Tuesday, June 21, 2022

ARC Review: Red on the River by Christine Feehan

Red on the River

Author: Christine Feehan
Publication: Berkley (June 28, 2022)

Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan goes all in with this sexy romantic thriller set among the dangers—both man-made and natural—of Nevada’s breathtaking landscape.

Vienna Mortenson isn’t your typical gambler. She prefers to stay under the radar, using her poker winnings to support her family and her community, including the local search and rescue team, which she heads up. Out in the backcountry there’s no time for hesitation when lives are on the line. Vienna prides herself on being tough and decisive. She’s not the sort to make a fool of herself over a guy, especially one who left her high and dry without a backward glance.

Zale Vizzini’s job constantly puts him in harm’s way. Working undercover and disappearing for months at a time isn’t exactly a recipe for a stable relationship. Despite the challenges and the risks, Zale wants something real with Vienna. He just needed time to figure out how to be in her life without putting her in danger. Now, he’s determined to win her back, and he’s ready to lay all his cards on the table.
As their friends’ wedding approaches, Zale takes advantage of the festivities to make a play for Vienna’s heart. But there are more deadly forces waiting to strike in the rugged terrain of Nevada and the western Sierras. Soon both of their lives are threatened, and the odds are stacked against them....

My Thoughts: While not listed as part of a series, RED ON THE RIVER stars many of the same characters as the author's recent MURDER AT SUNRISE LAKE. This time the band of fast friends are getting ready to celebrate Stella's wedding by taking part in lots of outdoor adventures that are on her wishlist. But first, Vienna Mortenson is scheduled to play in a big poker tournament in Las Vegas.

Vienna Mortenson is a surgical nurse, head of her county's search and rescue, beautiful and brilliant and has a psychic gift that lets her see what cards her opponents have which makes it easy for her to win big bucks at poker. She usually plays online using the money to support her hospital and the local search and rescue efforts along with building her own retirement nest egg. 

Zale Vizzini met Vienna during the first case and then they had a six-week romance while spending time camping. Then he disappeared back to his secret life as an undercover operative breaking Vienna's heart. Now he's back investigating in the same hotel where Vienna is and wants to get back together. But he's keeping secrets which doesn't incline Vienna to want to take a second chance on him.

However, as Vienna becomes the target of someone who wants her dead, she needs to depend on Zale and her girl pack to survive. 

It isn't often that one reads a romantic suspense title with a glossary, but this story had two. First of all, there were rather complete depictions of the Texas Hold Em tournament games with its required vocabulary. Second, the specific vocabulary of rock climbing was used when the girls began their outdoor adventures for stella's pre-wedding adventures. 

Fans of Feehan's work with likely enjoy this story despite the fact that the girl pack is all filled with larger-than-life characters - beautiful, brilliant, talented in many ways but with secrets that give them a hint of vulnerability. I also had a little problem with Vienna's psychic gift. While I could accept her gift in face-to-face poker games, I had more trouble believing that her talent as described would work in an online environment. Suspend disbelief and read this one for the adventure and for the romance. 

Favorite Quote:
"This is going to be interesting, the two of us navigating our way together, since neither of us know what a good relationship is. We'll just have to make our own rules."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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