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REVIEW: Still Waters by Deanna Lee

Dear Ms. Lee,

Still WatersThis is a good police procedure book that is hobbled by the villian (like many a police procedure book) and two major police procedure errors or at least two scenes which featured police procedure actions which seemed impossible to me. It’s spicy love scenes; strong, assertive, capable heroine; and quick pace kept me reading to the end.

Inspector Kyra Moray is called to the scene of a ritual killing. The way in which the victim was killed and subsequently mutilated spells out serial killer. This is confirmed when another young woman appears dead in featuring the same mutiliation. In the meantime (which is a good way to describe the romance), Kyra meets up with her best friend Glory at Still Waters, a classy bar/restaurant establishment. Glory gets attacked by her boyfriend and Kyra lays him out, attracting the attention the owner, Alex Waters. Alex and Kyra have an attraction to each other that neither are afraid to act on (how refreshing!).

The romance plays a secondary role and is sometimes forgotten although I can see where trying to fit more face time between Kyra and Alex would have been forced in light of the fact that Kyra had a serial killer to catch. However, the romance scenes were intense. I liked them alot and wished for more. The police procedure worked pretty well with two major problems for me. I admit that I am no police person but I thought about what a defense lawyer could do to the case if these things occurred in an actual case.

When a murder happens outside Still Waters, Alex and Marcus are at least, material witnesses (they should be suspects until ruled out). Alex is allowed to view the body of a dead woman in the morgue. Kyra has slept with Alex previous to this event yet she is the one who interrogates them. To compound the error, she invites Alex to watch while she interrogates Marcus at the station. To me, Kyra’s impartiality and the validity of the interrogation are seriously compromised at this point.

One other note that I debated heavily about including but felt that I could not leave out was that there were times that this book reminded me of JD Robb’s In Death series. This is not say I think that this book is a copy because it is not. Alex and Kyra are very different than Eve and Roarke. However, I would not be surprised to hear that you are heavily influenced by the In Death series. This is a slightly futuristic police procedure series featuring a highly ranked and very successful female detective. There is no one better than Kyra in her precinct. Certain terms were evocative of Eve Dallas. At times, I asked myself, WWED. For example, you refer to Kyra as “bitch cop”, “my cop/your cop” (when people reference Alex). At one time a relation of the victim asked Kyra whether she would serve the victim well. This scene seemed very reminiscent of scenes when Eve promises to stand for the victim. People use “credits”. Kyra’s vehicle plays a part (although her vehicle always works). Other comparisons that I drew was that Kyra had a strong relationship with her commanding officer and her young, inexperienced partner was a female who needed to study to take her detective’s test. The young partner buys food for Kyra. The brother of Alex is a world renowned musician.

I don’t think that JD Robb “owns” futuristic police procedure novels featuring a successful police female police detective. Neither does she own the female sidekick or the term “credits” or “bitch cop.” It was just a bunch of little details that were evocative of the In Death series.

I guess I want to say that this book is JD Robb’s In Death series only spicier, if Eve were a former beauty queen whose very wealthy grandmother raised her and Roarke was a black man who owned a bar/restaurant. Okay, so not so very similar. As I said before, despite the similiarities (or maybe even because of them) and the police procedure problems, the spicy romance and the fast pace kept me reading. B- for you.

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Angie
    Aug 10, 2006 @ 17:10:46

    I have this book on my Ipaq, I bought it a few weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to read it. I’ve been looking forward to it.

    Incidentally, Deanna Lee is one of the owners of Cobblestone Press so I’ve been wondering if she’s moving this series there.

  2. jmc
    Aug 10, 2006 @ 19:07:46

    I skimmed the review (sounds like an ebook that I should buy) but I keep getting distracted by the cover — is the cover model’s neck broken? It looks freakish, tilted that way. Is he part man, part giraffe?

  3. Meljean
    Aug 10, 2006 @ 23:50:44

    The cover caught my eye first, too, but because it reminded me so much of a Luis Royo painting (love his stuff).

    But the story sounds interesting; I’m off to read an excerpt.

  4. Meljean
    Aug 10, 2006 @ 23:53:45

    Er, it just occurred to me that I should say that picture I linked might not be safe for work.

    You have to look twice — but there’s some nekkid in there.

  5. Karen Scott
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 03:37:52

    I skimmed the review (sounds like an ebook that I should buy) but I keep getting distracted by the cover

    Lol JMC! That was exactly my reaction! No, I’m not liking the cover much.

    I recently read my first Deanna Lee, and I really liked it, it was an Aphrodisia book.

    I didn’t realise she owned Cobblestone Press, I must take a look at some of the books there.

    Jane, I think authors are probably afraid that eventually what they read will bleed onto their own work. I’m willing to bet that she didn’t even realise she was doing it, what I want to know is why her editor didn’t pick it up, or maybe she hasn’t read Robb.

    Or maybe neither of them noticed anything amiss…

  6. Rosario
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 05:59:27

    I agree with you that more romance might have felt weird, considering what was going on around them, but I still do think Lee could have balanced romance and suspense better.

    Still, I quite liked this one.

