Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Thriller/Romantic Suspense
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
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A native of Liverpool, England (but younger than those other famous Liverpoolians … Liverpoolites … Liverpoodles … whatever they’re called), Pete Barber now lives in North Carolina with his wife and a bunch of animals. Pete has one other novel, the techno-thriller Nanostrike. As one of our pals, he’s also written a book review or two.
“Love is a dangerous drug.
Lab assistant and avid climber Amber Wilson is no stranger to risk. But she feels invisible around her handsome boss, Mark, until she accidentally doses him with an irresistible aphrodisiac that leaves him with a suicidal hangover. Abruptly fired, Amber and Mark partner up to research the source of the drug—a rare New Zealand mushroom—in hopes of refining it for safe use.
On their way to New Zealand to collect fungi samples, Amber is blindsided by a deep and intense romantic connection with Mark. Their new business plan is endangered by ruthless Maori mobsters who control a mushroom scheme they’re killing to protect. As the body count rises, Amber struggles to salvage her and Mark’s dreams, but when she risks her heart and acts alone, both of them could end up paying the ultimate price.”
Sometimes it’s harder to write about a book you like. A novel that’s bad or “just okay,” you notice the places that don’t work, and can mention those. But when everything works, it feels like you’re listing the same old things. I could mention liking the characters (not just Amber and Mark, who were great, but also the secondary players, like Amber’s friend Maude who provides comic relief). I could point out how the exotic locale where much of the story took place came alive through the excellent descriptions.
However, once I finished Love Poison and reflected on what single factor it was that stood out for me, it was the plot. More specifically it was how the overall story arc took the different pieces of the story - the romance, issues at work, the search for the source of the mushrooms, and the complications that arose in the search - and found a way to keep jacking up the tension. When the romance was going smoothly, it was time to introduce a complication elsewhere, when that crisis was averted, they’d hit a relationship snag. Whatever the current predicament, it kept pulling me along, wanting to find out what happened next. Well done, Mr. Barber.
Mild adult situations.
No significant issues
Rating: ***** Five Stars