Detective Daniel Hartman lives in a three—story condo in the Montrose section of Houston that he rents from his twin brother, Dr. David Hartman. When Daniel wakes up to discover a woman, naked and recovering from a savage attack, his first instincts are those of a detective. The woman is not a stranger, however. His life will change as the woman becomes entwined, not only with his life but also with his heart.
The woman, Michael Braun is scared, homeless and unsure of what is happening. Daniel Hartman is an intimately familiar stranger, who without hesitation, wraps her in his protective arms and steals her heart. Can she be sure that this vicious attack was a random act when she remembers nothing of the episode itself? Has Michael’s past, a past she struggled to escape, found her? Can she keep herself and the man she loves safe without losing more than her soul?
Will Detective Hartman become a pawn in a killer’s twisted game of revenge? Will he become his lover’s dagger, or will he go through the fire to save what he has found?
"Beware the Abomination."
After initially treating Michael Braun for wounds resulting from a brutal attack, David and Kelly Hartman—a physician and nurse respectively, as well as a gay, married couple—feel that the best place for her (yes, a she despite the masculine name) to recover is at the condo of David's twin brother, Dan. Dan, an overworked detective, ignores David's frantic texts and is shocked when he wakes to find a stunningly beautiful but battered woman sleeping upstairs. Michael is also a mute who communicates through American Sign Language (ASL), a language in which Dan happens to be an expert.
Although the two eventually fall in love, there is more to Michael's past that Dan is aware of until he receives information from none other than Michael's abuser.
Raj Lowenstein presents a romantic thriller that appears more disturbingly real than fiction. Set largely in Texas, Lowenstein's plot has a bit of a Law and Order feel to it—minus the court and prison scenes. Laced with gender-related issues and replete with a tight cast, Lowenstein's storyline zeroes in on Dan and his unexpected romance with Michael amid peculiar situations. Lowenstein punctuates her thought-provoking, third-person narrative with the sinister and hideous presence of Catfish, whose persona is a paradox to say the least. Key to Lowenstein's writing style is the use of engaging dialogue to generate dynamic characters who are developing their relationships and facing life's challenges. Lowenstein aptly fashions her well-developed cast within cliff-hanging chapters that alternate between unanticipated character scenes. Scenes are filled with back stories, steamy romantic episodes, investigations, the evil machinations of Catfish, and are all used in the deliberate build-up to the novel's intense and unnerving apogee.
Kudos to Lowenstein for creating an edgy and eye-opening debut!
RECOMMENDED by the US Review”