(blogcritics.org, Nov. 18, 2008, Katie Tally)
In Dark Summer Johansen introduces us to Devon Brady, a veterinarian who is characterized by her love for animals and her desire to help others. She is on a disaster relief mission on an island in the Caribbean when Jude Marrock brings his black Lab who has a gunshot wound. Devon treats Ned the black Lab, but Marrock mysteriously disappears leaving the dog with her as well as a promise to come get him soon.
Through this Devon is inadvertently drawn into Marrock’s shadowy world of greed and suspicion where the body count is piling and even Ned holds an important secret. As Devon and those she loves become a targets she must decide whether she will trust Marrock for protection. The attraction between her and Marrock builds and her love for Ned grows until she feels she has to help them both escape the man who is hunting them all.
Iris Johansen is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with dozens of books to her name. Dark Summer resembles her other books with its gripping combination of action, suspense, and a hint of romance. The plot is well-constructed and fast-paced, but easy to keep up with and understand. Johansen’s characters are usually tough, hard people, and while those in Dark Summer are no different, they display a vulnerability that makes them believable and makes the reader care about them.
The only real critique I had with Dark Summer came with the hints of paranormal abilities in a couple of characters. Paranormal abilities are something Johansen has begun to explore and incorporate in her more recent books, but it is done only peripherally in Dark Summer. The use of it in this book was superfluous, and the plot would have been stronger without it.
Dark Summer is an excellent read for anyone who is looking for an easy, entertaining read, or for anyone who enjoys an exciting romantic suspense.