From Publishers Weekly
“At the start of Irvin’s solid romantic suspense debut, San Antonio, Tex., homicide detective Ray Johnson (aka “Bible Boy”) is hiking with his girlfriend Susana Acosta’s eight-year-old son, when he falls down a ravine and lands near the body of Joey Doyle, the victim of a hired assassin, Lalo Hernandez, who has cut off Doyle’s ring finger. When the police discover Joey was the youngest son of a wealthy car dealership owner (apparently unaffected by the auto industry meltdown), they investigate members of Joey’s family, starting with his wife, Melody. Aware of her husband’s infidelities, Melody had plenty of motive. Ray, a likable Christian cop who’s not too holier-than-thou, has to decide whether he stays on the force or studies for the ministry to keep Susana’s heart. In contrast stands Hernandez, the aging Latino assassin, whose laconic attitude makes him all too chillingly real.”
From RT Book Reviews
“Irvin imparts important lessons about putting your faith in God, and she has a subtle way of teaching them without being preachy. In the process Irvin never neglects the story, which combines a good mystery with strong interpersonal relationships.”
“Summary: Police officer Ray Johnson is enjoying a much-needed break from investigating murders when he stumbles onto a dead body while hiking. Unfortunately, he’s with his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son, and Susana is furious with him for endangering Marco’s life.Ray is caught between a job he finds rewarding and Susana, who wants him in a safer line of work. As Ray becomes immersed in trying to solve multiple murders, he prays that Susana will accept his job and give their relationship another chance. (FIVE STAR, Jan., 354 pp., $25.95)—Barb Anderson”
From Single Titles Review
“Début author Kelly Irvin captures our attention instantly with a terrifying prologue that draws her readers into a suspenseful tale of intrigue, murder, greed and passion.”
“Homicide detective Ray Johnson is trying to win the trust and love of widowed Susana Martinez-Acosta by taking her son and nephew on a hike. But things go awry when her son falls, landing on a dead man. Susana knew better than to trust Ray because of his dangerous career but can she deny what her heart wants?
The body that Ray and the boys accidentally stumbled upon is the son of a rich influential man in the community. Ray has to tread carefully as his investigation leads him close to the victim’s family. There are other distracting factors in his life, like his partner’s alcoholism, his boss’s marital problems and his own failing romance. Not only is this case becoming perilous but Susana, a crisis hotline volunteer, is now involved via an anonymous call for help. Ray has only his faith to rely on as he faces unspeakable evil.
Fast paced action and suspense enthrall the reader as Kelly Irvin brings us face to face with a malicious murderer. Character Ray Johnson has a difficult time juggling his private life and his job as a detective but he stays the course, trusting his faith and his love for Susana. A riveting tale that must not be missed, A DEADLY WILDERNESS entertains with the edginess of a thriller and the passion of a romance.”
From The Romance Studio
“Susana Martinez-Acosta, a single mother, is finding it hard to raise her son Marco, who is eight. She works at a crisis hotline center and not a day goes by that she does not wonder if her deceased Javier is looking down happy with the decisions she is making. Detective Ray Johnson would like to get closer to Susana but it seems it is hard competing with her deceased husband. He takes Marco on a little hiking adventure when there is a small accident that doesn’t make Susana happy. What they never expected was stumbling upon a dead body with a missing finger. Ray quickly finds himself thrown into a case trying to locate the body’s identity, and why someone would take a wedding ring and missing finger. Ray will not give up until he finds the killer. If he could just have the woman he loves by his side, Ray would feel much better with things, but Susana is not willing to give up so easily. He hopes she can push forward to the future and make him a part of it.
I love books by Kelly Irvin, and this one is no exception. She knows how to keep this reader on the edge-of-the-seat. I was completely hooked from the start and mesmerized until the end of the story. The action is powerful, the excitement thrilling and the adrenaline rush, a definite push. A Deadly Wilderness delivers characters that grab the reader. Not only are they strong, but robust and alive. There is plenty of tension blended within the secondary characters that keep the story moving at a fast pace. With Susana trying to raise her son, and still dwelling on her late husband’s death, I thought this made a real-life event situation that many could relate in this stirring story.”
From Allison Pittman, Author
“A Deadly Wilderness is a killer of a good read. Kelly Irvin invites us in to savor the city of San Antonio while giving us a peek into a deliciously fictional dark side. It’s a breathless charge through twisting suspense, where murder, corruption and betrayal share equal time with loyalty, heroism and trust. Chilling scenes are unleashed through the eyes of a ruthless killer, but the true story unfolds with the hero, Ray Johnson, as he risks his life and his heart to solve a crime, protect his partner, and take steps to rebuild a life shattered by tragedy. Most striking, perhaps, is Irvin’s beautifully assembled, perfect cast of characters, a variety of voices, each of them weaving a unique thread. A Deadly Wilderness is a complex story, echoing the refrain of family in all its forms—the ones we love as well as the ones we simply endure. Above all, A Deadly Wilderness explores the idea of the family we’re willing to fight for, and to die for, and how we survive in the wake of those choices. ”
From Harriet Klausner
“… This is an entertaining inspirational police procedural with a strong cast (no pun intended). The inquiry is top rate while the characters have real issues. For instance, Susana worries about her son’s safety and the incident affirms her belief while Deborah has her own demons. Hernandez is a sinister villain who is the opposite of caring Bible Boy Ray who is a true believer. Although dubbed Bible Boy and Mr. Grace, Ray does not shove Christianity down the throats of his peers, his beloved and the readers as the super investigation is the story line.” Harriet Klausner
From Bruce Judisch, Author
“… An excellently conceived and cleverly crafted supporting cast push and pull at Ray throughout the ordeal. His on-again/off-again relationship with the lovely Susana Martinez-Acosta becomes entangled with the investigation, as does his strained friendship with Susana’s protective brother, Samuel–who also happens to be Ray’s boss. Hindered as much as helped by Detective Deborah Smith, his alcoholic partner, Ray limps one step forward then stumbles two steps backward until…nope, not gonna tell ya. You’ll have ta read the “until.” …”