the pawn in their quest to possess an ancient artifact. The rules are simple; they cannot find it, but ruthlessly enlist Gillian and others to hunt for the treasure and use whatever methods necessary. They get to Gillian by threatening her family and soon she has drawn down on his luck, Shane Burke, an elite diver into the game. They along with his friends find themselves on a treasure hunt off the brutal north Atlantic coast searching for the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar. It was reportedly stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago. The tale that unfolds kept me spellbound as the danger and romance heated up.
Sandlin gave us a great cast of characters with their own unique voices. From the unseen villain to his thugs I became swept up in their diabolical game. Gillian is smart, an animal lover and one tough, tenacious cookie. Shane is an expert at what he does, but an accident has left him damaged and unsure of himself. Getting caught up in this dangerous game was horrid for Shane but in many ways it is his salvation. Shane and Gillian’s interactions were heated, humorous and at times sexy. The romance that developed felt genuine, and I found myself rooting for this couple. Secondary characters were fairly fleshed out and unique as they added their own voice to the tale.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep had all the elements I love in romantic suspense. There was tension, danger, a villain, mystery and a quest. Each week as the tale unfolded I became more engaged. Tonks the dog made me giggle and the slow building romance had moments of delicious heat that made me swoon. Our characters are slightly flawed and seeing them grow, trust and overcome was wonderful. I loved reading this each Tuesday when the next episode appeared on my reader. It reminded me of the weekly stories that would appear in the Sunday paper when I was a child. Each week I was eager to find out what happened next. The flow was well done as each week the plot advanced, and I became more connected to the characters. Sandlin killed me with her cliff-hanger endings, and it made my anticipation of the next episode all the sweeter. I enjoyed that sense of anticipation. The overall plot was well done and the ending satisfying.
If you haven’t tried a serial yet I encourage you to do so. Lovely, Dark, and Deep is now available and can be read without waiting for episodes. It is one I highly recommend to those who enjoy romantic suspense, quests and action-packed adventure. Susannah Sandlin is one of my favorite authors and her talents seem limitless. I think at this point I would read any genre she chooses to write.
Four coffee cups of out five