In Finding Sarah by Terry Odell, Sarah Tucker struggles to keep her specialized gift shop in business when she gets robbed at gunpoint and thus meets Detective Randy Detweiler. It has been more than a year since Sarah’s husband died in what she is certain was a car accident in heavy rain, but which leaves enough suspicion of suicide that the insurance company has refused to pay on his policy. Since then a series of minor incidents has left Sarah’s shop just barely hanging on by a thread, with her late husband’s sister, who owns 20% of the stock hounding her to sell the store or franchise it to Hallmark.
It doesn’t take long before Randy notices the attractive widow who clearly needs help, and Sarah begins to find the police officer attractive too. Thus he puts in extra detection, working feverishly to try to solve Sarah’s case, which includes a break-in at her home and vandalism in her shop. Who is trying to put Sarah out of business in such a sly manner?
As the pair develops the start of a relationship, they also work together to learn to let go of the guilt of their past, including Sarah’s lost husband and the grief over the loss of his dear grandmother that Randy never learned to let go of and forgive himself for not being present during her passing.
Odell likes to describe her writing as romantic suspense. Most cozy mysteries contain an element of romance, but just as they avoid getting too gory, they tend to avoid graphic sex scenes (For example, the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn will state something like, “After a pleasant interlude. . .”). This book, however, follows the pattern of cozy mysteries in its detection, but it contains several graphic scenes, starting with descriptions of desire and continuing with a few very graphic sex scenes. This disappointed me because I really enjoyed the mystery found in this book, but I did not appreciate the sex scenes, which I do not enjoy. I enjoy some romance in a book, but I do not understand why romance novels have to depict sex in graphic manners. Romance does not require sex to make it enticing, and the sex scenes in this book came so early in the relationship between these two people who had each slept with just a serious partner did not fit with the characters as established in this book, lowering my estimation of them for jumping into bed so fast with near-strangers. This element of the book made me lose some of the enjoyment in the novel.
Kelley Hazen narrates the book and keeps the attention on this book.
Finding Sarah has a great detective plot that intensifies in drama as the novel concludes. It is well-written, other than my complaint that the graphic sex scenes do not fit in with the nature of the characters in the book. As long as you are willing to listen to graphic sex scenes, I’d recommend the book, giving it four stars.
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