cover image Under a Turquoise Sky

Under a Turquoise Sky

Lisa Carter. Abingdon, $14.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4267-5802-7

Carter (Carolina Reckoning) has a promising enough premise. Federal agent Aaron Yazzie, a Navajo, must protect Kailyn Eudailey, a temperamental Southerner who has witnessed the murder of her friend, the wife of a Latino gang boss. Aaron hides Kailyn with his grandmother in Navajo Nation, the two pretending they are married. The challenge is to stay safe and to get along, the latter being harder for two prickly, wounded souls. Too much formula mars a plot with decent romantic tension and two complex, engaging characters: a murder that’s an unfortunate cross between Breaking Bad and Legally Blonde (complete with little dog); unbelievable jealousies; a second, unexpected villain; and too many very good people who are churchgoers. On the plus side, Carter has done good research into the Diné (Navajo) people and provides intriguing cross-cultural tension. The dog is a fairly obvious symbol (it was abused), but in time becomes a charming agent of effective comic relief. Agent: Tamela Hancock Murray, Steve Laube Agency. (Sept.)