Review: Lost In Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel

Lost In Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel
Release Date: September 28, 2011
Publisher:  Stacey Joy Netzel
Pages: 364
Source:  Author

Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star, dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that’s just in the first three hours.

…often go awry.

Trent Tomlin put his movie career on hold to investigate his brother’s murder-ruled-suicide at his Italian villa. He’s closing in on the suspects when an American tourist unwittingly films the murder of the retired cop helping him. The killers will stop at nothing to get the evidence–including holding Halli’s family as collateral.

Life’s a little different unscripted.

Thrust into the role of real-life hero, Trent finds himself falling for the Plain Jane whose beauty blossoms with every challenge they face. But how can he keep the evidence from the murderers to get justice for his brother and friend without betraying Halli and her family?


Review: This is one powerful read, as action packed a thriller as ever you’ll come across. Halli from Wisconsin, absorbed in filming the swans on Lake Como in Italy (more or less as soon as she arrives), is accidentally abandoned by her siblings and left all alone. Then, before she’s quite got her bearings, a Hollywood actor, Trent Tomlin, shows up and er….kidnaps her. Yes! Not exactly an everyday adventure is it? It turns out that when she was filming the swans, she’d also filmed a murder scene which was happening on the other side of the lake. Now the bad guys are chasing Halli, to get their hands on her video. Trent, the Hollywood hero of her dreams, has reasons of his own for wanting that tape. The bad guys killed his brother.

Halli isn’t exactly Ms. Average. She has a few secrets in her past as well. Secrets known only to her and to her siblings. Secrets which have made her what she is today. Obsessed with order and routine and with a deep down fear of not being good enough.

This is a romantic thriller with car chases aplenty. There’s quite a dose of comedy. Trent the movie star is a man accustomed to having gorgeous women falling at his feet. Halli finds his ego extremely off putting. Some of Trent’s lines (in the script?) are hilarious. I couldn’t help thinking that this novel would make one heck of a movie. Miss Wisconsin meets Mr. Hollywood. Well, how about it?

The story is well told, nail-biting tension to the very end. Thrills and twists aplenty. Some of the climactic scenes are a little tricky – as gunfire and negotiations are exchanged, I kept realizing that I’d missed something and had to go back a couple of pages – not easy if you’re reading on an ereader. I often read in bed, so I found myself having to stay alert for those scenes, rather than reading when sleepy.

There were quite a few love scenes, tastefully written. In the language of romance and poetry, not erotica. Although Halli is, we are told, a television producer, perhaps it was the fact that she was traveling with siblings, I couldn’t help but get the impression of her being very young. Like he’s a mature man and she’s this star struck teenager. Yes, she was a fan, but she’s supposed to be this mature woman, right? Well, I guess it was just me, thinking of her as a kid, of sorts. Naïve, she is not. Her past has ensured that she’s seen the dark side of life and doesn’t buy into the happy ever after. She’s a fan of Trent’s movies, but she knows that the character Trent plays in the movies never stays with his heroines forever. As the romance progresses, she braces herself for the inevitable fall, the day the adventure winds up and she packs up and goes home to Wisconsin. But will Trent be ready to say ‘adios’? Well, we’ve got to wait and see.

You will want to wait and see, that’s the point. This was the first novel I’ve read by this author. I look forward to reading more in the future.

Favorite Quote: He’d lucked out when his inide guy Stefano called from the Torno police station with the news that a lost American tourist by the name of Halliwell Sanders had turned up at their doorstep. But no more had he had her in his sights, she’d escaped again.

With help.

And he’d gotten hit by a f***ing truck.


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