No one creates exciting, action-packed romantic suspense and international intrigue like New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are on the verge of getting married when Gordon Wheelock, a newly retired FBI legend, throws their wedding plans into question when he starts asking questions about stolen ancient mosaics and the death of a mosaics expert in London. They all converge in Maine for a Sharpe Fine Art Recovery gathering. It’s clear Gordy is holding back on Emma and Colin. They want answers before someone else ends up dead.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Gordy Wheelock washed the dried blood off his face and checked the damage in the mirror. Not too bad. The blood was from a swollen scrape behind his left ear, at his hairline.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Fictional Bracken Distillers is located just outside of Killarney, a real place in southwest Ireland.
- Mysterious English mythologist Oliver York makes his first appearance in the series in HARBOR ISLAND.
- Emma and Colin plan to be married at Emma’s former convent, which is also where they met in SAINT’S GATE.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonists was there anything about them that surprised you?
Emma and Colin are always full of surprises for me! In LIAR’S KEY, Emma’s lunch with Colin’s mother held some surprises given her insightful future mother-in-law’s questions. As Colin says, he learned some of his best interrogation techniques from her. And Colin – well, let’s just say I’m not sure I believe that he and Oliver York will never be friends.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Oooh, fun question. For Emma, I’d choose her dinner at a ramshackle coastal Maine restaurant when Irish priest Finian Bracken joins her. She’s frustrated, she’s without Colin and she’s preoccupied. The scene shows how she manages tension, key to her nature. Here’s a snippet:
“Good to see you, Emma,” Finian said, kissing her on the cheek.
“You, too. Have you had dinner? I’ve had chowder but, as you can see, I’m not about to indulge in pie.”
“I’ve not had dinner. Chowder sounds grand.” He settled into his chair. “We also have a new Bracken Distillers expression to try.”
Emma smiled. “Chowder, pie and Bracken whiskey it is.”
For Colin, I’d choose his exchange in London with English mythologist Oliver York because it highlights his cut-to-the-chase personality and his ability to function despite fatigue and a frustrating change in plans. Also, his love for Emma. Here’s a snippet:
Oliver sighed, leveling his gaze on Colin. “We’re never going to be friends, are we, Agent Donovan?”
“If I do succeed in talking Emma into inviting me to your wedding, you won’t have me barred at the convent gate?”
“Whatever makes her happy.”
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Without giving too much away, I hope they come away with a renewed sense of the importance of trust, having someone you can confide in and know will be there for you no matter what.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I’m finishing RED CLOVER INN, my next Swift River Valley novel, due out in April, 2017. We get to see Greg Rawlings from ECHO LAKE again! In the meantime, A KNIGHTS BRIDGE CHRISTMAS will be out in paperback in late October 2016 and includes “Christmas at Carriage Hill” as a bonus story, in print for the first time.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
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Excerpt from Liar’s Key:
About forty children around ten years old were congregated at the entrance of the New England Aquarium, laughing and elbowing each other as their teachers counted heads, when Emma arrived. She’d decided to take a quick look on her walk back to her apartment. She wasn’t surprised not to see Gordy lined up at the ticket booth. A stiff breeze was blowing off the harbor but it didn’t freeze her to the bone the way it would have even a month ago. Spring had taken hold of New England, and that meant her wedding was getting closer and closer.
If only Colin was close, too…
She pushed the thought aside and walked the short distance to the nearest hotel, a four-star chain hotel on a small wharf jutting out into the water. It was probably more expensive than Gordy would have liked, but it was an easy walk to HIT and not a bad cab drive from the airport, assuming he hadn’t lied and he’d come in from London yesterday.
Emma didn’t quite know why she was thinking the way she was—not simply that Gordy Wheelock hadn’t told her the whole story about why he was in her office, but that he might have deliberately lied to her—but there it was.
She approached a cheerful bellman, explained who she was and showed him her FBI credentials. “I’m looking for a friend of mine,” she said, then described Gordy. The bellman pointed her to a colleague, an older man flagging a cab for a young couple. Emma waited until he finished.
He remembered Gordy. “Sure, sure. You missed him by a few minutes. I just put him in a cab.”
Emma stepped back from the curb, away from an arriving cab. “Has he checked out?”
“Yes, ma’am, he had his bag with him.”
“Do you know where he was headed?”
“I don’t, sorry.”
“Was he alone?”
The bellman nodded. “He was, yes. I never saw him with anyone. I worked late last night and I got in early today. I didn’t see him leave the hotel, but I saw him come back—he was on foot. Alone. Only weird thing…” He hesitated. “I probably shouldn’t say anything.”
“Go ahead, please,” Emma said. “He’s not in any trouble.”
“Well, he tripped last night. That’s what he said—I didn’t see it happen myself. He was bleeding…here.” He pointed to a spot behind his left ear. “We keep hand towels by the door for runners. I gave him one. He wasn’t real coherent but he thanked me. He said he tripped and went flying on steps by the Aquarium when he went out for a smoke.”
“Did you believe him?”
