dangerous illusions book coverMurder, Love, Intrigue

Author: Irene Hannon

Trish Bailey has experienced years of tragedy and heartache. It is hardly over. After losing her husband in a car wreck, Trish is left caring for her only remaining family: her ailing mother. Trish’s days are about watching her mom, sorting her mom’s endless pills, and going to a job in the dangerous part of town to teach underprivileged children. The strain is becoming unbearable. When her mother suddenly dies, the family accountant suggests that perhaps Trish mixed up the pills. She has been forgetful and overwhelmed lately, after all.

As the investigation unspools, Detective Colin Flynn somehow knows that Trish is innocent. It helps, of course, that she is beautiful, but she is also forthright, damaged but still trying to spread good will and just survive. As the detective gets further involved in Trish’s life, he starts to have suspicions. Is everything that happened to Trish a coincidence? And what about this accountant who is a little too interested in the multi-million-dollar family business Trish just inherited? What about all these loose ends, these strange moments, the glimmer behind formerly familiar eyes, and Trish’s own growing sense that she is slowly being led to something?

I picked up Dangerous Illusions as part of my Christian fiction Goodreads book club and wasn’t entirely sure what to think. I read a little bit of everything, and I adore mysteries and thrillers, but romance is just one genre that doesn’t usually appeal to me. I dislike the sentimentality and the lack of reality, yet here author Irene Hannon, who does give us some lovey-dovey sappiness, makes it surprisingly endearing. Trish is, after all, a beleaguered woman, and Colin has enough past trauma to make him both interesting and empathetic. By the time they end up coming into each other’s orbit, they have become real people, and we’re rooting for them. They won’t fix each other, per say, but they will strengthen one another. It’s actually kind of nice, oddly heartwarming, and if not entirely realistic then certainly still believable in the context of this off-the-wall thriller.

illustration of man with gun

Image by Free Fun Art from Pixabay

And I do mean thriller. Romance takes a back seat to the tension and the twists. Irene Hannon is not playing around. The stakes are very high here and the bad guys are willing to do whatever it takes – including lots of murders. At first, Dangerous Illusions seems straight forward. It’s the old, old twist. We get it. But then, it morphs again and again. As the plot becomes more intricate so do the actions and interactions. Just as we are growing to feel for Colin and Trish, the villains’ schemes are getting more desperate and all together more dangerous. It’s riveting. It’s the kind of book you cannot figure out and the kind you absolutely cannot put down. About the time you think you know what will happen, a new thread unwinds, a new mystery is revealed, a new body gets hidden, and a new mobster in a fancy car comes on scene.

In the end, we get what we want after some heart pounding near misses. It’s perfect and beautiful, and while yeah, the love story goes exactly how we expected it to, we are more than glad for that happily-ever-after twist.

I noticed that Dangerous Illusions is part of a series. I’m not sure where it will go from here, since it was so neatly closed, but I am along for the ride. Irene Hannon has me now. I have a new favorite author obsession. Highly recommended.

– Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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