Friday, May 6, 2011

Best "Love Inspired Suspense" Romance I’ve Ever Read!

"The Officer’s Secret" Is Enough to Make Me a Suspense Fan!

"The Officer’s Secret"
Debby Giusti
Miniseries: Military Investigations
Category: Inspirational Romance
I can say this with enthusiasm because ‘The Officer’s Secret” is outstanding on three different levels: it’s an intriguing mystery, a breathtaking suspense story and a compelling romance. This is very unusual because normally there is not enough time in a suspense story to develop a satisfying romance. (Love Inspired Suspense Romances tend to be short format and take place over a few days.)  In a suspense story the suspense normally get center stage. Moreover, there often is not a mystery to solve in a suspense. The 'suspense' is involves whether the hero and heroine will survive the threat that is causing the suspense.

“The Officer’s Secret” is a very good suspense story because there is the constant threat of death right up to the last page. To add even more suspense, the heroine’s dead sister warned her not to trust any of the authorities including the military police. Even the weather threatens to kill the hero and heroine! This story is about as suspenseful as a suspense gets!

The mystery is so intricate and well plotted, with ample red herrings and logical twists and turns, that I doubt even hardened mystery fans will figure out ‘who done it’. I’m good at solving mysteries and I couldn’t do it. The romance also works well because both the hero and heroine are at turning points in their lives and both have suffered similar traumatic experiences. The hero and heroine are ideally suited for each other and it is enjoyable to watch them come to this realization in the story given all the trust issues and secrets they have. How could they fall in love in a few days? Because they are perfect for each other.

The Story:

The heroine, Maggie Bennett, finds her sister, a major in the Army, dead in the sister's attic -- an apparent suicide. Before she died she called her sister to come to the Army post and help her out of some problem. She was also told not to trust the authorities.

The hero, Nate Patterson, is a militarily policeman in the CID, criminal investigations division. Everyone seems convinced the sister’s death was a suicide. All evidence leans that way. However, Maggie is convinced it was murder and she tries her best to get Nate to investigate it as a murder. There's a problem however, since Maggie cannot trust the military police (who might be involved in a smuggling cover-up), she can’t give Nate all her reasons for believing it might not be a suicide. Because Nate suspects that Maggie is holding back information, he has trust issues with her as well. If she is innocent why is she holding back information? Could Maggie be involved in the killing?

Of course, if it is not a suicide, then there are murders out there with good reason to kill anyone who might try and show the death was a murder. This puts both the hero and heroine under constant danger of death.

This is the first book in the author’s “Military Ingestions” series, (the Army version of NCIS). You just know it had to be a very strong story to sell the series to the publisher. It is! Actually, I liked this story better than NCIS and I used to be in the military police. The author was an 'Army brat' with excellent current military advisors in the family so she has all her military details down pat.

“The Officer’s Secret” is a 5-star thriller.

I wonder if the next books in this CID series can possibly be as good as this one. Time will tell. In the meantime, if you like a good mystery, a good suspense story, and a good romance, I don't think you can do better than reading "The Officer's Secret".

Don’t Miss This Thriller Mystery!
5-Star Military Suspense!


  1. Oh, Vince, I started this on Thursday, couldn't put it down, Mary Ruth wanted a fresh diaper and I said, "Hold on, Toots!!! Let me get this chapter done... And this one... And..."

    You get it! And then my computer went weird and I've been tied up in techno problems, and I can't wait to see what Maggie and Nate come up against! Isn't this Debby's best ever? I thought Killer Headline was, but no... This is it. This one right here because I see these subtle nuances that only a person like Deb would know, a person whose life has been immersed in military. Her phrasing, her tight use of words, military-speak: Perfect.

    Just wonderful, Vince and this review rocks the big kahuna!

  2. The cover alone is making me work harder to finish all the tasks I need to wrap up before I can sit down, crack open the pages and enjoy the thrill.

    Your review of Debby's book is not helping my patience, Vince! You've framed the story with such intrigue, I can't wait for my quiet moments to indulge in another Debby Giusti masterpiece.

    Although I hope you realize you set the bar pretty high when you compare this to NCIS...

    As always, Vince, thanks for the insightful review!

  3. Hi Vince. I've got the book here at home right now and I can't wait to read it!!!

  4. Hi Mary:

    I think Debby got your dictum backwards. Just when you think things couldn’t get more suspenseful, she shoots someone!!! : )


  5. Hi Audra:

    I agree that NCIS sets a high standard but NCIS has never had a story as complex and suspenseful as “The Officer’s Secret”.

    Also, NCIS is not a romance nor is it inspirational in the literary sense. It would be much easier to write an NCIS episode than a novel as complex as “The Officer’s Secret”.

    To be fair, NCIS probably only has 36 minutes to tell its story (after commercials and station breaks). I would say this time constraint is the real difficulty and genius in writing an NCIS episode. It’s a different bar.

    Don’t you think the cover is almost Gothic? The cover is true to the story. Thanks for your comments.


  6. Hi Ruth:

    If you haven’t read the end of “The Officer’s Secret” you’re missing a third of the conflict!

    They say there are three great conflicts: man against nature, man against man, and man against himself. “The Officer’s Secret” offers all three conflicts. It’s a tour de force.

    I think this is Debby’s best book and I also think it is the best romantic suspense book I’ve read to date. I could do a seminar on why I think this but here’s the short version:

    The story offers a mystery that I did not solve.

    The story offers a suspense scenario that never lets up with both man and nature trying to kill the hero and heroine.

    The story offers a love story that works because the hero and heroine have a commonality of conflicts in their past and the reader knows that if these two ever met, they would quickly discover they were right for each other.

    This is almost like having three stand alone plots except it is harder than that because each plot has to take into account the needs of the other plots. In a case like this, geometric progression kicks in. So instead of being three times harder to write, you really have to take 3 x 3 x 3 which equal 27. That’s 27 times hard to write! I would not even try to do a plot this complicated – I mean, doesn’t a simpler plot pay the same?

    I think “The Officer’s Secret” was a ‘perfect storm’ with the right setting, the right hero and heroine, (at the right point in their lives), in the right setting, with the right set of enemies, the right time of year, the right weather conditions, all combined with an intimate knowledge of military procedures and life.

    The real question is: what comes next? I can’t imagine but it will sure be worth the price of admission.

    As always, thanks for coming by.


  7. Vince,
    My ears have been burning! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very, very kind words about my story!

    Are you sure you read MY book? Just kidding. But I am deeply touched and thrilled that you enjoyed the story. Thank you for a wonderful review and the 5 stars! :)

    So glad you couldn't figure out the mystery. I enjoyed the ending and felt the man against nature part worked. Sounds as if you did, too. That's reassuring.

    Thanks, too, to all the Seekers who stopped by to comment.

    Keep up the great blog, Vince! We all enjoy reading your posts!

    Hugs to all,

  8. Hi Debby:

    I love it when the author stops by. I’ve had 45 hits on this page in the last 36 hours – I think the natives have been active! I can almost hear the e-drums! : )

    It’s going to seem like forever for the next book in the series to appear. This is a great series.