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REVIEW: Nowhere to Run by Valerie Hansen

Dear Ms. Hansen,

Currently I’m on a Love Inspired Suspense kick. In the past, romantic suspense books have been problematic for me as the balance between romance and suspense is hard to get right. Perhaps books without overt sex in them help this subgenre work better for me? ::shrugs:: Anyway, on to my thoughts.

Marie Parnell is on the run with her young daughter. Her ex-boyfriend has warned her that his partners in crime might come after her to learn where the missing ransom money he held back from them is. When Marie sees him being none to gently hauled off at gun point, she makes the choice to flee with Patty taking only what she can fit into her old car. When it suddenly breaks down in a small Arkansas town, she’s fairly sure it’s been tampered with. And anyone who’s ever had car trouble in a small town knows how long it can take to get parts and get back on the road. If only she knew what was in store for her.

Seth Whitfield has secrets of his own that have lead him to assume his new identity as a car mechanic in Serenity, AK. Something about this woman triggers his instincts. Is she just a woman with car problems or could she be a subtle plant sent by someone with his old employers to discover where he’s been hiding for the past few years after they tried to frame him for industrial espionage and murdered his wife? Either way, Seth knows the young woman and her daughter aren’t going anywhere in the next few days. Which should be enough time for him to confirm her story and plot his next move.

Marie and Seth both feel the need to keep their secrets and hide their pasts. But since they’re still not sure about each other, will these secrets end up costing them both?

“Nowhere to Run” starts off well with believable conflicts for everyone. Well, that is once I got past the super secret Corp, Inc. company Seth worked for. It’s convenient how many of these companies exist for use in suspense plots. Anyway, Seth is worried that his small town hidey hole has finally been found and what better way to lure him into complacency then to send a woman with a child? Marie knows nothing of Seth but does fear that her ex’s buddies are hot on her trail. When he tells her the unlikely way her car has been damaged, she gets even jumpier which then feeds his fears.

Marie also has a history of making bad choices about men, especially Roy who beat her before she finally fled to a women’s shelter. Nothing in her past makes it easy for her to trust Seth and she’s doubly suspicious now that she has a child. Even as I groaned at some of the things each of them does, their actions still make sense given their pasts and what’s at stake. I’m perverse enough to be pleased when Seth calls Marie on a series of spectacularly bad choices she makes but still had to nod my head when she snaps back about how he didn’t explain the why behind his demands. Still, driving out into flowing water is something everyone should know is a mucho bad decision.

Since both characters are already Christians, no one needed to be preached at or saved. There’s a small section towards the end of the book when both feel the need to examine their faith and ask philosophical questions but it’s not an extended amount of the plot. I was kind of hoping that Marie and Seth’s villains would take care of each other but I guess that wouldn’t have officially “cleared” them with the authorities which of course had to happen in order for the HEA.

Readers looking for an “on the run” suspense story might be interested in this one. There’s never any doubt for the reader about what’s happened or who the bad guys are but I enjoyed watching Seth and Marie get themselves out of trouble even if the “I love yous” came awfully quickly. B-


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Harlequin or ebook format.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. orannia
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 17:22:33

    Well, that is once I got past the super secret Corp, Inc. company Seth worked for. It's convenient how many of these companies exist for use in suspense plots.

    Hmmmm. I wonder what a list of the most frequently used, convenient plot ‘points’ (not quite the right word – sorry) would look like? Although, it’s rather worrying imaging them all in one book!

    Thank you Jayne :)

  2. Karin
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 23:28:37

    Great review. This sounds like a good read.

  3. karmelrio
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 11:20:44

    This cover gives me the wiggins.

  4. Jayne
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 08:01:19

    I’m not sure what “wiggins” are but I thought it was a very effective suspense cover that didn’t resort to the standard hero and heroine holding hands as they run across the cover.

  5. Jayne
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 08:02:30

    orannia, it would have to be a pretty darn good book to be filled with standard tropes/plot points/characteristics and have me finish it. ;)

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