Review: Declan’s Cross (Sharpe and Donovan #3) by Carla Neggers

Marine Biologist, Julianne Maroney, has just had her heart broken by her long time friend recently turned lover, Andy Donovan.

She needs to take some time to herself so when she meets Lindsey Hargreaves, a fellow marine science enthusiast, she welcomes the chance to make a chance.

Lindsey has a field office in Ireland that she is trying to get off the ground and would love to have Julianne’s help setting it up.

Julianne accepts without a second thought and books her ticket to Ireland almost immediately.

Meanwhile, FBI agents Emma Sharp and Colin Donovan (Andy’s brother) are in Ireland on holiday when they learn that Julianne is going to be staying in the small village of Declan’s Cross.

Emma is familiar with Declan’s Cross…..too familiar.Ten years ago, Declan’s Cross was the scene of an art heist and her grandfather’s art recovery team was on the case, but it remained unsolved.

Meanwhile, Colin is trying to shake the feeling that Julianne’s trip to Ireland and Emma’s connection to the town aren’t a coincidence. His alarm bells are going off.

He doesn’t want to intrude on Julianne’s broken heart but at the same time he can’t help but wonder if there are other reasons why Lindsey wanted her to come there in the first place.

From the moment Julianne leaves her home in Maine for the airport, things aren’t going as expected. First Andy shows up to drive her to the airport when he brother ‘bailed’ at the last minute. She didn’t want him knowing she was leaving town for a while, especially since their breakup played a big role in her taking on the job. Then when she arrives in Ireland and Lindsey is supposed to meet her at the airport but she is no where to be found.

She can’t get Lindsey on her cell phone and she won’t respond to her emails or texts either. Lindsey is forced to rent a car and drive to Declan’s Cross alone. Colin and Emma meet up with Julianne at the cottage she is renting for a few weeks, which only makes Julianne feel like more of an idiot.

Emma and Colin are worried that something might have happened to Lindsey….when no one has heard from her the following day, they decide to stay in Declan’s Cross at least another night to see if she turns up.

But no one is prepared for what happens next….Lindsey does turn up, but at the bottom of a cliff, dead. Now the race is on to catch a killer and though Emma and Colin try to stay out of the Irish Police investigation they get drawn in to a dark and dangerous mystery.

The first thing I have to say about this novel….the author makes the assumption that you have read the other books in the series. There was a limited recap for new readers. For me, I really struggled with the first part of the book because I didn’t understand the dynamics of Emma and Colin’s relationship or any of the references to past books etc. I was a little lost, but that said the story was still engaging.

For me, not having the author fill in the gaps or at least give a little more of a recap was distracting. I spent too much time trying to figure out how things fit together so the first half of the book was slow and tedious for me. However once the actual story started to develop I was fully engaged in what was happening.

I had a hard time with Julianne’s character. She was a little to whiny and proud for me. I was tried of hearing about Andy and her and how their relationship went sour almost immediately. Then when Colin and Emma show up to offer help in the beginning I felt like she was overly proud by refusing etc. She just came across to all over the place for me.

I enjoyed the complicated dynamic between Emma and Colin, I thought both of them were intriguing and unique as individual characters and when brought together they added depth to the story and for me, they compensated for Julianne’s weaknesses as a main character.  I was hoping for a little more romance though.

Neggers does a nice job with the complex story line. I wasn’t ever really sure where things were going and how everything was going to come together. I loved how thought out all the plots were. She obviously had a very detailed idea of where she wanted things to go and the execution of those ideas was spot on!

This novel was hard for me to rate. I don’t want to give the book a lower rating simply because I haven’t read the others in the series, but at the same time I struggled with the book because of that.

The writing and plot was well researched and solid but the pace was a little slow in spots and I really felt a little lost without having read the other books. I think it would have helped if the author provided a little more background for new readers of the series.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Declan’s Cross (Sharpe and Donovan #3) by Carla Neggers

  • ebook, 320 pages
  • Published September 1st 2013 by Mira Books (first published January 1st 2013)
  • ISBN 146031803X (ISBN13: 9781460318034)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Detective novel, romantic suspense

Memorable lines/quotes: NA

2 thoughts on “Review: Declan’s Cross (Sharpe and Donovan #3) by Carla Neggers

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