“Yes, ma’am. Of course. Why would you lie about something like that? At first I thought he’d been mugged, but he’s a big guy—not the target you’d pick, you know? Then he said he tripped and that made sense to me. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it. I asked him if he needed an ambulance, but he said no, he’d be fine. He looked okay just now.”
“Anything else you can think of?”
“There was one other thing. A cab driver gave us an envelope to deliver to him.”
“To Mr. Wheelock?”
The bellman nodded. “The driver said he left his passenger window open while he was chatting with another driver, and when he got back in, the envelope was on the front seat. He didn’t see who left it. He said there was a label on it but it blew off.”
“What did the label say?” Emma asked.
“Just the guy’s name and that he was a hotel guest. He’d checked his bag with the front desk. I found it and put the envelope in an outside pocket.”
“Did you look inside the envelope?”
“No, ma’am, I did not,” the bellman said, obviously offended.
Emma thanked him and headed back to the street. She called Sam Padgett and filled him in. “No wonder Gordy looked as if he was in pain,” she said.
“I’ll talk to housekeeping and see what they can tell me about the state of his room. Good work, Agent Sharpe. Are you going to call Wheelock and ask him what the bloody head and this envelope are all about?”
“Doing that next.”
“He didn’t mention falling either because it’s embarrassing, tripping while out for a smoke, or he was attacked and doesn’t want you to know.”
“Or it didn’t occur to him to mention it.”
“It occurred to him.”
Sam spoke with his usual certainty but didn’t wait for her to agree or argue. “What’s your take on the envelope?” she asked.
“Was he expecting it or was it a surprise? Something from a source? A threat? Red Sox tickets? Lots of possibilities. We’ll stay in touch.”
After they disconnected, Emma called Gordy on his cell phone. When he didn’t answer, she left a voice mail. It’s Emma Sharpe. Call me.
She continued along the harbor to the tiny waterfront apartment she’d rented upon her arrival in Boston last March to join Yank’s team. Happy to be back in New England, working on challenging investigations on a small team led by a senior agent who’d always been her champion, she’d settled in to her new apartment and new routines. Not for a second had she envisioned—or even dreamed—that by fall, she would be in love with a deep-cover agent with roots in a small fishing village a few miles from her own southern Maine hometown.
Now she and Colin were planning their wedding.
She smiled, thinking of him. His dark hair, his smile, his blue-gray eyes that reminded her of the ocean.
“I miss you,” she whispered, as if he could hear her.
After several months back and forth to Washington, he’d finally disappeared in mid-March on his latest undercover mission. Despite her own role with the FBI, Emma didn’t know what his mission was or where it had taken him. She only knew it was intense, dangerous and exhausting. He’d come home for a few days in late April and then left again. Since then, not a word—not so much as a text message, email or cryptic voice mail.
Matt Yankowski knew where Colin was. Yank had been Colin’s contact agent on his first deep-cover mission four years ago. Last October, he’d gone out on a limb to get Colin, at least nominally, into HIT and had put up with his relationship with one of his team members. Emma would never ask him to give her hints as to Colin’s whereabouts. She respected their professional relationship, but she also respected Colin’s silence and his trust in her to handle the situation.
Never in a million years did I think he’d put a ring on your finger, at least not this soon.
That was Yank in November. He’d never been one to mince words. Emma smiled, remembering that rainy Dublin night when Colin had dropped onto one knee in a crowded pub and proposed to her.
Wherever he was, she knew he was safe. She felt it.
As she unlocked her apartment door, she noticed a new sailboat had arrived at the marina that shared the small wharf with her building, another renovated warehouse. There would be more boats with the warming weather.
She went inside and was helping herself to a yogurt out of the fridge when a text message came in. Video chat in ten minutes?
Oliver York. Emma texted him back. Five.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
An FBI legend, a mysterious antiquities specialist and a brazen art thief draw top FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan into a complex web of blackmail, greed and murder in the eagerly awaited new novel in the highly acclaimed Sharpe & Donovan series
Emma Sharpe is suspicious when retired Special Agent Gordon Wheelock, a legend in FBI art crimes, drops by her Boston office for a visit. Gordy says he’s heard rumors about stolen ancient mosaics. Emma, an art crimes specialist herself, won’t discuss the rumors. Especially since they involve Oliver York, an unrepentant English art thief. Gordy and Emma’s grandfather, a renowned private art detective, chased Oliver for a decade. Gordy knows Wendell Sharpe didn’t give him everything he had on the thief. Even now, Oliver will never be prosecuted.
When a shocking death occurs, Emma is drawn into the investigation. The evidence points to a deadly conspiracy between Wendell and Oliver, and Emma’s fiancé, deep cover agent Colin Donovan, knows he can’t stay out of this one. He also knows there will be questions about Emma’s role and where her loyalties lie.
From Boston to Maine to Ireland, Emma and Colin track a dangerous killer as the lives of their family and friends are at stake. With the help of their friend, Irish priest Finian Bracken, and Emma’s brother, Lucas, the Sharpes and Donovans must band together to stop a killer.
Meet the Author:
Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe & Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.
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