Not This Time by Vicki Hinze

Joan Nienhuis

4 Stars

March 27, 2012

This is the third in the Crossroads Crisis Center series. If you have not read the other two, this one may be a difficult read for you. Much of the impact of the novel relies on action in the previous books. In this novel, Sara and Beth have created a multi-million dollar business. Sara fell head over heels for and married Robert Tayton, someone Beth intensely dislikes and does not trust. The novel opens with a terrorist attack by NINA (a terrorist organization seen in the previous books). Then Robert is kidnapped. Sara is preventing Beth from getting close and supporting her in this time of need. Beth knows there is something strange going on in Sara's life, something Sara will not talk about. The tension heightens as it becomes evident that someone in Beth's acquaintance is a NINA operative. Add to the mix Joe, part of a secret investigative team. The possible romance between Joe and Beth must first make it through their previous hurts.

I have mixed emotions about this book. I liked the action. There is much going on that kept my interest. Hinze's writing style is not my favorite. Sometimes I'll read through a dialogue and what was supposed to be communicated in the choppy sentences just mystifies me. And she frequently uses the “shock at the end of a chapter” technique that actually comes to nothing. Here is an example. Joe and an antagonist are fighting. “A gunshot fired. Joe went down and they fought no more...” (206) The next chapter starts with other characters. Six pages later, we get back to Joe. “The special phone vibrated at Joe's hip. Omega One. Joe pulled off Highway 98 and onto the shoulder.” (213) Joe's riding his motorcycle, alive and well. We find out on the next page that a woman fired the gun the antagonist had dropped – fired at the ceiling. The bad guy took off running. Now, keeping the reader in suspense for several pages, thinking Joe is shot, might be acceptable literary technique. But after several of these, I get a bit to disliking it, actually, quite a bit.

So, the action is good. It's an exciting novel. I'd change the writing technique a bit. But that is just my preference.

There is a Reader's Guide at the back of the book for discussion groups.

Go here to enter a contest for a free copy of the book and a ½ caret diamond necklace. Contest ends March 31. Go here to read chapter one. Go here for the publisher product information.

Vicki Hinze is an award-winning author of several novels. She lives in Florida with her husband. For more about her and her books: http://vickihinze.com/

Multnomah Books (a division of Random House), 328 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.