Rival’s Break: Carla Neggers
Creating a diversion for the real motive of what appears to be a food poisoning is at the heart of this novel. Wherever Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan arrive you can bet there will be something out of the ordinary that will send them into their various modes of law enforcement. Attending Andy’s wedding reception, Kevin, Colin’s brother a marine patrol office, get called away. Arriving on this private yacht what they see and learn will set off a chain of events that will lead them to uncover why the guests at this party got deathly ill from what they think is food poisoning. Learning more a hoping to question some of those guests that were taken ill but not severely, while others wound up in serious condition in the hospital, Colin learns that M15 agent Jeremy Pearson is here undercover pretending to be an art expert. But who is responsible for the passengers getting sick and who will take the fall? Georgina Masterson is the chef that was hired to prepare the food for this party and for some reason the culprit they think is mushrooms. Here is where it gets interesting and where the author’s research into the different types of mushrooms, edible, sickeners and death gaps helps to explain why if you don’t know the difference and have no knowledge of how to choose the right ones, you leave it to the experts. But, in this case Georgina was the expert but she did not recall serving mushrooms and if she did when she went to the convent to gather the ones, she knew were edible, did she accidentally pick up bad ones?
During the confusion of getting the sick transported to medical care, a painting owned by Georgina Masterson goes missing from the yacht. This sets off a search for answers which will touch the lives of family and friendships. I have enjoyed this series about the Sharpes and Donovan’s through all the books. Even though it is a series, this book can be read as a stand-alone book with no problems.
Georgiana was distraught and blamed herself for everyone getting sick on the yacht. Although the Fannings seemed to not blame her there’s an undercurrent and a definite chill in the air.
Jeremy Pearson/Aka Walter Hornsby went undercover as an art consultant who was asked to do a special task for Robin Masterson hoping to bring Georgiana closer to her father although that was not going to be an easy task. A painting she admired by Aoife O’Bryne is at the center of this novel when she received it from Walter but was it stolen from the yacht?
When Colin realizes just who Jeremy is and then our favorite reformed art thief Oliver York and his girlfriend Harriet Balfour arrive you know that there is something sinister in the works and each one would only reveal just so much and no more.
As the author takes us on a tour of the convent where Emma was once a novice, we get an education about the different mushrooms and how to tell the edibles from the sickeners and the death caps. Did Robin Masterson forage the wrong ones? Did she bring back the wrong ones and how did they get in the tacos?
Lives are in danger, but Colin has his own mode of investigation and dealing with Jeremy even though he was deathly ill from the mushrooms shows how relentless he is to learn the truth.
Finian Bracken arrives and welcomes Emma ,Colin and Oliver and Harriet who stay with him and things start to heat up as questions are asked but truths are not always forthcoming. Why is Oliver there? What role does Harriet okay bring M15?
Getting to know atheists Fannings you meet Nick and Richie who worked on the yacht and learned how they sanitized everything after the ill got off the yacht and received medical care. But Georgiana could not come to terms with the outcome and blamed herself but was she guilty?
Her father dealt in toxicity and is a toxicologist and sought out Jeremy to learn more about poisons he dealt in dangerous nerve gases and agents. What does this have to do with his apparent suicide or was it?
Guilt comes into focus as author Carla Neggers sends readers deep inside the thoughts of not only Emma and Colin but reflects on Oliver’s past , the death of his parents and we are reminded of the sudden death of Tim Sharpe art restorer Wendell Sharpe and grandson Lucas remind us of family loyalty, bonding and their roles in helping to solve the mystery of the painting.
Confrontations arise as Colon confronts Jeremy about the purchase of the painting and s hidden truth comes out but what will Georgiana feel?
Things get even more tense when they learn if her father’s death and she must reconcile her feelings. What about his estate and what about where she wants to go next?
Carla Neggers creates a well-planned out plot with just enough twists, shockwaves and surprises that will take the reader on several rocky roads and paths until the final detour reveals it all.
As the ending draws near and the truth behind what happened to Masterson unfolds and then Georgiana winds up deathly ill, we wonder who might be behind it and the motive. Finian and Aoife meet and things seem to bring back their own memories will they connect again, will he remain as a Priest, what about Emma and Colin how will their work and jobs change as the face of the FBI does not always remain the same?
When the lies and betrayals are finally uncovered and the secrets are told, who will win the battle, who will remain standing who will win. Rival’s Break: Which adversary comes out on top?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews