by Brenda Joyce

April 2003
ISBN: 0-312-98943-1
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

In Deadly Caress, the fifth book in the Francesca Cahill series; author Brenda Joyce has taken the tension up a notch.

A madman is vandalizing the studios of woman artists, the first victim, Sarah Channing, is a good friend of Francesca and her brother Evan's fiancé. When another studio is found vandalized, they also find the body of Evan’s former mistress, actress Grace Conway. Now the stakes are higher.

During the investigation, Francesca and police commissioner Rick Bragg discover that the first victim, Sarah, has finally admitted that the strangler had still been in her studio and had threatened her with rape and murder. With a missing artist and suspects galore the race is on to find a madman before he kills again.

Throughout this, Francesca is battling her love for Rick who is married, and the knowledge that his wife has come back to reconcile and save her marriage. She also is confused about her increasing attraction to Calder Hart, Rick’s half-brother. Calder has already stated quite plainly to Francesca that he intends to pursue her and marry her. Francesca is slowly coming to the realization that she feels more for Calder than just friendship.

There are some tense and extremely frightening moments in this book. Ms. Joyce has created a story that is at times, emotional, sensual, erotic and scary. When Francesca is attacked, she runs to Rick first, but faced with the evidence that he has reconciled with his wife, she goes to Calder and is forced to face her growing feelings for him.

I was enthralled with this book. This is the first book in a long time that has so totally engaged my emotions. You really feel Francesca’s pain, confusion, and fear in this book. I am breathlessly waiting for the next story in this saga. I highly recommend this book; you will not be disappointed.

Reviewed in March 2003 by Carolyn.

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