Monday, June 10, 2013

Murder in the Smokies - Paula Graves (HI #1428 - June 2013)

Series: Bitterwood P.D. (Book 1)

"A Cold Case Brought Him Home..."
When Sutton Calhoun shook the dust of Bitterwood, Tennessee, off his boots, he never thought he'd return. But now he's back to investigate an unsolved murder and has teamed up with police detective Ivy Hawkins--the only part of the Smoky Mountain hamlet worth remembering.

"A Steamy Reunion Would Keep Him There"
Ivy is a hometown girl and well aware of Sutton's reputation. She can't help but find his smoldering eyes resurrecting long-buried feelings. Plus, as the body count rises, Sutton is the only one who believes her that an eerily methodical serial killer is living among them in the shrouded peaks of Bitterwood. Ivy doesn't know which is worse--the desire she feels for a man who's nothing but trouble...or the danger posed by a killer who has them in his sights?

Good book.  Sutton has been sent back to Bitterwood by his boss at Cooper Security to investigate an unsolved murder.  He meets up with his old friend Ivy Hawkins, who is now a police detective working on a string of unsolved murders.  She thinks the murders are connected though her boss does not agree.  When Sutton agrees with her they team up to find out who and why.

Sutton couldn't wait to leave Bitterwood when he was younger.  His father was a con man who tried to get him involved.  Sutton wanted nothing to do with him and was tired of everyone judging him.  The only thing he missed about Bitterwood was his friend Ivy.  Now that he's back he finds that some things have changed.  His father is no longer doing cons,  a former friend is changing his own life, and Ivy has turned into a beautiful and sexy woman that could make him forget why he left.  I loved the way that Sutton started out his trip by wanting to finish as quickly as possible so he could leave again but started to changed almost immediately.  Besides his attraction to Ivy he appreciated her abilities as a detective especially as they began to work together.  I also liked the way that he faced up to his feelings regarding his father and began to repair his relationship with him.  Most interesting was his admission of homesickness for the mountains where he grew up and how being back made him feel more grounded and content.  His attraction to Ivy was strong and getting stronger the more he was with her. 

Ivy had stayed in Bitterwood after Sutton left.  It was her home and she didn't really want to leave.  She also felt that she needed to watch out for her mother who had a tendency to get involved with men who were no good.  She is investigating a string of murders that she is sure are connected even though her boss doesn't agree.  She is surprised when she sees Sutton at the scene of the latest murder, and more so when she finds out why.  I loved the way that she gets involved with him right away, realizing that their friendship hasn't changed and that her attraction to him is even stronger than it was when they were teens.  She tries to maintain some professional distance but their working ideas are so similar that they begin to share their findings.  She admits to herself that she's still in love with him but knows that he will be leaving again.  She has to decide if she can let him go again or if she wants to take a chance on a future with him.

The suspense in the story definitely kept me interested in seeing how it would progress.  There were some interesting points of view from the killer but it was mostly watching how Sutton and Ivy put the pieces of the puzzle together.  I liked seeing how part of the puzzle was solved but also leads into the next book in the series.  I'm looking forward to Seth and Rachel's story.

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