cover image No Child of Mine

No Child of Mine

Kelly Irvin. Five Star, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 948-1-4328-2530-0

Irvin spins off characters from 2010’s A Deadly Wilderness in a disquieting but flat romantic suspense novel. Daniel Martinez is an investigator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio, a job that’s cost him his wife and family. While Daniel is attending a wedding and trying to reconcile with his wife, his foster son, eight-year-old Benny, is kidnapped. Daniel begins a desperate search to recover Benny before the boy becomes another statistic in the deadly world of gang-bangers and drug dealers. The case is immediately complicated by the discovery of a child’s skeletal remains on the bridegroom’s ranch. Many of the adults are unhappy Christians laden with regret, and only the children are really sympathetic characters. Failing to develop a believable romance, Irvin tries for gritty, but the dispassionate prose mutes the tension while highlighting the detailed, ugly descriptions of child abuse. (Oct.)