From the back of the book: "Denying the past proves deadly for BK Hartshaw and Trevor Mayhew in this gripping noir novel where nothing is at it seems." I love this, because it's a very true summary of the book. Dangerous Denial does have mystery, a little regret, denial, and danger!
Denying the past.... Dangerous Denial sets the stage with the stories of BK and Trevor's childhoods. They didn't know each other as children, and they had quite different upbringings, but that just adds to the suspense. I found myself, as the reader, wondering how the stories would connect. It was hard to keep from jumping forward! BK grew up with a mother who distanced herself from her daughters in her pursuit of a wealthy man. Even after she is married to him, she sends her daughters to a fancy boarding school rather than inviting them to live with her and her new husband. After suffering years of abuse at his father's hands, Trevor is rescued by his maternal grandmother and whisked off to Boston, where he grows up with her love and protection.
Fast forward to the present day. BK is now on the fast track to success with a major PR company in Boston. She's sharing an apartment with her life-long besties, Shelby. Everything is going great, until a stalker from Shelby's past turns up. And BK is folding under the stress...
I really liked the pacing and set-up in Dangerous Denial! The book opens with BK as an adult, about to put on a big charity ball, her first solo event with her PR company. Then the reader is whisked back in time, to the night Trevor was conceived. The chapters that follow, the chapters alternating between Trevor and BK and recounting their parallel but separate childhoods, really set up the later action well.
I don't want to give any spoilers, but Trevor isn't the only one denying past demons in Dangerous Denial. BK has her secrets, too, and they could be just as deadly. Her storyline is a bit more subtle, but it still plays a major role in the final suspense.
And you know how I love character growth! All of the characters in Dangerous Denial grow and evolve and get fleshed out. We see the most growth in BK, but Trevor and Shelby (BK's bestie and roommate, a secondary character) and even Lenny (Trevor's abusive dad, another secondary character) grow into themselves over the course of the book.
Now, unfortunately, the book isn't all roses. I was "lost" for nearly an entire chapter when the author suddenly takes us from the present day, with BK, to the 1970s with Trevor's parents. It would be helpful to have date headings on the chapters when you make a major shift like that! There's also a lot of "telling rather than showing" when it comes to characters' emotions and problems. So a few of the conversations feels a little forced. But it's not bad enough to be distracting or ruin the book. This is Amy Ray's first novel; I'm sure this will be resolved as she grows in her writing.
I tore through this book! I read it over just 24 hours, and that's with going to work and cooking dinner and all. As the blurb says, it really is a gripping novel; you won't want to put it down until you know the end. And oh, the ending!!! It's very hard not to give any spoilers.... Dangerous Denial's end definitely gives you BANG for your buck!
*I received a finished copy of Dangerous Denial for review from the author. Thank you!