Title: The Paris Secret
Author: Angela Henry
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 01/17/2011
If the DaVinci Code & Julie Kenner's Play or Die series had a baby, I think it might be a little something like this. While it doesn't entirely fill the shoes of these two greats (hey, those are mighty big shoes), it definitely satisfied my cravings for hot romance & historical mystery during the holiday season.
Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she's viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard.
Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead.
Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever...This really was fun to read. Simon & Maya have a lot of chemistry together in & out of bed. Something I found refreshing (and might be considered slightly spoilery) is that while the relationship is left up in the air until the end of the book, our dynamic duo didn't fight their desire to bed each other early on in the book. It's pretty much a romance staple for our romantic leads to deny the lust between the two of them, so it was nice to see a couple that did the opposite of that. There's still a little angst in the relationship, so it's not completely smooth sailing for them. Also interesting is the mystery of the crucifix- while there were a few bumpy spots to the hunt, the historical aspects were obviously well researched & lovingly detailed.
While the historical parts of the story were well done, at times the story just seemed a little too large for the page count of the book. The later parts of the book seemed a little too glossed over for how important they were, plus some of the discoveries at the end seemed a little too coincidental. However, it felt less like an oversight or "easy way out" than it was an attempt to fit into a specific page count or to keep in tone with the quickly paced ending. I can't help but feel that if there had been about 10-15 more pages to the book, it would have been perfect.
Overall this was a very fun book to read & I really loved the characters in this book. (Brian & Jerrod were two of my favorites, short as their time in the story was.) I just wish that the ending had been a little more fleshed out to fit the story that preceded it. It's still well worth reading, if only for the romance built between the two lead characters.
(ARC provided by NetGalley)