Note: This ARC was provided by The Writer's Coffee Shop via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rue Toulouse is the first Debby Grahl novel I've read, though it is her second publication, and it's romantic mystery suspense story set in New Orleans. Now, my basis for what makes a good romantic mystery suspense novel is that balanced mix of the necessary elements and this book certainly had it in spades. ^.^ Add to that characters that capture your attention and vivid writing that allows you to experience the story instead of simply being told the story and you've got yourself a book worth the time you put into it.
Caterine Doucette lost her parents in a tragic hit-and-run accident when she was only a child but her grandmère, Miss Dauphine, has provided her with the love and care since that horrible night. Unfortunately, some of her other relatives see her as nothing more than an opportunistic, spoiled brat who just happens to be Miss Dauphine's favorite. But Caterine works hard in Ma Cherie, the store owned by her grandmère and doesn't let the trappings of her family's fortune make her believe that she's better than anyone else.
When Caterine attends a masquerade ball hosted by her best friend and her husband, she meets a masked man who immediately captures her attention. She then realizes he's the same man who was so kind to her on the street earlier that day. She throws caution to the wind and does something prim and proper Caterine wouldn't normally do but runs off right after. A kidnapping attempt and what appears to be threats against her life force Caterine to seek help and it comes in the form of her unforgettable mystery man--Remi Michaud.
Remi Michaud is a former New Orleans police officer who quit the force to start his own security business with his best friend. He's had his heart broken before and vows to stay away from rich, privileged women who only consider him good enough between the sheets but not as something more. He falls hard and fast for Caterine but his past makes him wary and he stops himself from even hoping for a future with her. His focus right now is to protect her from those who want to do her harm and to find out who may be behind the evil scheme.
The more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow but will there really be any hope for a future together once Caterine's case is solved? Could one or more of Caterine's relatives want to get rid of her so badly just to get their hands on Ma Cherie that they would be willing to do her bodily harm and, possibly, even kill her? Caterine and Remi need to decide how far they're willing to go to discover and capture the mastermind behind her kidnapping and potential murder and how far they're willing to take their blossoming relationship.
Rue Toulouse had me guessing from start to finish and when the bad guy was finally revealed, I was thrown for a loop! I had individuals and twosomes and even a group and while I did consider them individually, this particular combination of people had my mouth hanging open from shock. I love it when a mystery suspense novel manages to surprise me and this one definitely did. The romance was great and while it did feel like insta-love, after what Caterine and Remi had to go through, these two proved just how right they were for each other.
There are a few red herrings that I did wonder about, especially since they felt as if they were there to throw you off the scent, and I also had a question or two that remained unanswered. This being an ARC, I hope that the editing issues will have been addressed before the official release. Overall, this was a book that I unexpectedly fell in love with and would be happy to suggest to anyone looking for a good mystery novel with just enough romance and suspense to keep your blood pumping. ^.^ Rue Toulouse gets 4.5 stars from me. ♥
Release Date: 15 January 2015
Date read: 08 January 2015
Learn more about author Debby Grahl here.