"Fractured Legacy" by Charles B. Neff

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The ambitions of a jealous, maniacal entrepreneur join tender romance and political trench warfare to give Fractured Legacy its powerful emotional punch. Labeled a thriller and set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Legacy doesn’t boast the heart-pumping suspenseful denouement of many thrillers, but instead concludes in equal parts romance and realism. Its thrills derive from the drama of underfunded and less-powerful forces taking on the high and mighty. Its touching and hopeful nature flows from an unexpected chance at love between two very unlikely people. These characteristics take nothing away from this book’s thrilling nature; in fact, they definitely enhance it.

In one thread, Jeff and Sara Winter’s marriage appears doomed: since injuring his hip, Jeff isn’t able to help run their outdoor adventure business, and sharp, decisive Sara has lost patience. She meets powerful businessman Grant Tomson, with whom she begins to hatch a plan for a new venture, and doesn’t worry about its possible effect on Jeff. However, this all occurs after the apparently accidental death of Grant’s twin Will, and the halting, unproductive police investigation that follows. The most intriguing character here, and the one with the most intimate and sympathetic story is Bebe Sorensen, curator of a museum in town, who helps the police investigation, and discovers a world of romantic possibility in the process. Some citizens suspect Grant of subterfuge and much worse, and resolve to halt his development ambitions for an idyllic wilderness lake, and his reaction to this threat is a main driver in the story.

I try never to speculate on other work that an author may undertake, or what he or she intends, but Fractured Legacy has the definite feel of something to be followed up with a sequel. The first-blush realization of the nature of the businessman/developer has not resulted in anything but dark suspicion.
No building has proceeded in the wilderness, no land-grab has occurred, and romantic realization for one couple and possible rapprochement for another are still to come.  If there is a follow-up volume, I definitely want it, because I definitely want a chance to see these characters through.

This book has outstanding pace, exceptionally realistic political infighting, and a highly appealing budding romance. Of all things in a thriller, I expected only the pacing; I did not bargain for the other pleasures. Indeed, this book has a great deal to offer the discerning reader, and I for one am not ashamed or embarrassed to hope for a sequel. Rewarding, crisply done, top flight. Highly recommended.  
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