Secrets and lies have a way of weaving a deadly web. Returning home from his last deployment shouldn’t have been complicated, but Jace Kendall was immediately drawn into a murder investigation that hits a little too close to home. The last thing he should be doing was reigniting old passions that should have been kept buried, but he’s never been a guy who plays by the rules.
Shae has suffered for twelve years without knowing why her sister disappeared. The long-awaited answers are now within reach, and she’ll have no choice but to trust the one man who knows more than he’s telling.
It isn’t long before Jace and Shae are lost in the mystery of solving a case that’s long gone cold. When they find the answers they’ve been looking for, a darkness is unveiled that will leave one of them in the crosshairs of a psychopath.
New Adult | Contemporary | Romance | Suspense
***Received an Advanced Readers Copy for a Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review***
Is it wrong to love a good suspenseful romance? They are always some of the most thrilling reads; always great character building with cunning dynamics that makes the read more realistic plus the hovering backbone of the mystery twisting and turning the plot into more webs of storyline – this is suspense romance and why I enjoy it!
This is my first Kennedy Layne book, well technically, I did read books one and two before cocooning myself into Unlocking Lies. But nonetheless, this is the first series I have ever picked up by this author and I am glad this happened. I love finding new romance authors in the suspense world. Many romance novels are just about the romance, swoon, kiss yummy, drama and then HEA. Suspense just gives more additive to the drama that I enjoy finding authors writing in that genre. And honestly, Layne really set a bar for me on her series; it was nothing short of gut wrenching page turning, choked up fear or breath taking swoon moments that capitalized the romance…
With that being said… before I really get into the nitty gritty of the review rambling, I will like to say a slight disclaimer, or rather just some beefy tidbits for a recommendation. This is part of a series. Unlocking Lies is book three, though it only surrounds Jace and Shae perspective, it still occurs in the incredibly suspenseful town of Blyth Lake. Though you can in fact read this book without touching Unlocking Fear and Unlocking Secrets, I highly recommend reading them first. I personally think the connection between novels is great, if you don’t read them first you might have some questionable conflicts with the plot because they follow one after the other just with different characters. So some aspects might make the novel a little confusing if you do not take the time.
Again, you do not HAVE to go back and read one or two, but I personally recommend doing so! I actually snagged books one and two and literally inhaled all three, so you know where I am!
Whew, red tape cut! Lets move on…
Unlocking Lies starts right where Unlocking Secrets stopped. Told from the perspective of Jace, who is returning home from the military and Shae who is returning to the town after twelve years from her younger sister’s (Emma) abduction. Both in a weird place in life, both returning to a home that they were not familiar with anymore.
Neither character had any defining quality that makes me love nor hate them, I say this because both personalities were strong characters, this is something I really enjoyed. But there were some other qualities that more or less irked me. Jace was returning after years of being away, serving in the Marine Corp, not fully prepared to return home. For starters, Jace has to conform back into civilian lifestyle but more importantly a body was found which means the investigation for Emma’s disappearance is back in action. He is head first into the investigation, really asserting himself; at times I liked his possessive personality but on other angles he came across as this macho beef man who thinks he can do anything and everything.
On top of this, we have Shae. Again, I liked her character, but I didn’t love her. She lost her sister, Emma twelve years ago and she is wanting closure, she wants to find her sisters body to give her the peaceful rest she deserved. I liked that she was so passionate to make things right, but at what costs? She seemed to hover this grudge about herself and about Jace, believing they were to blame for Emma’s disappearance. Which makes sense, they went to a party, but this hovering what if seemed rather back and forth.
As for the chemistry between Shae and Jace really helped me invest more with their characters. I am not saying that my pet peeves above didn’t weigh the factor, but honestly when they were together, between the arguing, the helping, the closure, and their actual chemistry, it was easier to imagine their characters. This being a small town, Jace and Shae’s story had history, and though Layne did not go balls deep in a back story, as a reader there was still this essence and moments of build that flash-backed to what they were to who they were now. This just made their dynamic more believable in the scenario they were put in, at least for me. Bottom line it was more that they were able to lean on one another, they were each others strength.
Something else I really enjoyed was the secondary characters. They were definitely something that aided in the building of the plot. Plus I had an idea on who the killer really was, but I honestly did not see it coming. It wasn’t who I thought, and the ending was no where near what I had expected – it really exceeded my thrilling expectations.
Overall, everything was absolutely phenomenal. The romantic chemistry was sweet, I loved the childhood link between Shae and Jace, it made them see more believable as fictional characters. The drama that aided on the suspense was enough to keep my heart pounding and me on the edge of the seat waiting to figure the mystery out! Where are the Scooby gang when you need them…
Seriously though, there were several elements of the character dynamics, the plot twists, and the heightened drama factors that really made this a true page turner. I definitely cannot wait to dive into book four!
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About the Keys to Love Series
Their homecoming wasn’t so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family’s legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren’t prepared for what awaited them—an unforgivable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.
Missed UNLOCKING FEAR or UNLOCKING SECRETS and want to catch up? You can grab the first two books in the Keys to Love series now!
About UNLOCKING FEAR
A chance mishap with a sledgehammer was the sole reason a chilling nightmare was unleashed in Blyth Lake.
Noah Kendall’s grisly discovery left him in the middle of a murder investigation and a neighbor who knew more than she was willing to say. Reese Woodward had returned to town with dark secrets, and he was determined to unravel them. While evil lurks in the darkness, seduction burns between them…only time was their enemy.
Will her secrets destroy what they’ve built, or can he earn her trust before the killer strikes again?
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About UNLOCKING SECRETS
A grim discovery in Lance Kendall’s home proved one thing—the residents of Blyth Lake had a serial killer in their midst. Now Lance had unintentionally put a target on his back. Worst yet, he’s made the only woman he ever loved known to a murderer.
A trip down memory lane with the man who’d broken Brynn Mercer’s heart wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done in her life, but their reunion was a slow burn of temptation that she couldn’t ignore.
Together, they will only have one chance to correct the past. Will the hidden secrets he uncovered threaten their love or solidify it for a future that has always been out of their reach?
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About Kennedy Layne
Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.