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The Kiss after Midnight

Clarion Review (5 Stars)

An attraction to a beautiful stranger proves a critical mistake for rich New York playboy Tobias Mead in the gripping thriller The Kiss After Midnight.

When Tobias meets stunning Penelope Salazar one evening, he is instantly drawn to her. And when she is found dead the next morning, his shock is quickly overcome by the realization that he is the number one suspect. Further complicating matters is the discovery that Penelope was involved with the heir to a powerful crime organization, and the dangerous family now believes that she left incriminating evidence in Tobias’s possession. With no one left to turn to and with threats coming from all sides, Tobias has no choice but to trust a mysterious woman who sweeps in and helps him escape both the mob and the police.

The Kiss After Midnight is rich in action and intrigue, starting out strong and never letting up on the narrative tension. Complications multiply as the pages turn, but the author capably keeps all of the story lines connected and relevant from start to finish. Not a single word is wasted, and every moment counts as Tobias literally runs for his life, surprising himself as well as the dangerous men who pursue him with his newfound talent for self-preservation. As one villain states, “I’ve taken down people stupid enough to call themselves untouchable. Politicians think twice before slandering me, and now you’re telling me that some punk will be the one to bring me down?” Tobias transforms himself into a force to be reckoned with, and his character’s evolution is expertly conveyed.

Amazon skillfully draws each character with depth and precision, from sympathetic Tobias and his enigmatic companion, Annabel, to ruthlessly ambitious mobster Antonio Cabrera and his associates. Each personality is multilayered, and the author’s persuasive writing will leave readers easily believing that even-tempered Tobias can learn to manage a weapon and that a hard-edged mob enforcer does indeed have a sensitive side. The author doesn’t hold back regarding the fates of even the most familiar characters, and the surprises keep coming.

Readers will be enticed by the plot’s atmosphere of constant betrayal; no one truly trusts anyone else, whether new acquaintance or childhood friend, and usually with good reason. Tobias, in particular, doesn’t know who to believe in, finally placing his trust in Annabel, his intriguing savior. Even so, a thread of doubt remains present between them, and readers will wonder right along with Tobias just what Annabel’s real story might be.

The narrative keeps up a spectacularly fast pace, and readers will have a hard time putting the book down as the tension continues to build with every page. Just when it all seems to be coming together, Amazon springs a few startling surprises into the mix, resulting in a shocking conclusion that both satisfies and intrigues and will likely leave readers anxious for the second installment of the planned trilogy.

The Kiss After Midnight is structured flawlessly, and editing errors are virtually nonexistent. The plot flows smoothly and readers will become invested with the characters and caught up in the complex and entertaining story. The novel is far more than a typical yarn about running from the mob, and is full of breathless tension, compelling characters, and unexpected twists and turns. A perfect thriller by an extraordinary new writer. Very highly recommended.

Jeannine Chartier Hanscom