Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling

 

Romantic Suspense Review   

 
Unforgivable
by Tina Wainscott
St. Martin's, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-97908-8

 

 
 

 

Possum Holler is a close-knit community in the backwoods of Georgia.  The quaint setting might seem like the perfect home, but young Katie Malloy knows her town is divided into haves and have-nots.  When the young girl witnesses a horrible act of cruelty, she is quickly forced to learn the painful lesson of what it means to be a have-not.  It takes the compassion of a strange young man not much older than herself and the promises of a veterinarian new to Possum Holler to make her believe in kindness and love. 

Years later, life has changed for the better for Katie and she should be happy with her nice home and doting veterinarian husband, Ben Ferguson.  But there is a restlessness in Katie's soul, something not quite right about her life, her hometown.  It is only when the friend of her youth, Silas Koole, returns to Possum Holler that Katie begins to discover the truth that cruelty is not a boyish prank and small towns are not protected from killers. 

Tina Wainscott has detoured from her previous paranormal romances to make a name for herself in the romantic suspense genre.  She proves herself to be quite competent.  Katie is far from the typical superhero heroine-- she is a real woman with real issues and we cheer for her all the more because she is not perfect.  The initial exchanges between Katie and Silas are touching in their awkwardness and yearning and the romance flows at a realistic pace rather than being used as a vehicle for the suspense plot.  While the protagonists are well-drawn, it is the author's skill at crafting a villain that catches us by surprise.  It is no small feat to get inside the head of a serial killer and figure out what makes him tick, but Wainscott does it with chilling clarity. 

Unforgivable is memorable for its characters as well as the tense, claustrophobic feel of Possum Holler.  The small town setting is nothing new, but Wainscott infuses every scene with a sense of anticipatory danger.  As this is a romantic suspense novel, it is clear almost from the beginning who the hero is and the romance undercuts the suspense in some ways.  Still, there has been a dearth of good, solid romantic suspense novels of late and Ms. Wainscott's Unforgivable is a welcome addition.

 

Kristina Wright
Southern Scribe Reviews

2002, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved