Author: Amy Ray
Published: April 2014
Publisher: Barking Rain Press
Edition: advance reader's copy
Source: A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Denying the past proves deadly for BK Hartshaw and Trevor Mayhew in this gripping noir novel where nothing is as it seems.
BK is a rising star at a public relations firm, and tonight’s charity ball should be a high point in her career. But a closely guarded secret threatens to destroy her chance for happiness with the only man she’s ever loved… a man who is also hiding a deadly secret.
Trevor has tried to put the past behind him, pretending it never happened. But the conniving father he’s been running from for years has finally found him—and is determined to settle the score once and for all.
BK and Trevor’s deeply buried secrets are about to catch up with them—and everyone they know and love. Who will pay the ultimate price for their dangerous denials?
Dangerous Denial takes a few trips back and forth in time which is essential to plot development but at times seems disjointed and the transitions rough, leaving the reader to fill in blanks in relation to how scenarios may have played out. It's not necessarily altogether a bad thing as it contributes to the mystery that so intricately plays out with great suspense.
Trevor is not the only character with a deeply troubling past though. BK, Beatrice Katherine, was teased relentlessly as a child by her older sister and step-sister but likely even more detrimental to her self-esteem were the comments her mother made about her weight. Self-conscious about her body image and feeling responsible for her father leaving, BK determines not to be fat and develops anorexia. When BK's mother remarries, BK and her older sister are sent to live first with an aunt and then to private school where BK meets again her best friend Shelby.
It all converges at the ball BK is in charge of for a client, an entrepreneur whose goal it is to raise funds for a facility for abused women and children. That evening Shelby is kidnapped and Lenny is on scene to put an end to his "son's" life. As bullets are fired, BK collapses and readers believe there is more than one intended victim in the room that night.
Amy Ray's debut novel is hard to put down while being difficult to read. The victimization of a young child is truly heart-wrenching, in both Trevor's (in greater measure for the sheer brutality of it) and BK's cases. The beginning chapters develop the disturbing background which culminates in a twisted and suspenseful climax. Easily read in one sitting, Dangerous Denial demonstrates this new writer's ability to create characters and situations that are difficult, a plot that ensnares, and most of all, it evokes an emotional response from the reader. Well done for a debut novelist.
Dangerous Denial is Amy Ray’s first published novel. Early in 2015, she will have a short story published in Love Free or Die, the fourth book in the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction anthology series.
Before embarking on a writing career, Amy owned an old fashioned five and dime store where, in addition to regular priced merchandise, she had a display of items that actually retailed for five or ten cents each. She lives near the short but picturesque seacoast in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she enjoys packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child, reading, knitting, and tap dancing.