Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong plot mixed with fun scenes
Cons: None worth unveiling
The Bottom Line:
Hunt for a baby
Page turning story
Kidnapping at Christmas
When I realized that Veiled Threats, the third book in Alice Loweecey's series featuring former nun Giulia Falcone, was set at Christmas, I had to slip it into my December reading plans. I'm so glad I did.
Giulia is on a mission when she brings her friend Laurel into the office of Driscoll Investigations to meet Frank Driscoll. Laurel's baby daughter that she and her partner just adopted has been kidnapped, and Giulia fears that the police aren't taking the threat seriously, especially since this fits a pattern spread out over several years and several states. Frank is reluctant to get involved, but Giulia dives in head first anyway. The trail leads Giulia to an undercover job just out of town. But will she get a lead on the kidnappers? Or is Frank right that the odds aren't in favor of recovering the baby?
I must admit, when I saw that the plot involved a baby kidnapped from a lesbian couple, I was worried we'd be in for lectures on LGBT rights. While the villains are obviously wackos and we do see some prejudice over the course of the book, the emphasis is on finding the baby just like it should be for a fictional story. It wasn't long before I was relaxing and getting caught up in the mystery.
And this book has a very good mystery. I may have relaxed when I stopped expecting lectures, but the plot kept me tense and turning pages quickly to see if Giulia could solve the crime. This almost reads as more of a thriller than a traditional mystery, just without the violence you might expect from a regular thriller. And that's all I will say on the plot to avoid any spoilers.
Despite the suspenseful plot, I generally think of these books as comedic, and that still holds true here. Yes, the plot itself is suspenseful, but the tension eases as we get scenes back at the Driscoll Investigations office. Frank and Giulia are dating, and some of their scenes are straight out of a romantic comedy. Meanwhile, the office assistant is just days away from her wedding, and her wacky plans also help lighten the mood. Yet these two tones fit together seamlessly and perfectly balance each other out.
Meanwhile, the characters are strong. Giulia, as always, is a great main character. She is still dealing with a lot in her own life, and we get to see a very complicated main character as a result. The rest of the series regulars are just as engaging, and you can't help but feel Laurel and her partner Anya's heartbreak. The suspects could be better developed, but that's really just a reflection of how much time they spend on the page. They are developed enough for the story to work since the rest of the characters are developed enough to draw us in.
Whether you read Veiled Threats now or during the rest of the year, this is a book that will captivate you. Personally, I'm glad I have more of Giulia's adventures to catch up on.
Be sure to check out the rest of Giulia's cases.
This book is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.