Dangerous Refuge

Author: Elizabeth Lowell

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: April 9, 2013

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5


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Refuge is a small town that boasts nine churches and twice that many bars.  A rancher is dead and suddenly, Refuge is more than a small town full of simple country folk.  Now it is a small town that boasts at least one murderer.  The only people who cared about Lorne Davis are his nephew Tanner and his friend Shaye Townsend.  Together Tanner and Shaye put themselves on the path to find answers to Lorne’s death.  Sparks of the sexual kind are flying but Tanner, an LA cop, is allergic to small town living, and though Shaye looks high maintenance, the former city girl has found a peace in Refuge that she never intends to leave.

The last time I read an Elizabeth Lowell novel, they featured innocent young women who were pure and perfect, untouched by life, paired with intense men who had chips on their shoulders about women. These men then treated the women like they were deadly snakes, until near the end of the novel when the hero finally had a light bulb moment and realized that he’d not only treated the heroine badly, but that he was in love with her.

What I love about this novel is that it is about two people who are equals.  They are both adults who have been burned by life and love, and haven’t allowed themselves to become bitter.  Tanner is an LA homicide cop who smells something fishy when his uncle dies suddenly and no one but he and Shaye are interested in the odd niggling details that don’t add up.  The interplay between the main characters is playful, honest and has the perfect pitch of sexual tension.

I loved the western setting of this thriller and although the death of Tanner’s uncle is the catalyst and starting point of the book, Lorne, Tanner’s late uncle is an interesting and compelling character throughout the book. 

Shaye and Tanner quickly start flirting but both are aware that even if they do get together, their affair will end when Tanner goes back to LA.  Tanner has to decide whether it is worth getting involved with Shaye because she is not the kind of woman who has casual flings and he can’t offer her anything permanent.  This is a solid and well written thriller, which I thoroughly enjoyed, not only for the great story but the depth of characterization.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Claudette

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