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Book review: 'Crossing Danger' fun return of mind-reading sleuth


August 03, 2015

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"CROSSING DANGER," by Colleen Helme, $12.95, 316 pages (f)

Shelby Nichols isn't actively seeking dangerous situations. The supersleuth who can read minds is actually looking for a break from trouble when she gets caught up in two cases that don't appear at all related at first.

In "Crossing Danger" she is asked by Uncle Joey "The Knife" Manetto to help sort out why an old foe is in town.

She's helping a reporter who has incriminating information on the attorney general on a missing thumb drive.

Then there's a double murder, or maybe a triple.

And she's resented by a policeman who doesn't understand or appreciate her role in the assorted investigations.

A teen girl — the niece of Shelby's best friend — who witnessed a crime involving a police officer shows up at her door seeking help. This girl has a mother who has her own secrets that further complicate the situation.

The police then find another body at a site where a high school boyfriend of Shelby's died 10 years ago. It all curiously ties together.

Even for a mind reader like Shelby, it's confusing and a little scary. Fortunately, she's taking classes in aikido to learn moves she can use to break a chokehold or someone's arm.

Shelby has to rely on her keen sense of intuition and her wits to solve the murders and protect her secret.

She is also doing a kind of double-step to keep her husband from putting his foot down on her dangerous hobby and avoid becoming too reliant on Uncle Joey's good-looking, sexy and protective bodyguard.

The Shelby Nichols adventures are light enough to be pleasant reading and serious enough to warrant investment.

The characters are pretty well fleshed out and Utah author Colleen Helme does a good job at interweaving the actual conversations and the talking that goes on in Shelby's head.

Helme avoids making it cumbersome and actually builds in quite a bit of humor with it, having her heroine answer questions the characters don't recall asking, for instance.

Because she can hear what people around her are thinking, she's valuable. She also makes people mad and throws them off balance, so she puts herself in danger on a fairly frequent basis.

The only implied sex is between Shelby and her husband, Chris, and the violence and swearing is "offstage," so the reader doesn't see or hear it up close.

Again, this Helme novel is fun, well put together and good for passing the time at the pool or on the beach.

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