It's fascinating to read all of the novels that view Arizona as a hotbed of cults. Brenda Novak isn't the first one to set a novel in Arizona, but her romantic suspense novel, White Heat, beautifully captures the climate and environment, the heat of the Arizona desert. And, it should, since Novak lived here in Arizona at one time. Once you've read her latest book, you'll know the parched conditions here. And, you'll understand why cults can thrive in that environment, fueled by desperate people.
Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop are employees of a private security company called Department 6, hired to infiltrate a religious cult in Paradise, Arizona. Ethan Wycliff, a charismatic Cornell graduate is the leader of the Church of the Covenant. He founded a religious group, baptizes and brands his followers. But, his father is worried about the group because as a precocious teen, Wycliff corresponded with Charles Manson. And, by the time Department 6 took the case, one woman had fled the group, after having been stoned, and a teenage girl had disappeared.
Nate and Rachel are to infiltrate the group, posing as a young married couple. But, they're bringing baggage with them that may interfere with their work. Rachel grew up in a religious cult, with a father who had complete control over her until she was expelled from the group at seventeen. She's a little naive, but, at one time, thinking Nate was interested in her, showed up at his home and seduced him. Neither of them were ready for that, and their testy relationship could prove to be a problem. But, they have a job to do, even if it means pretending to be husband and wife. There job is to find the truth, and prevent people from dying in Paradise.
Novak examines the attraction of a cult, and a charismatic leader, and shows the needy people who succumb to a cult's appeal. And, for those of us familiar with Arizona groups, it's interesting that Rachel's last name is Jessop, a common name in Warren Jeffs' FLDS. But, White Heat is still a romantic suspense novel, not a study of cults. And, Novak's readers will find the heat between the two main characters almost as hot as that in the Arizona desert.
Check back tomorrow, when Brenda Novak answers interview questions.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.