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Review: Blood Stains by Sharon Sala

19 Jan

Blood Stains by Sharon Sala
Mass market: $6.99
Harlequin/MIRA (January 2011)
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2941-1

Favorite Lines: “My darling daughters…you need to know that I am not really your father. Hannah was not really your mother, nor were any of you ever legally adopted.” (p. 14)

At the reading of her father’s will, Maria Slade receives shocking news—as a four-year-old, she’d witnessed her prostitute mother’s murder and been taken into hiding by the well-meaning preacher who’d raised her as his own.

Maria remembers none of that. But now she’s determined to flush her mother’s killer out of hiding and discover the identity of her birth father. She heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she meets Detective Brodie Scott.

Empathizing with this beautiful woman looking to find out who she really is, he opens the decades-old case file. Their investigation leads them down a dangerous path, where no one is what they seem. Where a father does not want to be found. And a murderer has “like mother, like daughter” in mind for Maria.

Blood Stains is book one in a trilogy about three sisters investigating their traumatic pasts. In the first book we are introduced to the middle daughter, Maria.

Maria leaves the security of her Montana ranch for answers in the big city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Once there she contacts homicide detective Brodie Scott about reopening her mother’s cold case.

Blood Stains is a romance story about Brodie and Maria, but I think at times the secondary characters stole the show. They are well rounded and I expect to meet up with some of them again as the trilogy progresses. Sala gives excellent descriptions of the various places where the characters are taken. From Montana to Oklahoma and the dregs of society to the peaceful tranquility next to a lake, the clear, movie-like descriptions work to draw the reader into the story.

Despite liking the idea of the story, the story felt lackluster to me. I didn’t hate it, but it seemed too easy. It was predictable, which means the suspense I had hoped for was non-existent.

I thought I would hate the seedy characters from Maria’s mother’s past, but I really liked them, especially the pimp. Crazy, right? The story isn’t one that I’d place on my keeper shelf, but I will probably read the next two books in the series because the plots sound pretty interesting.

One sister’s biological father came from a rich family. Her father was killed in a car accident and then the girl’s mother began receiving death threats aimed at her daughter. The other sister’s father was thought to be a serial killer. Her mother was going to turn him in, but disappeared. I’m hoping they are suspenseful.