ECHOES (Harp Security) by Laura K. Curtis-Review and Interview with the Author
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 17, 2015
Who is she?
A single photo of herself as an infant on a beach, taken before the date on her birth certificate, throws everything Calliope Pearson knows about herself into question. Hoping to find answers, she takes advantage of her job as a travel writer to make a reservation at the Caribbean island resort in the picture.
Resort security chief Mac Brody distrusts Callie on sight. After all, she looks exactly like his deceitful missing wife, Nikki, who owns half the resort. But when Nikki’s found dead, Mac’s facing murder charges, and he’s sure that Callie must hold the key to proving his innocence.
The deeper Callie and Mac dive into the mystery of her past, the more bodies surface. And they’ll have to learn to trust each other, or become victims of a dark danger neither could’ve imagined…
REVIEW: ECHOES is the first installment in Laura K. Curtis’s new, contemporary, adult Harp Security romantic suspense series. This is resort security chief and former police officer Mac Brody, and journalist/travel writer Calliope ‘Callie’ Pearson’s storyline.
Told from several third person perspectives, the storyline follows travel writer Callie Pearson to the Paradis Hotel in St. Martin, French West Indies, as she sets out to uncover the truth behind a picture she discovered following the death of her father. The image of Callie and her parents, taken in front of the Paradis Hotel, is dated prior to Callie’s birth and she has no memory of ever having vacationed on or visited the Caribbean Islands. What ensues is a case of false accusations, betrayal, heartbreak and murder.
Mac Brody’s wife, Nikki Lewis, is missing. A former soldier and police officer with the Atlanta Police Department, Mac is the current head of security at Paradis Hotel, and his wife (co owner of Paradis Hotel) has been missing for nine days. When Callie Pearson, a woman with a strikingly close resemblance to his wife, shows up at the same hotel where Mac is employed, suspicion begins to cloud everyone’s mind. A series of break-ins, thefts and attempts on Callie’s life will find Mac protecting the woman he knows nothing about. Enter Nikki’s brother John Lewis, local law enforcement, a family tree that continues to grow, and rumored connections to drugs and murder, and the storyline takes on a new direction.
The relationship between Callie and Mac begins acrimoniously. Mac does not trust Callie; her timing in regards to Nikki’s disappearance is suspect; and the numerous attacks directed at Callie all point to questionable probabilities. When Callie’s friends back home are targeted, Mac knows that Callie is as much a victim as everyone else. When the threats against Callie increase, Mac becomes Callie’s guardian and protector, leaving our couple together both day and night. The romance scenes are intimate and seductive; there is no erotic sexual imagery.
The secondary and supporting characters include a number of island employees as well as Nikki’s brother John. We are also introduced to Mac’s former army buddy Nash Harper, owner and head of Harp Security, as well as several members of the Harp Security family. There is some definite history between Mac and Nash, one that does not go unnoticed by Callie.
The world building follows a path of clues that lead to a series of connected murders and a psychotic killer. The Harp Security personnel are slowly revealed as well as Nash’s connections, available fire power, and the vehicles needed to transport his charges-all over the world. From exotic island locations to New York, and yachts on the sea, our couple will travel in style while the world around them slowly implodes. Mac will be offered a position within the firm-a position that places Mac closer to the woman with whom he has fallen in love.
ECHOES is a captivating and wonderful storyline of family secrets and dangerous pasts; a suspense-filled tale of one man’s obsession with perfection, and another man’s history of lies and deceit. There are moments of betrayal and pain; heartbreak and loss; revelations and a final resolve. Laura K Curtis will pull you into a family mystery where the sins of the father will be revealed one missing person and dead body-at a time.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Laura and welcome to The Reading Café
A little bit about Laura K Curtis: Laura K. Curtis does everything backwards. As a child, she was extremely serious, so now that she’s chronologically an adult, she feels perfectly justified in acting the fool. She started teaching at age fifteen, then decided to go back to school herself at thirty.
