Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Club: Fade to Black by Leslie Parrish

By: Shelly Estes

Formerly an investigator in the  FBI’s violent crimes unit, Special Agent Dean Taggert knows the vicious nature of some people.  He is now a member of the Black CATs – a cyber crimes unit headed up by Wyatt Blackstone. The unit has just discovered online video of vicious murders committed by The Reaper, who sells his murders in an online world called Satan’s Playground.  One of the victims resembles a missing person case in Hope Valley, Virginia.  Dean and Wyatt travel to Hope Valley to meet with the local sheriff,  Stacey Rhodes, who took over for her father when he retired.  She is still reeling from being a Virginia State Police first responder to the violence of the Virginia Tech killing spree.  All she wants is a nice, quiet, non-violent life.  Her cozy life is turned upside when she identifies the first Reaper victim as a local girl named Lisa Zimmerman, who has been missing for more than a year.  She agrees to help the FBI unit with their investigation.  She and Dean also share an instant attraction to each other.  Stacey is willing to have a physical relationship with Dean, but doesn’t want to get too involved because it would mean opening up her feelings to pain and sorrow. Dean is willing to try a physical relationship because he has been celibate since his divorce 10 months prior.  He was thinking more along the lines of a bar hook-up, but when Stacey proposes that they hookup, he’s all for it!

While Dean & Stacey plan to get together after a day of searching for Lisa’s remains, which Stacey is sure are near town based onthe video, a horrible surprise is left on her front porch.  She arrives home to find the body of her dad’s dog on the porch, and the word Bitch written in the dogs blood on her doormat.  While she is cleaning up the carnage,Dean arrives for their rendezvous.  He takes over the cleanup, and encourages Stacey to go inside and shower.  When he’s done and comes inside to check on her, Stacey invites him join her, resulting in one really steamy shower!  Later, she overhears Dean having a goodnight talk with his young son, and realizes he is someone she could fall for, even though she doesn’t want to.

While continuing to investigate the Reaper murders,several of the townies are considered suspects, and in the process of elimination they almost accidently stumble on the Reaper and his currentvictim.  The Reaper escapes capture by hanging himself for the Satan’s Playground audience.  Once the investigation is over, Dean has no reason to stay in Hope Valley, and Stacey must decide if she is willing to risk her heart.

I really liked this book, except for the killing of the dog :o).  The attraction between Dean & Stacey was believable and well thought out.  There was some humor and lightheartedness, even in the midst of the murder investigation.  I love the part where Stacey turned Dean onto Chuckie Cheese for his son – and Dean had the thought that if he never saw that big singing rat again, he’d be happy!!
My office mate gave me the second recipe – when you see the first one you’ll know why!

Preheat oven to 400
Open box, place frozen pizza on pizza pan
Bake until golden brown.
Slice and enjoy with your favorite beverage

Pasta Carbonara with Bacon
6 oz uncooked fettuccine or spaghetti
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/4 lb)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 egg
¾ cup milk
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
¾ cup chopped plum (Roma) tomato (1 medium)
½ cup thinly sliced green onions (8 medium)
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free plain yogurt

1)      Cook and drainfettuccine as directed on package. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon and garlicuntil crisp. Drain; remove from skillet, and set aside.
2)      In small bowl,slightly beat egg. Beat in milk, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Place cookedfettuccine in skillet. Add milk mixture, spinach, tomato and green onions.Cover; cook about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, untilspinach is tender.
3)      Stir in yogurt;cook over low heat just until heated through.

Serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese andfreshly ground black pepper.

Leslie will be dropping in to say hi and answer questions.  She will also be giving away the next two books in this series - Pitch Black and Black at Heart.