Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts
Kathleen Breezewood has just been divorced from her husband, who has custody of their son. She now lives in Washington D.C. and is a teacher where she attended high school. She is straight laced, closed up, and has trouble reaching out to people, even her own sister. Grace McCabe is a successful mystery author. She is Kathleen’s opposite in manner and attitude. She has never married because she’s been too busy with her own life.
Grace comes to spend some of her vacation time with Kathleen. She is shocked to discover what Kathleen does for extra money so she can hire a lawyer to fight her ex-husband for their son. Kathleen has an alter-ego, Desiree, who is available through a phone sex agency. Kathleen sells her voice to fulfill men’s sexual fantasies. It is so unlike her sister that Grace doesn’t know what to do. She is worried about the “crazies” in the world, but the company, Fantasy Inc., has a total anonymity standard. None of the men are supposed to know the real identity of their fantasy woman.
But things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. Grace goes out with the homicide detective who lives next door to Kathleen to pick his brain for her murder novels. When they get home, she finds herself in the middle of a real killing. Kathleen has been raped and strangled with the telephone cord.
Detective Ed Jackson, the cop next door, is pulled in to work on a case that is too near to him. He is falling in love with Grace. She is determined to find Kathleen’s killer with or without him. After another murder and attempted murder of Fantasy Inc. employees, Grace hits on the best way to lure the man out. But Ed wants to keep her away from the case, protecting her. These two strong people are striving for the same goal, but clash on the method to use. Can he solve the case before someone else, especially Grace, is attacked?
Nora Roberts’ Brazen Virtue is an enjoyable suspense novel. I liked the interaction between Grace and Ed. Ed’s character is drawn in, but not completed. There is more to him than we meet in the book. I also would have liked to known more about Kathleen’s character and her relationship with her sister. The suspect is known to the reader fairly early in the book. That doesn’t detract from the process of the police (and Grace) trying to locate and identify him. Gerald is not what is considered a typical serial killer. Brazen Virtue takes some unlikely people and puts them together in a believable fashion.
Ed Jackson was first featured in Sacred Sins. In Brazen Virture, Nora Roberts brings back Detective Ben Paris and Dr. Tess Court from that novel.
Notice: Non-graphic violence, Strong sexual content