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Spent Identity

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SPENT IDENTITY
Annalisse Series, Book 2
by
Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Light Romance
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: December 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 378
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Spent Identity book cover

A body, a disappearance, just another hot summer in upstate New York.

It’s July when antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury reaches her family’s small-town farm to consult with the trusted aunt who raised her. She learns that her beloved homestead—the one she expects to inherit—is for sale. While Annalisse reels at the betrayal and her shattered dreams, the Walker Farm ranch manager discovers a corpse in the barn. Officials close the suspected murder scene, and Annalisse seeks refuge with her aunt at Alec Zavos’s rural estate in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Then Aunt Kate vanishes.

Annalisse solicits the help of Greek tycoon, Alec Zavos, even though their rocky romance has dissolved into routine separation. What began as hope on Crete nine months ago has eaten away at Annalisse’s hope for a future with him.

In Spent Identity, Annalisse and Alec come together for the second time and find themselves in the center of not one mystery, but several. Where is Kate, and why sell her farm now? Is the dead man a coincidence or a clue to the aunt’s disappearance? John Doe’s identity may hold needed answers to solve the puzzle before Kate’s unstable health issues make her rescue impossible. The clock ticks, and a vengeful murderer is in charge…

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Bookstagram courtesy of Kelli Q.
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Clueless Gent’s Rating

4 star rating

Spent Identity is filled with enough twists and turns to make Lombard Street envious!

Marlene M. Bell certainly knows how to spin a tale – and spin it she does. The book starts off a little on the slow side, but as the mystery deepened I found myself turning the pages rather quickly. I had a very hard time keeping my eyes in place – they always wanted to skip ahead a few paragraphs to see what happened.

This story is book two of the Annalisse Series. I did not read the first book, and that took away some of the enjoyment of this story. There are many times when the author refers to action that happened in the first book. Although some backstory was provided, I know this book would have been even more enjoyable if I read its predecessor. But please don’t misunderstand: this is a wonderful story and I really enjoyed it!

Spent Identity Fills the Senses

Bell did an amazing job with her description. She was sure to touch on all the senses. If a character is sweating, Bell tells us how much. If a character is crying, Marlene tells us how salty the tears taste. And don’t get me started on the German cooking! It was utterly delightful.

This story spans a wide gamut of sensory material. In addition to the good smells of the German cooking, there are some pretty nasty ones, too! Yes, there is a skunk, but that’s far from the worst smell.

If a character is in pain, Bell describes it perfectly. If a character is still healing from an injury, Bell doesn’t forget to include how subsequent events impact the injury.

Technically Speaking

I only came across about a handful of very minor SPAG problems. They certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

The character arcs for the two main characters were pretty good. I’d be interested in seeing how they compare to the character arcs in the first book.

As I mentioned, the beginning of the book is a bit slow – at least it was for me. It does take a little while to get going, but don’t give up! You’d miss all the good stuff. The crescendo to the climax begins about midway though the book. Once it starts, it never slows down. That’s a good thing.

There are some pretty darn good plot twists in the story. They’re not all at the end, either. I have mixed feelings about one of the big reveals near the end. A little backstory would have made it more believable.

I will likely go back and read the first book, and then the third one when it comes out. The main characters are very likable, and the antagonists and very unlikable. It’s a good match. It’s a fun read and I recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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Marlene M. Bell Author Photo

Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested on her website or www.texassheep.com.
Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in beautiful East Texas with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large and lovable Maremma guard dog named Tia, and Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats who believe they rule the household — and do.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
$350 PRIZE PACK / ONE WINNER
Autographed copy of Spent Identity & companion notebook, Mary Poppins-style bag (18×13” tapestry carpet bag with leather trim, handmade in Israel), $100 Amazon gift card, and 18” freshwater pearl necklace.
JANUARY 7-17, 2020
(US ONLY)
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