cover image An Unexpected Distraction

An Unexpected Distraction

Catherine Bybee. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (378p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2956-8

The MacBain Security and Solutions team is back in Bybee’s thin third Richter romantic suspense novel (after A Thin Disguise). When MacBain operative Jacqueline “Jax” Simon is summoned by her brother, Harry, to return to London to investigate the reasons behind their parents’ abrupt divorce, she’s shocked to find a connection between their failed marriage and Richter, the military-style German boarding school Jax was banished to as a child. Richter’s nefarious dealings have been the topic of the series, and yet more secrets are uncovered as Jax discovers why her parents decided to send her away. Along the way, financier Andrew Craig, a close friend of Harry’s, is thrust into the investigation, a hazard of trying to date Jax. At first he’s excited to be uncovering a mystery, but as danger sets in, he wonders if he’s in over his head. The MacBain team is as tough and loyal as ever, but this installment lacks the intrigue, depth, and action of the previous books, as the divorce makes a flimsy central mystery. Jax and Andrew’s opposite personalities add some flavor, but the romance is far stronger than the suspense. Series fans will hope for a return to form in future installments. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Nov.)