By: Susan Fleet
Publisher: Music and Mayhem Press
Publication Date: January 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 19, 2017
There is no better place to begin a suspense/thriller than on the gritty streets of New Orleans. And there is no better person to begin with than Homicide Detective Frank Renzi and his longtime partner, Kenyon Miller. This is how the 7th tale in the “Frank Renzi” series starts, but where it heads is far from New Orleans, into the stunning world of Venice. Renzi is also not the only character that author Susan Fleet has created over the previous stories that appears in this tale. Frank’s longtime adversary – a woman by the name of Natalie - is back, and in a real bind.
Cesare Valenti, along with two of his carabiniere officers, are in Venice monitoring a house directly across the street. Inside that house is a defenseless five-year-old girl who doesn’t belong there. Her name is Bianca, and not only is her mother dead, but her father is currently in a comatose state and might die at any moment. Her parents met their horrible fates when two Mafia brothers organized a diamond heist, shooting the owners and kidnapping their daughter. Europol knows that they need a spy to be set inside that house in order to bring these Mafia criminals down and save the child. Enter...Natalie.
Now, Natalie has been chased by NOPD Homicide Detective Frank Renzi for more than a little while, and she has managed to evade capture. This time around, however, an agent who is fully aware of Natalie’s long list of crimes is the one who forces her to act as the spy. Natalie has more than a dilemma; she is in a quandary that basically comes down to a child’s life versus her own freedom and staying one step ahead of Frank Renzi.
Natalie ran from her past and ended up in Venice, where she starts out by thinking that she has finally found that perfect sanctuary where all will be well and all will leave her alone. She certainly didn’t count on being immersed in a Europol sting operation. As a spy, she must take on the role of nanny. If she doesn’t do this, she will be shipped back to the states and placed on Renzi’s doorstep. But there are other questions and fears pulling on her heartstrings. Will the Mafia gang kill the child? Will she blow it completely and end up being the one the Mafia sends to an early grave? Or...will Frank Renzi somehow step into all this and find a way to finally apprehend her? Let me just say that Frank and Natalie do find themselves in the same place at the same time. But what these longtime rivals may just figure out is that when you have to face a different demon head-on, what you once saw as your enemy may just turn out to be your only ally.
Susan Fleet has delved into these characters and their cat-and-mouse game before, and it’s always a thrill to be able to say that these books just keep getting better. With as much talent and savvy as both Frank and Natalie have, they actually would be a killer team if they weren’t on completely different sides of the law.
Quill says: You will not see the end of this one coming...and you may just feel a roller-coaster of emotions when it does.
For more information on Natalie’s Dilemma: A Frank Renzi Crime Thriller, please visit the book's website: susanfleet.com/nat-dilemma