The Secret of the Love Letters by K. Dawn Byrd
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Romance
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
When Zoe Mack moves in with her grandparents to start college, she's thrown into more mystery than she bargained for. Her cousin, Emma, is terrorized by a stalker who breaks into her house and leaves a photo-shopped image of Emma hanging from a tree. Nothing is as it seems and Emma soon learns that even the man she thinks she can trust is suspect.
Zoe can't wait to reunite with Nate, the bad boy who doesn't talk about his feelings much, but the passionate kiss he gave her last summer had to have meant something. When she arrives back in town and discovers that he's in trouble with the law, she must take matters into her own hands in order to clear his name. She has her hands full with a needy Emma, a cop who gives her the creeps, and Nate, the guy she desperately wants to call her own. Can Zoe solve the mystery, clear Nate's name, and make him fall in love with her?
Nineteen year-old aspiring detective, Zoe Mack has her first unofficial case, but is she really ready to take on a dangerous stalker?
Zoe is an absolutely delightful character. She’s smart, brave, and persistent. Even though Zoe has her hands full trying to figure out her relationship with Nate, she doesn’t hesitate to help Emma out when she’s threatened by a stalker. I really like the fact that Zoe doesn’t do anything rash when trying to solve the mystery. She understands that the person terrorizing Emma is dangerous and she always takes someone with her or lets someone know where she will be. Zoe certainly knows how to sleuth safely! Despite all her precautions, Zoe still manages to find herself in a scary situation or two that really adds to the suspense of the book. I suspected who the culprit was about half way through the story. However, the stalker’s escalating actions are very chilling, and I was racing through the pages wondering how and when Zoe and Nate would put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
I do wish the secondary plot line concerning Nate’s issue with the law had been addressed more fully. When Zoe first returns to town, she finds out that he’s been charged with assaulting another woman. It is clear that Nate didn’t do it, but by the end of the book, the true culprit of that crime hadn’t been revealed. It would have been nice to have that loose end tied up.
The tension and chemistry between Zoe and Nate really gives this mystery an intense romantic flavor. At first, the future of their relationship is uncertain due to some of Nate’s actions over the past year, but Zoe isn’t the kind of girl to suffer in silence. She speaks up and lets him know what she’s thinking. While Zoe is completely head over heels in love with Nate, I love that she has a very strong sense of self and isn’t willing to compromise her personal values. Her refusal to play games, and her honest, open way of communicating are all very admirable traits.
The Secret of the Love Letter is a thoroughly enjoyable romantic suspense. Zoe is a wonderful character, and I look forward to reading about more of her adventures in future installments of the series.