Review: Black Diamond by Susannah Sandlin

Black Diamond by Susannah Sandlin
Series: Wilds of the Bayou (# 2)
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages: 251
Source: book provided by the author
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For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.

The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

 

Review: I jumped at the chance to review Back Diamond since I really enjoyed book 1 of the Wilds of the Bayou, Wild Man’s Curse. I fell in love with Ms Sandlin’s story telling with the Sentinels of New Orleans series (written as Suzanne Johnson) and she’d created another wonderful world. This world is in the bayous of southern Louisiana and the main characters are the wildlife agents.

We met Jena in book one. She was severely injured on the job and is now in the final leg of her recovery. She has a new partner and is back on light duty. Then she stumbled upon Black Diamond, a new, highly addictive and dangerous drug. Add in some odd gator deaths and Jena has a mystery that needs to be solved. Enter Cole. He’s turned into a hermit after tragedy struck in his life. He wants to be alone, off the grid. But when Jena come knocking asking questions, he finds himself attracted and can’t seem to help getting involved.

Now I liked both characters. Both have many scars, external and internal and seem to sense that in each other. I liked their growth and development. I cried over Jena’s struggles and wanted to see Cole come out of his grief and live again. And I rooted for Cole and Jena to find their happily ever after.

And that brings me to the one thing that let me down in this book. When it’s said and done, this is a romantic suspense story. There is that element of mystery (or suspense) that I highly enjoyed. But when it came to the romance part, I was underwhelmed. I felt like the characters met too far into the story and then really don’t develop a romance. There was definite attraction and that sense of recognition. But the characters didn’t spend much time getting to know each other and have that build of romance. Was there chemistry? Sure, but there wasn’t that build up that readers of romance expect.

That said, I really did enjoy the book. The suspense part had me turning the pages since I wanted to see what was going to happen and how all the dots were going to connect. There were a couple times that it got a little graphic, but I was able to get past that. It was almost necessary for storyline.

I’d recommend this series for lovers of romantic suspense that are looking for a new setting.