Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It?

So the romance novels you started reading for Valentine's Day didn't live up to the hype? You need something with a little more intrigue, a bit of excitement, maybe some international espionage? We've got just the thing. These stories do have love, but they serve it up with a twist.

The Company We Keep by Robert and Dayna Baer tells the true-life story of two spies in love. Of course, when they meet they're both married and can't tell each other their real names. (You can't be too careful when you're spying on potential terrorists in the Middle East.) But they don't let that stop them from finding happiness.

This book spends much more time on international politics and the ins and outs of spying than it does on two CIA agents sending love letters. In fact, there's not a single love letter in the book. (Probably best not to leave a trail of evidence.) Due to the strain a career as a CIA operative can put on a family back home, however, the two previously married spies end up single. As they navigate hostile territory together they find that knowing someone's real name isn't always necessary when it comes to love.

If you'd rather have a murder mystery than a spy story, keep reading.

Love can also be frightening at times. In The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino we discover the dark side of devotion. Yasuko doesn't realize how much attention her neighbor, Ishigami, pays to her and her daughter. But when her ex-husband ends up dead in her apartment, Ishigami is there in an instant to help in any way that he can. Even if it means covering up the crime.

In a reversal of the typical mystery plot, you begin the novel knowing who was killed, who did the killing, and why it happened. The tension comes from watching the police try to figure it all out. Will they discover the answer, or did Ishigami and Yasuko stumble into the perfect crime?

The Devotion of Suspect X is nominated for an Edgar Award for the Best Mystery Novel of 2011.

What's your favorite love story that's a little out of the ordinary?  Tell us in comments!

Review by Danny Hanbery


  1. "The Company We Keep" sounds real promising. I've just checked out the audiobook! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Thanks for reading! Hope you like it!

  3. The audio book sounds great. I heard an extract of it on "The Book Report" radio show with Elaine Charles. You can hear the extract on the archived show on I want to read the book. Just making mt y mind up whether to read or to listen