Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blessed are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino: Reading Room Review

Blessed are the Peacemakers is the 5th Gabriella Giovanni mystery, and I am solidly addicted to their spell. I should know better than to start a book in this series at night, but I did it anyway and the next time I looked at the clock, it was 6:30 a.m. But, what a glorious night/morning of reading it was! Well worth any sleep lost or dreams missed. Can't imagine any dreams being better than this book. Gabriella and the danger she finds herself in make reading this series a thrill like few others. This character is smart, strong, and tenacious. She is a fierce defender of the truth and those she loves. Gabriella Giovanni is simply one of the best female characters in mystery/crime fiction.

In this latest chapter of Gabriella's life, she is once more in the role of protecting her family and trying to survive tough personal blows. Gabriella and her husband Sean Donovan have been married seven years, with their precious daughter a seven-year-old testament to their love. Living in her step-father's penthouse in San Francisco, with all the protection and luxury it provides gives her family a place to heal and relax after threats in the past. Gabriella has a job she loves as a crime beat reporter, and her husband has a job with the DEA. Looking forward to taking the first vacation with just the two of them since their marriage, Gabriella and Donovan must first get through a week of his absence on a DEA assignment. That vacation never comes, as Donovan's plane goes down in the jungles of Guatemala and he is presumed dead. After two months of barely being able to get out of bed, Gabriella decides that she must visit the area where the plane was last on radar, to find his body or learn what happened to him, as the DEA has ended their inquiries. The decision to travel to these jungles is one that will place Gabriella in a dangerous environment of nature and drug cartels, but she feels that she must endure it in order to put her life back together for her daughter and herself. 

Although Gabriella has had a senator's help in planning her trip, with a guide and arrangements on the ground set in place, Guatemala is a place where plans are seldom allowed to follow their intended course. The drug cartels make the rules and have their own plans. Gabriella Giovanni and Sean Donovan are pawns in a cut-throat business where human life is only as important as it is beneficial to the cartels. Gabriella soon learns that trust is a slippery slope of disappointment and dire consequences. Her quest to find her husband is a twist of the unexpected in the most gripping tales yet in this series. 

One of the many talents of author Kristi Belcamino is the ability to create suspense, the kind of on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement that keeps a reader racing along with the characters to escape danger and death. However, Belcamino also has a deft touch at the slower moments of suspense, where waiting behind a door in a breathless panic raises the reader's pulse along with the character waiting. This story and all the other Gabriella Giovanni stories, are participatory reading at its finest. All bets are off in the struggle to survive, and the moment-to-moment peril is palatable.

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