Find Me

Debra Webb
January 2009, Romantic Suspense
St. Martin's, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0312532954

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

I liked this one. I really liked it.

I’d read one book by Debra Webb before and ranked it in the B- range, then steered clear of the next one after a negative review here. When the latest list of books for review came my way, I decided to give the author another shot. It was a smart move since her newest offers a good story, an intriguing mystery, and well-drawn characters.

Sarah Newton is a tabloid reporter with a reputation for solving difficult murders. The victim of a horrific childhood, Sarah carries her scars in her unwillingness to connect with people – something that also plays out in her abrasive personality.

Sarah is sent by her editor to the small coastal town of Youngstown, Maine, the scene of one horrifying murder of a young woman, while yet another is missing. Upon her arrival, Sarah is surprised to be met by the man the town council means to be her “minder” while she’s in town. Kale Conner, Youngstown’s youngest council member, is the polar opposite of Sarah in every way – affable, popular with the town, and dedicated to both his family and his community.

Sarah and Kale make reluctant – and surprisingly effective – partners as they talk to the townspeople and begin to unravel the mystery of the murder, the disappearance – not to mention remarkably similar killings that took place 20 years earlier.

So, what did I enjoy about this one? The author tells a cracking good story, creates interesting characters (who aren’t always likable), and sets it all in the midst of a frozen Maine winter. And about that likability thing: I know some readers are going to have problems with Sarah so, honestly, if you don’t think you can get past an abrasive, crabby, depressed heroine – who sort of does get a little bit better over the course of the book – then it’s best to skip this one. I was able to connect with Sarah because the author does such a great job of making her real: She is someone who needs redemption and it’s satisfying when she finds it.

Kale is a much more empathetic character. Still, in the hands of the skilled author the strong, handsome, town good boy who always does what’s expected of him reveals some surprising depths – both to Sarah and the reader.

It’s been a while since I read a romantic suspense novel that grabbed me as much as Find Me did. If you can deal with Sarah, it’s a novel I highly recommend.

-- Sandy Coleman

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