Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Deep Tide by Laura Griffin
Series: Texas Murder Files #4
Published by Berkley on April 25, 2023
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she’s deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.
Sean Moran is on an undercover mission: The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it’s a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he's immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.
Leyla’s connections in the local community and Sean’s skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean’s carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.
I’m not sure how to feel about Deep Tide. The main characters seemed likeable enough. Leyla has her own bakery cafe and catering business. I love that. She has two brothers who are cops. She lives on a beautiful island near the ocean which is a small community. The opening is the oldest brother’s wedding to one of the CSI techs in their police dept. Leyla is catering the wedding.
Sean is a friend of her brother’s from police training and is here for the wedding. He is also here on business. He’s in the FBI. They have an insta-attraction. They hardly seem to get much time together so it doesn’t feel connected enough for me. We hardly learn much about Sean’s case because he can’t tell Leyla or anyone about it.
There are a LOT of characters in the police department, Leyla’s family and then Sean and the FBI. I didn’t get enough depth or connections with any of them. I feel like this is the start of a series except it is book 4 in the Texas Murder Files. It looks like I read book 1, Hidden, which is the sister of the bride and her police detective fiance’s story. They don’t live in this town like the characters in the next 3 books. Books 2 and 3 are the Leyla’s two police brothers. I might have done better having read those books with all the characters.
There is also a murder mystery. Leyla is the one who discovered the body and the young woman worked for her. We get some of the investigation from the lead detective Nicole. She gets leads in a weird way and it connects a bit to Sean’s work so they interface. Since Sean keeps everyone in the dark, the plot doesn’t seem to go anywhere until the end.
I liked Deep Tide. I wanted to know who killed the young woman. But there were too many characters I didn’t know well. Even the main couple didn’t make me feel since I didn’t really know much about them. When Sean took a few days off after the case wrapped which they spent together, it doesn’t give us any of them together; it just jumps to when he leaves. I needed to see more time with them, talking to each other, not just kissing or having sex. I probably need to go back and read Flight and Midnight Dunes. That would help with the other characters but not the plot here.
Her formfitting dress looked silver in the moonlight, and it shimmered against her body as she strolled toward the surf. Nearing a piece of driftwood, she dropped her shoes to the sand and sat down. She nestled the flute at her feet, then lifted her arms and twisted her dark hair into a knot at the top of her head.
Sean stopped at the end of the bridge. He had about a hundred things left to do tonight, including contacting his boss.
Instead, he walked over to Leyla.
“How’s the champagne?”
She jumped and turned around. Recognition flickered across her face, and her shoulders relaxed.
“It’s good.” She held up her glass. “You didn’t have any?”
“Nope. Can I get you a refill?”
She smiled. “What, are you a waiter now, too?”
He stepped closer. “I’m Sean Moran, by the way.” He held out his hand. “We never actually met.”
“Leyla Breda.” Her handshake was brisk and businesslike, but the warm look in her eyes gave him hope.
“Joel’s little sister,” he said.
He turned toward the water so he wouldn’t be tempted to stare down the front of her dress.
“I didn’t get a chance to thank you earlier,” she said. “Things got really hectic.”
“Looked like you had your hands full.”
“So, are you here for Joel or Miranda?”
He looked at her. “Joel.”
She tipped her head to the side as she gazed up at him. “And you know him from . . . ?”
She frowned. “Here?”
“No. We go way back. We were in the same academy class in Houston, spent some time at HPD together.”
“Oh. That was a while ago.”
“So . . . the vice squad, then?”
“Yeah. Mind if I sit down?”
“Not at all.”
Sean lowered himself onto the other end of the sandy log. He didn’t like the direction the conversation had taken so he steered it back to her.
“So, how long have you been a caterer?” he asked.
“Hmm . . . let’s see. I guess it’s been about three weeks now.” She turned and smiled at him, and he felt a hot jolt of attraction. “Why? Can you tell?”
“Not at all.”
“Well, the timing seemed a little bumpy.”
“Just a little.” She rolled her eyes. “We had several staffers no-show. It happens a lot in this business. People are flaky. Despite all my planning, you could say we were a bit rushed.”
Rushed was right. No woman had ever clapped at him before. He’d discovered it was a turn-on.
Excerpted from Deep Tide by Laura Griffin Copyright © 2023 by Laura Griffin. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.
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