Keeper’s Reach: Carla Neggers
Romance was supposed to be in the air and a wedding in the planning but sometimes fate steps in and things do not go as planned. FBI agent Emma Sharpe and FBI agent Colin Donovan are preparing for their wedding. Emma has decided to spend on last weekend at the Sisters of Joyful Heart in Heron’s Cove, Maine where she spent time as a nun. But, going there and seeing her friend Sister Claire helped her to realize that staying there was not what she wanted and she decided to leave and go to Rock Point Colin’s home. But, she never gets there instead someone kidnaps her as she is about to retrieve a package sent to her by art thief Oliver York. This starts a chain of events that will take her all the way to England to solve the clues of an art thief and the attempted murder of Martin Hambly.
As the book opens we also meet Naomi MacBride a freelance investigator and T.K Donovan an FBI agent who shows up after following Oliver York. York’s assistant Martin Hambly is attacked and left in the dovecote to die until Naomi somehow finds him and rescues him. But, he refuses medical help and decides to take care of his injuries on his own. But, York won’t let it go and things are about to heated up as Naomi is there to meet with Cooper Reed who has just started a security firm and wants her, Donovan and her old flame Mike Donovan on board for a special meeting to discuss this new venture. So, why did Oliver invite Mike, Reed, Kavangah and MacBride to his house? Mike Donovan has some military buddies that he’s friend with and they are about to descend on him in Maine to hopefully get him to join in the Cooper Global Security Company along with Naomi MacBride who just being in the same air space with him causes him grief. Asking why she is there and claiming that she is tracking Oliver Fairburn the art thief that Emma has not been able to capture. But, when Emma does not answer Colin’s texts and does not show up in Rock Point will he realize that she is in danger? Someone wants her out of the way but why?
Author Carla Neggers weaves several complex plots into one amazing artwork or tapestry each having its own special pattern, place and story that if sewn together each piece of the tapestry would tell about the characters each in a different way. The setting is Maine and in this story Heron’s Cove plays a big part. But, Emma and Colin do not take a front seat in this novel as we get to know Mike Donovan, his past relationship with Naomi and just how their lives along with his other friends are about to intertwine.
Hoping to find out more about the package the Oliver York sent Emma and that almost cost Martin Hambly his life, Colin puts off calling her thinking that she’s at the retreat until something changes and he learns the harsh truth. Learning that Emma is missing and wondering who took her sets off a chain reaction that unites the brothers and puts them on to Oliver, Brother Finian and taking a closer look at T.K and Naomi and why they are even there. T.K and Mike Donovan do not get along and his relationship with Naomi comes into question as everyone tries to find Emma and then learn more about why these two are there.
Although Oliver is a known art thief and Emily and her family know it no one is willing to turn him in. Some of the artwork is returned and hopefully he will give back the two Dutch Landscapes but first the author has hinted at something sinister going on with Kavanagh’s presence, with Naomi showing up and the link to what happened in Afghanistan has yet to be revealed.
Is the MI5 involved and will they come after Oliver? Naomi is on to something when someone comes along a hits Hambly over the head, kidnaps Emma and goes after Reed and the group of men that he wants to hire for his security firm. Just how does all of this link to the mission that caused many deaths in Afghanistan? Who is manipulating the events and hoping they point to someone else? As the group meets with Reed and the players are all in one place just who is holding the cards? A simple package containing sheepskins and a handcrafted cross-are at the heart of this novel. Someone is crafty and manipulating the events, movements and reactions of the others as he/she attacked Martin, kidnapped Emma, stabbed Naomi and put others in danger as Mike once again comes to the aid of his friend and face his real feelings for Naomi. The jibes, the jabs and the banter between them are great as the author sets the scene for when they finally as we say when someone is going to give up: we say UNCLE!
Naomi is a strong character and pairing her with Mike is great as they have two strong personalities neither one giving in to the other. An intelligence analyst who is bringing some doctors into the agencies to be protected and finds herself questioned, under scrutiny and having to defend her every move.
When Emma is finally free and she and another agent visit the dovecote where Martin was hit, evidence comes to light but will they figure out who is behind the hit, her kidnapping and more. When the past becomes the present and the motive is greed, power, manipulation and maybe because this person could and got away with it all, author Carla Neggers keeps readers wondering who is behind everything and why until that person is revealed.
With Colin worried about Emma and going to Plum Tree Inn, Emma in England to investigate the attempted murder and a crime scene group sent to the shed where she was held will they figure out who is behind it all? Why did Kavanagh show up at the same place as Naomi? What does Aoife O’Byrne have to do with this and why is Finian Bracken involved with Oliver? A wedding whose plans had to be put on hold. A family that is bound together and will always find a way to make things right. A young investigative freelance intelligence analyst, an FBI agent that questions himself the guilt that many feel for what when things were out of their control and a mastermind that manipulated them all. Sometimes the bad person is hiding in plain sight and you need to take off your blinders and see what’s right in front of you.
A plot quite simple yet complicated as the author brilliantly intertwines the many threads within this story as the tapestry begins filling up we learn more about Reed and his plans for his company in one square. We learn a little more about Mike and his relationship with Naomi and their past. Understanding Kavanagh and his feelings of inadequacy is quite compelling and the bond among the Donovan brothers strong. Will they accept Emma? Will Andy become more prominent in the next novel so that we can get to know Julianne who we have met before? What is next for the Donovan family?
A quiet village, a man named Oliver York who owned his own farms and was an art thief, Emma Sharpe, Kevin, Colin and Mike Donovan, Agent Yankowski, Cooper Reed, Ted Kavanagh, each having a past, ghosts, their own history and each hoping for a future that is brighter than their pasts. As Finian is still mourning his loss and we learn about Oliver’s youth and the tragedy that took his parents, the loyalty he shows to Martin, and his farm in the Cotswolds, author Carla Neggers once again brings Ireland to us with her vivid descriptions, history of many places and the hope that everyone reading this will get to drink the whiskey created by Declan and Finian, learn more about Maine and the beauty of the state and hopefully the author will bring back Mike in full force next time because there is much more to learn about him, Naomi has to deal with her time in Afghanistan, nightmares, fear, betrayals, love and friendships are tested as each one hopes to find their one person who is meant to care for them, the one object or thing that they think is worth keeping and a person that is there to protect and keep them safe: THE Keeper’s REACH: WHO IS MEANT TO WATCH OVER THEM ALL!
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine
Just reviews give this book a STARRED REVIEW