  7. Jane
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 07:54:54

    Rosario – were you taken aback by the size of this guy’s penis or was it just me???? 5 1/2 inches in girth??? I did buy the second book so I hope that she does a better job balancing out the romance with the suspense.

    Karen – I did do a google search to see if Lee was inspired by JD Robb and saw nothing. She stated that it came organically from her love of tech things. Maybe she has never read JD Robb before. I remember when Deidre Martin’s first book, Body Check, came out shortly after Rachel Gibson’s hockey book, both heroines had “Hockey for Dummies” and a similar setup but I didn’t feel either were inspired by the other as the books were released within months of each other.

    I kind of liked the cover but thanks for noticing, jmc, the weirdness of the head angle. It is weird. I don’t remember them a) kissing in the rain or b) him being soooo much taller than her.

  8. Rosario
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 10:31:04

    5 1/2 inches? My mind works in cm, so I usually just gloss over numbers in inches. So 5 1/2 would be how much in cm… hmm… what??? Over 13 cm?? Are you sure that’s right? Ouch! Let me just check the ebook.

    Ahhh, no, no, wait, he’s talking circumference, not diametre! 13 cm would be monstrous in diametre, but probably pretty average in circumference, right?

  9. Jane
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 10:46:46

    [quote comment="2922"]Ahhh, no, no, wait, he’s talking circumference, not diametre! 13 cm would be monstrous in diametre, but probably pretty average in circumference, right?[/quote]

    Hmm. I haven’t measured anyone lately but in doing a quick referential google search it seems that measurement is a pretty common size. It seemed large to me because I had just measured my wrist and it’s 6.5 inches around

  10. Meljean
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 11:49:22

    Yeah, that’s about 1 3/4 inches thick. Yikes, anything else and I think it’s like having a baby (the cervix dialates to 10 cm during labor).


  11. Tara Marie
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 12:00:46

    Okay, I would like to know what you entered for that google search–LOL

  12. Jane
    Aug 11, 2006 @ 12:35:06

    [quote comment="2926"]Okay, I would like to know what you entered for that google search–LOL[/quote]

    I typed in 5 1/2 inch circumference! You’d be surprised (or not) what that pulls up.

  13. Deanna Lee
    Aug 22, 2006 @ 15:49:19

    Hi All,

    First-thanks for the lively discussion- this was a great thing to come across during my Google search. I truly appreciate all of the feedback.

    I admit I did fiddle with the police procedures- but I figured I could since Kyra basically does live in a futuristic police state. Her world is very different from our own politically, legally, and environmentally. (If that sounded like I was “explaining away a flaw” just shoot me- I hate people who do that).

    Balancing the romance in the first book was very hard– and I know that I didn’t meet the standard in a lot of respects– it was hard to justify Kyra hooking up with a guy when she should be at searching out a serial killer. I think the balance in book 2 is better- because they are more established and she’s dealing with a cold case that gave her room to develop her relationships a little. If you guys check out- be sure to let me know. The best way to improve is to figure out the areas that need it!

    The comparison to the JD Robb series was a HUGE surprise the first time it happened. I guess because when I started creating the series– Kyra was set in modern day Chicago– she got moved to New Orleans and into the future during the plot process for book 1. I love gadgets and technology.

    I do see the similarities and differences in the two series. I didn’t start reading the In Death series until after I found it was Nora Roberts… My mom tossed me a book one day and told me to read it. I honestly can’t remember if it was before or after I’d written the rough draft of Still Waters. Some things (like credits, robots, space travel) just seem to be the most logical jump in our world.

    I do enjoy the darkness of Eve’s character in the In Death Series– she’s so complex and her past makes her so very human at the most base level. I also enjoy the fact that Rourke reformed for her… going straight after a life of criminal behavior is the best way to demonstrate love– or at least it was his best way.

    At the most– if anyone had asked me during the submissions process how the Kyra series and In Death were similar– I would have answered: “They both have tough female cops.”

    If any one author really influenced my interest in futuristic and science fiction work it would have to be Robert Heinlein. I read all of his books when I was young. In fact, I read him more than I did the Harlequin romances I stole from my mother’s bedroom bookshelf. It was absolutely fascinating to read as he built up a world that was both familiar and alien. I couldn’t wait to get there and I’m still waiting on my hover car and a gateway to the stars.

    As far as mysteries go– I’d say my biggest inspiration would come from Elizabeth Peters. She writes historical romance with a tiny dash of romance in them. I love the Amelia Peabody series the best. What could be better than dashing men, intriguing villians on the back drop of 1920’s Egypt?

    Re: Cover — LMAO — and MY biggest concern was the seemingly HUGE bulge on his crotch. Which is his just the shadow of his zipper open promise!

    Re: Cobblestone Press
    Yes- I’m the co-founder of Cobblestone Press. Sable Grey and I opened the publisher in June of this year and we are really pleased with what we’ve accomplished so far. I will not bring Kyra to Cobblestone- she’s pretty snug in her home at Loose Id.

    I hope my little intrusion doesn’t damper your conversation- I really enjoyed it.

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