Declan’s Cross: Carla Neggers
A chance meeting, a hidden secret, lies and two paths that cross begin the third in the Donovan/Sharp series titled Declan’s Cross. Lindsey Hargreaves and Julianne Donovan were about to start a business venture that would give Julianne the chance to use her skills as a marine biologist helping Lindsey set up her new field station in Ireland. But, there is much more to this story as we meet Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe visiting Declan’s Cross hoping to finally uncover a stolen art thief that they have been investigating for quite some time. When Julianne arrives in Ireland she is disappointed that Lindsey is not there to meet her. Concerned as to her whereabouts she informs both Colin and Emma hoping that she might have reasons for not answering her calls, being at the airport of even following up on the plans for the field station.
While Julianne is concerned she still manages to get settled in and meets Sean Donovan who decides to investigate on his own, try to find Lindsey and hopefully the answer s to her whereabouts. Excited about her decision to join Lindsey, she begins to feel that she might have been too hasty and feels foolish about just leaving her job and taking off. But, things are about to change when the truth about her friend comes to light. A chance meeting, a spur of the moment decision and many lives are changed.
Enter in the Murphy family and one young man named Sean, a member of the Irish guardia, farmer and definitely interested in finding out what happened to Lindsey. We learn more about Julianne Maroney, her relationship with Andy Donovan and her link to an art theft that was never solved. As both Emma and Donovan take us inside the hotel where the theft occurred, explain what was stolen, who might be involved and the fact that what was stolen was not insured. They description of the method of theft is quite interesting and the fact that they are still hoping to find a precious cross and some paintings after ten years means there is much more to the theft. Almost a nun, Emma came to Ireland to work in her family’s art recovery business and is now an investigator in that field working for the FBI.
Finding Lindsey’s body at the bottom of a cliff shakes Julianne to the core. With the help of Sean Murphy and his uncle Paddy, they call for help, bring in both Emma and Donovan and the investigation begins to find out just what caused her death. Was she murdered or did she simply fall? What happens when her father shows up and what is his connection to the art theft that both Colin and Emma are still investigating after so many years? What about the secrets that are hidden beneath the cliff along with Lindsey that might illuminate the truth about the stolen art? The prologue is quite telling and the answers remain silent. Julianne and Emma talk about Lindsey, the field station and the art theft. Trying to feel out whether Julianne knew anything about it we learn that she did not. Three Irish landscapes and a very old Celtic Cross were stolen. Questioning whether Emma’s family investigated the theft brings to light why they Emma were alerted to Julianne’s presence in Declan’s Cross. Was her presence there innocent or was there some other reason? What would be the final outcome of the field station? There are many other characters within this intricate plot as we meet more of the Donovan clan, Brent Corwin and Eamon Carrick and of course the Sharpe family who run Sharpe Fine Art Recovery. Added in the author recounts how Julianne met Lindsey, her internship and her job working with her to develop the new field station.
Wendell Sharpe thinks that this thief has lot more to steal and is a serial thief. Was this the reason behind Lindsey’s death? Did she see someone on the cliffs? Why was she there? Listening to the different takes on what happened to Lindsey, learning about her relationship with her stepfather, we learn about her hopes for her future that was cut short. Intertwined are several relationships: one Colin and Emma and two Sean and Kitty as the author flashes back within the minds of these characters to the many obstacles and stumbling blocks that they still face. Kitty is the owner of the Inn where they are all staying; Sean is with the guarda and a sheep farmer.
The investigation takes on many different turns as author Carla Neggers brings to light the different relationships among several family members in both the Murphy and Sharpe families. Intertwining the plot by bringing many different threads to the forefront as we learn more about the serial art thief, the missing paintings that David Hargreaves claims are being appraised, his link to the Byrne family’s sister whose an up and coming artist leading readers to believe that somehow there must be more we need to learn. Could Lindsey have had something to do with the missing art? Why was she so bent on starting field station in Ireland and having Julianne work for her? What about her relationship with her stepfather? When some truths are revealed and several others decide to investigate on their own what we learn might surprise the reader.
Blackmail, deceit, lies, two thieves but which one gets caught and who is still out there to instill fear within a Donovan or Sharpe? Just who is this serial art thief that is taunting Emma and her grandfather? Who is sending them round sounds inscribed with a Celtic Cross? Who is watching Emma, Colin and the rest? What is next for everyone in Declan’s Cross? What about Kitty and Sean? Will they ever realize they belong together? What about her son Phillip? Will Colin remain in the FBI? Will Sean be reinstated in the Guardia? From Rocky Point, Boston, Ireland and Saint Declan’s cemetery that holds many secrets Declan’s Cross might hold some of the answers but author Carla Neggers is the only one that knows what comes next.
Characters that will keep you riveted to the printed page. Each one with their own personality, specific drive as Colin and Emma race the clock to find out who killed Lindsey before a killer strikes again and a thief gets away. A chance meeting and a wish for her future and some who decided that dreams do not always come true. A father who needed to have more faith in his daughter and a daughter who wanted to do it her way. Read Declan’s Cross to find out more.
Fran Lewis: reviewer