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When A Heart Stops

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The Advocate

When A Heart Stops by Lynette Eason

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

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"...a fast-paced, perplexing potpourri of tense and tender moments. Highly intense and extremely emotional, you’ll be enveloped into the storyline as well as the characters’ lives."

Serena Hopkins, a feisty, extroverted medical examiner, deals with death on a daily basis. A deadly game, orchestrated by an evil killer, needs fresh players. When Serena realizes she knew the victim back in high school, the stakes rise considerably quicker! The secret she's holding onto tightly has her next on the killer's hit list. With her own life at risk, Serena's life becomes intertwined with her old high school crush and close friend’s brother, FBI agent Dominic Allen. Although a budding romance begins to take shape, Serena wonders if she can trust Dominic with the truth of a past promise she made to her friend and classmate, Jillian . . . or with her life.

Pieces of an unsolved case from the past bear an eerily similar likeness to the recent murders. Serena and Dominic must sort through a collection of old files and discover the recurring details that will help thwart the murderer’s game of death, darkness, and dolls.

When a Heart Stops is a fast-paced, perplexing potpourri of tense and tender moments. Highly intense and extremely emotional, you’ll be enveloped into the storyline as well as the characters’ lives.

One of Eason’s fiction staples is authentic characterization. The return of several characters, from the first title in the series, provides continuity to the storyline. Hunter, Alexis Katie and Colton are all a part of a superb supporting cast. Her interweaving of the secondary subplots like Camille’s unplanned pregnancy without parental support with Serena’s compassionate concern for her and the less-than-fruitful search for Alexia and Dominic’s father adds depth and realism to When a Heart Stops. The passionate pursuit of justice as well as reconciliation and redemption are highly valued within Eason storylines.

The small town setting elicits a sense of connectedness necessary for the story’s success. The varying chapter lengths support the pace at which the reader consumes the action.

An unpredictable conclusion bordered on the bizarre. The killer’s lack of mitigating motivation behind the murders aside from merely “playing a game” bothered me a little. It pushed me to seek more information in understanding the whys and connections.

I believe the sweet (but short) last chapter sets up well the third novel in the series. It was an open-ended invitation to continue on the “Deadly Reunions” journey.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.