Laura has taught middle school social studies, high school literature, and college-level rhetoric, all with relative success. She’s also a full-on Mac geek who spent years as a consultant and running an academic computing lab. The only thing she completely failed at in the field of education was attempting to teach obedience to her pack of Irish Terriers. Currently, she lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband and two insane Irish Terriers who have taught her how easily love can coincide with the desire to kill.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Laura: Oh, so many people and things! Probably first and foremost the work of Mary Stewart. There was no romance section in the bookstore in the town where I grew up, so I didn’t realize there were books that focused on relationships. I found Stewart’s Gothics in the literature section after reading her Arthurian books, and I was hooked!
TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?
Laura: I’ve had a lot of careers over the years. I particularly enjoyed making and selling glass beads. I like things that make people happy.
TRC: ECHOES is the first installment in your new HARP SECURITY romantic suspense series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the story line? The series?
Laura: In Echoes, you meet Callie Pearson. After her father’s death, she finds a picture of herself taken at an exotic resort as a baby. That wouldn’t be a big deal except that the date on the picture is *before* the date on her birth certificate and because her father, who documented everything in journals and pictures, never mentioned a trip to the island where the picture is taken. So she goes to the island of St. Martin in the French West Indies to investigate. When she gets there, she meets Mac Brody, whose wife, Nikki, is missing. Nikki bears and alarming resemblance to Callie so they team up to find out what the two mysteries they’re investigating may have to do with each other.
When Callie and Mac get in too much trouble for two people to handle, Mac gets in contact with a man he knows who runs a large paramilitary organization: Harp Security Enterprise. Mac doesn’t trust Nash Harper, but Harper has the resources they need.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Laura: Right now? Four. This one, Mind Games which comes out in November, then a story about one of the operatives, then a story about Nash Harper. And possibly a book about Travis, who you meet in this book as well.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters, which actors or models would best represent your ideal image?
Laura: That’s a tough one. I guess I imagine Mac as a Viggo Mortensen type in his dark-haired roles, like Lord of the Rings. Callie is an average girl looks-wise. Maybe Brittany Murphy?
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, military, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
Laura: Oh, so many.
Luckily, research is my favorite thing, so finding out about everything was a lot of fun. I did change the geography of the island slightly to make it work for the story I wanted to tell, so there’s a disclaimer in the back.
TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a culmination of fact and fiction?
Laura: A combination of fact and fiction. Mostly fiction
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Laura: Oh, that’s the fun part! This book definitely veers toward the unbelievable, but I hope it’s moving too fast for readers to care.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
Laura: I do, and I must admit that I wish this one reflected the contents a little better. But it hints at the contents, and that has to be enough. You don’t get a whole lot of input with a traditional publisher.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Laura: I create the characters, then set them loose to direct the plot.
TRC: Cliff hangers. Yes? No? Depends on the storyline?
Laura: No. Not a fan.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Laura: I think there are a number of ways to do this. The most obvious is to write in the first person. But a lot of it has to do with creating situations that will evoke the character’s emotions so that that we as readers can feel them. If the characters are too shallow, or we don’t relate to them, or we can’t see exactly what they feel, we won’t feel it either.
TRC: Is there a question that you would like to be asked in an interview, but nobody has asked? If so, ask away!
Laura: I can’t think of one!
TRC: What five things would you like to accomplish in the next ten years?
Laura: Settle the conflict in the Middle East? No? OK. Then make enough off my writing to pay my bills.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Laura: I am pretty open, so most people know a great deal about me. Ask me anything!
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Laura: The next Harp Security book, Mind Games, that comes out in November. And also a contemporary romance, Gaming the System, which comes out this summer. (It’s a follow-up to Toying With His Affections.)
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Laura: I’d love to ask readers something–¦what they look for when they are considering whether to pick up a book buy an author unknown to them?
Favorite Food –cheese
Favorite Dessert- chocolate mousse
Favorite TV Show -Justified
Last Movie You Saw- Kingsman
Dark or Milk Chocolate –DARK!
Secret Celebrity Crush- Chris Evans
Last Vacation Destination -St. Martin
Do you have any pets? –2 Irish Terriers
Last book you read –Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Pet Peeve –I’m a grammar snob. Misuse of language is my pet peeve
Thank you Laura for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your success and the release of ECHOES. We wish you all the best.