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Anne Carter

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Category: 

Mystery/Suspense

Publisher:  Beacon Street Books Type: 
Pages: 

258

Copyright:  June 19, 2014
Fiction

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When a young Hopi man discovers letters written to his late mother by a WWII soldier who's also just died, he embarks on a journey that rocks his otherwise sane world. From World War II until the day Nate Sinquah discovers its deadly secret, Angel's Gate Lighthouse has remained steadfast and silent, guarding more than just the City of Angels.

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Jack McKenzie has returned to L.A., a city he kind of hates, to get back to some things he really loves: ice hockey, his friends, and his sidelined career in set design. He soon discovers that someone has been looking for him—and not for a video production.

Nathanial Sinquah may have missed out on big-city life while spending most of his childhood growing up on Arizona’s Third Mesa. He’s in for a rude awakening when he boards a Greyhound bus to Southern California in search of the answers to his late mother’s secret past. Salvation comes in the form of young Emelie Marin, a savvy, sexy and sometimes psychic college dropout who sidetracks Nate’s quest and turns his insides into jelly.

But Nate believes that he and Jack may share lineage, and Jack is blown away by the possibility. Together, Emelie, Nate and Jack embark on a journey that leads them back into a past fraught with uncertainty, bigotry, fear and tragedy. The mystery of Nate’s ancestors is only a small part of a much larger tale, one that emanates from an iconic structure standing guard over a dark blue harbor. From World War II until the day Nate discovers its deadly secret, Angel’s Gate Lighthouse has remained steadfast and silent, guarding more than just the City of Angels.


Excerpt

August, 2012 - Flagstaff, Arizona

Nate lay awake in his small studio apartment, weary from the tedious trip to the old mesa where he’d reluctantly left his grandmother. It wasn’t like he wouldn’t be back, but his grandmother’s health warranted concern. Their last visit had been clouded by her confusion, but she became lucid and matriarchal just before he’d gone, impressing upon him her “theory” or tutavo about his future.

“You have a purpose, Nah-tah-n’l,” she whispered hoarsely, selecting a few English words amid her comfortable Hopi expressions. Nate knew only a smattering of Hopi, but he understood that Sobo was speaking about honor, and about her daughter—his late mother. She charged him with carrying forth his mother’s clan’s purpose.

“Whatever that is,” he muttered now, his eyes open in the dark as he fingered the string of turquoise she’d struggled to slip over his head just before he took his leave. But he’d been brought up to believe in fate; what would happen was pre-ordained, and he would be guided toward that end. He only needed to follow the path as it was revealed to him.

That path led to Los Angeles.

Once the City of the Angels slipped into his mind, Nate knew sleep wouldn’t come. A groan escaped as he tumbled out of bed, went to the window and peered out at the inky night.

What should I do? What can I do? The letters lay spread out on the desk across the room. Letters spanning three decades, words of love and longing from a white man in a big city to a young Hopi girl in Winslow, Arizona.

Did it matter why? They were both dead; no one had mentioned their relationship while they lived, and no one seemed the worse for it now. Yet Sobo’s whispered words haunted him. It was that damned purpose she’d dropped on him. Did this purpose have to do with the letters? With his own lineage? There, in the dark of one of his loneliest nights, Nate couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad had happened. Something that affected his future—his whole life. Because if this man had been sending love letters to Nate’s mother for over thirty years, had they also met physically? Could the writer be someone more than just a stranger?

Nate walked to his desk and switched on the table lamp. He pushed the letters all together into one stack and stuffed them into the lap drawer, holding his hands against the drawer front as if it might pop open and throw the sheets back out. Standing very still, Nate closed his eyes and tried to grasp the clearest thought he could muster. That thought was the same one challenging him for months—since the week following his mother’s death, and one day in particular when he’d found the letters. He needed to find the man who wrote them and ask the question.

Unfortunately, Nate had procrastinated too long. Gus McKenzie was dead.



Professional Reviews

May Be Her Best!
I have been a fan of Pam Ripling (who writes under the pen name Anne Carter) for years. What drew me in was her mystery series about different lighthouses...I LOVE lighthouses. This is the third in the series, and while they each revolve around different lighthouses, they have overlapping characters. Her books are insanely easy to read, and always have an element of mystery, romance, history and a touch of supernatural. I believe that this installment may be her best.

The story revolves around Angel's Gate lighthouse in Los Angeles, and a traumatic event that happened there back during WWII. It includes stolen coins, a forbidden love affair with a Japanese-American woman, and the generations of secrets kept that affect the present day. More than once I've read books about the way the Japanese-Americans were treated during this time, and it still manages to shock and enrage me.

The modern day story pulls together quite a few characters from past books, plus a couple of new ones...a young Hopi indian man and an absolutely adorable young South American woman, who are pulled into the fold of this amazing group of people. Several times throughout this book, I wanted to stop and send Pam a message and tell her how much I appreciated a truly pure, uncomplicated love story between these two new characters. No drama, no cheating, no games, no lying, just two people who are loyal to each other and their friends. Like a breath of fresh air. It is pretty sad when you just expect something bad to happen when two people find each other. I also love that Pam has incorporated so much cultural diversity here.

I think it is important for you to know that I don't regularly read from the romance genre. From the cover of this book, you would think that it was a Harlequin romance, but that is far from the truth and I don't want anyone to discount it for that reason. This book is just an excellent, historical mystery. One that I read in record time, and one where I felt GOOD when I finished it



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