Fen Dexter is a solitary woman who prefers a quiet night at home with her dog, Hector, over anything else --- except maybe the company of her two nieces she raised. One evening, as she happily prepares for a night in, a nasty storm hits the California coast. When Fen’s power goes out, a relatively frequent occurrence since she lives on the outskirts of town, and a stranger comes knocking on her door with a knife in hand, her evening goes from quiet to scary in a heartbeat.
"There’s a bit of everything in PLEASE DON’T TELL --- suspense, romance, action --- and it all blends together very well. It’s a fast read, and believe me, you’ll keep reading because you’ll want to know what’s going to happen to these women."
Vivi, Fen’s oldest niece, is dealing with her own problems. Having recently broken up with her fiancé, she’s emotionally overloaded, and as an emergency room doctor, she needs to keep her emotions in check. Wanting nothing more than to see her Aunt Fen, the storm feels like one more hurdle to overcome in an already hectic night. Right before her shift is to end, a young woman is brought in, her throat and wrists slashed, and in bad shape with little chance of surviving. Vivi does her best and sends her off to surgery but not before finding out that the woman is the latest victim of the serial killer who leaves notes hidden on his victims’ bodies that say “please don’t tell.” When her sister, JC, a free spirit with no job, money, or place to live, shows up at her house, Vivi is at the end of her rope. After dealing with her own relationship issues and a grueling scene at the hospital, the last thing she wants to deal with is her sister’s mess of a life.
Soon after, worlds collide. It turns out that Fen’s stranger has a connection to the serial killer. This makes not only Fen suspicious --- she’s still inexplicably attracted to the stranger, though --- but also Detective Brad Merlin, who is very much interested in getting a date with Vivi. On top of the attention from the detective who is determined to charm Vivi, a psychiatrist colleague of hers, Dr. Ralph Sandowski, also shows some romantic interest. When JC crashes Vivi’s date with Dr. Ralph, everything takes a strange turn and no one knows how everyone is interconnected. Is there a killer much closer than they think?
There’s a bit of everything in PLEASE DON’T TELL --- suspense, romance, action --- and it all blends together very well. It’s a fast read, and believe me, you’ll keep reading because you’ll want to know what’s going to happen to these women. Fen, Vivi and JC are immensely likable characters thrown into some crazy situations, and you would like all three to get to the end intact. One thing I especially liked about this book is the dogs. There are two very lovable pooches: Hector, a big huggable Lab, and a pink poodle oddly named Flyin’ Fool that belongs to the detective. As a dog person, I loved these additions and the way Adler made the pets characters as well. Maybe that’s what made the human characters so likable for me.
While romance isn’t a genre I tend to follow much, I do enjoy it in stories like PLEASE DON’T TELL. I like my suspense slightly messy and overwhelming --- in a good way, of course. Messy lives are more interesting lives for characters, and that adds to the story for me. Let’s face it, I like yelling at characters not to open the front door! If you’re a fan of Adler’s work, I think her latest is going to please. If you’re into suspense, I suggest picking this one up. It will make a good summer-evening read.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on July 12, 2013