The Chase

by Susan Wales and Robin Shope

The Chase introduces us to Jill Lewis, an investigative reporter attempting to uncover a story of political scandal. But just as her story breaks, the shady senator she was attempting to expose comes up with some fabricated documents to clear his name, leaving Jill without a job or much of a reputation.

The rest of the story unfolds in Jill’s hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin, where Jill settles for a job at the local paper while trying to unravel the tangled threads of her story. A little romance unfolds when Jill meets her new boss, Craig Martin, and turns to him for help with her investigation.

At first, I had a difficult time getting into this story. I found Jill’s character to be a little unbelievable (would a hard-nosed investigative reporter really spend so much time daydreaming about a small-town newspaper editor?). There was a tendency toward overwriting in the first few chapters of the book, and the authors spent a little too much time setting up the romance, losing some of the suspense that one hopes for when they pick up a mystery.

Thankfully a strong plot developed and eventually won me over. In the end, this became a book that I had to stay up late reading because I just couldn’t put it down. Unlike many suspense novels, where the mystery’s solution is painfully obvious to the reader well before the main character realizes it, this book provided enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. The mystery pieces were put together well in the end, but unfortunately the romantic sub-plot resulted in an incredibly cheesy and unbelievable scene at the end of the book.

All in all, this was a decent effort for the authors’ first attempt at a novel. I’ll be interested to see how their writing develops in coming books. For those of you who like some light suspense and don’t mind a heavy dose of romance mixed in, The Chase may be just right for you.