Monday, August 26, 2013

Alternate Currents by Arleen Alleman

Author Darcy Farthing is living in DC with her fiancé, Mick Clayton, enjoying a much needed respite.  As they prepare for a wedding and a romantic cruise, they find out that a good friend, Charlie Scott, has mysteriously disappeared.  Against Mick's wishes and without much thought of consequences, Darcy flies to Seattle to help Charlie's partner, Don Freeburg, and daughter, Penelope, cope with their loss.  She finds that a prior well-intentioned decision about parenthood has sparked a series of tragic events, which threatens to destroy a parent-child bond.  Eager to help, Darcy plummets into the unfamiliar world of domestic partnerships, surrogates, and assisted reproductive technology.  While the police and FBI are still trying to solve Charlie's kidnapping, Penelope also vanishes.  Detectives implicate a local clergyman, a birth-mother, and a radical author, but can find no proof of guilt.  When Darcy tries to apply her investigative skills to the baffling case she sustains a vicious attack by an unbalanced killer.  Mick rushes to her side and as  the mystery is finally solved he also becomes a victim of vengeance and madness.  (taken from the back of the book)

Alternate Currents is the fourth book in Alleman's series, following Current Assets, Currents of Vengeance and Currents Deep and Deadly.  If you've read any of the other books, you're already a Darcy fan and know to pick up this book to continue with the sage.

Since I haven't read the other books, it was a little different for me reading this.  Arleen did an amazing job referencing the earlier books.  We know that there was some trauma having to do with cruise ships before this, but instead of rehashing everything for those that have read the books, she gives us just enough to keep us wondering.  Personally, it was just enough to make me want to pick up the other books and find out exactly what did happen!  If you've read the previous ones, you won't find the references here annoying or in over abundance.  If you haven't read them, it'll simply pique your curiosity.

The characters are actually pretty entertaining.  I found myself enjoying a few of them even though I didn't have the rapport that was most likely built during the initial books.  I liked them well enough, but at the end, when neat little bowties are made, I found myself feeling like things were dragging.  It was sort of like getting updates on people I didn't care about.  I have no doubt that if I go back and read the first 3 books first and then reread this one, I'll find each of those ending tidbits fascinating.

Now for my favorite part of reviewing a mystery, reviewing the mystery!  I hate when I can figure everything out before the author reveals it, and Arleen definitely led me on a wild chase!  One moment I was certain I knew the culprit and then the next I was certain it was someone else!  I had so much fun just trying to figure out who was the bad guy and who was just a jerk and who was misunderstood and I have to admit, I didn't see it coming.  Once things began to unravel, I found myself riveted and just waiting for the rest of the explanation.  It all makes sense and ties together nicely.

If you're looking for an enjoyable, thrilling mystery, this very well could be the book for you.  Personally, I putting the rest of the series on my 'to read' list and then I'm going to reread this one.  Though it stands alone just fine, I really feel like building a little more history with the characters would make it even more enjoyable.  For more information on Alleman's work or to see her book tour, please check out her website

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