“THE CHASE by DiAnn Mills, is top notch suspense with just a thread of romance.
Zondervan|April 2, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-310-33317-3
To the FBI it’s a cold case. To Kariss Walker it’s a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it’s a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl’s missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch’s brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Karriss’s pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith and romance in The Chase.
Kariss Walker was a New York bestselling author writing women’s fiction. However, this morning she is having a meeting with her editor, Meredith to convince her to let her switch genres. Kariss wants to pen a suspense novel, but Meredith tells her if she does that then she is: “…about to commit publishing suicide.” Meredith reminded her that her last book sold over 600 thousand copies along with a “sweet spot” on the best sellers list. If she insisted on writing suspense then her ratings were going to “plummet like an avalanche.”
For eight years prior to becoming an author, Kariss Walker had been an evening news reporter on Houston’s channel 5. From that experience she had more ideas than she’d ever have time to write about.
Meredith told Kariss to send her a proposal for her next women’s fiction novel which they’d already discussed a few months prior. Meredith also told Kariss if she went ahead with the suspense novel and didn’t meet the demands of the publishing world, her actions could dissolve their representation of her work. Kariss indicated he was fully aware of that fact and if none of the other publishing houses didn’t want to publish her either, then she’d self-publish because she said she could not, not write this suspense novel. Meredith picked up her cup of tea and left the office.
Two hours later, Kariss had an appointment with Lincoln Abrams, special agent in charge of Houston’s FBI. It had been 5 years since she’d worked in any capacity with them. Kariss was excited and wished the agent had the same amount of enthusiasm about her writing a suspense novel. Perhaps if she knew the real reason why Kariss wanted to protect children.
This story meant more than all the six-figure checks combined. In 5 years, no one had solved the crime stalking her, and she herself didn’t possess the skills to smoke out a killer. But in her novel version, the perpetrator would be brought to justice. Five years ago, a female child between the ages of 4 and 7 years old was found in a clump of trees beside Pine Grove apartment in south Houston. She was named Cherished Doe because to date her identity and how she died remained a mystery. She wore green pajamas and was wrapped in a quilt, then placed in a purple flower bag. Medical experts ruled the cause of death as starvation. She was discarded like an animal.
Speeding along the highway toward the FBI office, Kariss was sure her agent would change his mind once he read the first chapter of her suspense novel – and the book’s dedication. Kariss was “hungry to make this work.”
Linc Abrams, head of the FBI called Special Agent Tigo Harris into his office. He asked him if he remembered a t.v. reporter from about 5 years ago named Kariss Walker. Tigo said he did. Linc explained that she was writing a suspense novel and had chosen the last case she reported on – Cherished Doe. Tigo was a bit alarmed and said: “she picked a hard one.” Linc went onto explain that Kariss wantd the novel to be as authentic as possible and had requested to ride along with an agent and Linc was assigning her to, Tigo. Tigo said: “You’re not asking me to babysit a woman who wants to be a faux crime fighter.” Linc told him yes he was and would also need Tigo to review her material for accuracy. Tigo asked how long, Kariss would be shadowing him for and he was told 3 months max. Linc then told Tigo to go change his clothes before going downstairs to meet her. Tigo frowned, he didn’t want to come within 50 feet of the woman, but she’d be his sidekick for the next few months.
Kariss met with Linc Abrams and asked him outright “will the Cherished Doe case ever be solved?” Linc said that he’d hope so and asked Kariss if this was the case she wanted to use for her book. Kariss told him it was definitely the case she wanted to use. She said she wanted to write the novel so the ending reflected a solved case, and asked Linc if there was any chance of opening the case back up.
Next, Kariss met Tigo and he was none too happy to have this woman trailing along after him for the next 3 months. He was upfront with her saying: “…your desire to write this book might get you killed.” Kariss simply replied that his trying to persuade her to give up her research only reinforced her determination.
Tigo and Kariss talked for a few minutes about the Cherished Doe case and Kariss told him: “I’ve never been able to erase the little girl’s autopsy picture from my mind.” Tigo and Kariss got along well enough although, she felt he could use a few lessons in manners. She felt that some women would find his “crusty edges” endearing but she didn’t.
After their initial meeting, Tigo set Kariss up to speak with Ricardo Montoya, one of the detectives involved in the original unsolved case of Cherished Doe. From there, Kariss began to draw outlines for her new book. Ricardo Montoya had never been able to let this particular case go either. He felt if a man or woman is murdered it is regretful, but a child is a whole different matter. Adults can fight back and possibly defend themselves but a child is helpless.
The Chase is a rollercoaster of suspense and intrigue. I just couldn’t put it down. I kept telling myself “one more chapter” and six chapters later I’d still be reading. DiAnn Mills is a talented author who knows how to weave a story that will keep you constantly wondering what’s going to happen next. Highly recommendable.
“THE CHASE by DiAnn Mills, is top notch suspense with just a thread of romance.
Kariss Walker, a onetime TV news anchor turned best-selling woman’s author has decided to change genres. Wanting to write themes with a bit more grit, Kariss pulls from an unsolved case she reported on as an anchor. The death of an unnamed child has haunted her for five years. Hoping to bring awareness to the case and find justice for the child, she finagles her way into getting some assistance from FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris.
Tigo is not the least bit thrilled to be saddled with Kariss, an author who wants to play detective. But, when the case gets reopened, Tigo begrudgingly agrees to work with Kariss . . . as long as she stays out of his way and stays out of trouble. Unfortunately, trouble seams to follow Kariss at every turn.
When overlapping threads between the cold case and Tigo’s current case become evident, time is of the essence. Time and keeping a headstrong Kariss safe.
THE CHASE was the perfect blend of slow and methodical and fast-paced action. Small sparks between Kariss and Tigo are enough to hint at a possible romance, but just enough to drive romance readers crazy. The only flaw I found was that Kariss was portrayed as incredibly sharp, but at times she made some poor decisions. Other than that, the intensity of the story keep me turning page after page.
Book provided for review purposes.
“Absolutely riveting! New to me suspense author. Woo Hoo!”Kitty Lou C wrote this review Friday, August 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Kariss Walker is an author working on her next book. She has determined to switch from writing books for women to writing suspense novels. Kariss has decided to write a work of fiction based on the unsolved death of a little girl. In order to learn how her characters should behave she has come to the FBI to gain incite into how they solve a case.
Special Agent Tigo Harris is assigned to help Kariss with her research. Tigo is in the middle of a case involving members of the Arroyo gang, a group of gun smugglers.
Kariss has a knack for getting right into the thick of things. Before long she is on the Arroyo's hit list. Tigo urges her to leave town but Kariss is determined to help find another missing child.
This was a great suspense novel that kept me turning the pages until the exciting end. I liked the way Kariss managed to win Tigo over eventually. Kariss and her strong-headedness frustrated me a couple of times. After the gang is after her she still goes off by herself and gets into trouble. I thought the ending was wrapped up a bit too quickly. I felt like I was reading along and the suspense was building and then all of the sudden it was over. I felt like saying "wait a minute, what just happened?" This is the first book in the Crime Scene Houston series. The next book The Survivor comes out in March 2013.
“Kariss is a best selling woman's author that want to turn her attention to a cold case. She teams up with the FBI and danger happens.”Dawn W wrote this review Thursday, April 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Diann Mills has another hit on her hands! The Chase is a fast moving, mind bending race from start to finish. Kariss Walker is a NYT Bestselling author of woman's fiction (I think of a female Nicholas Sparks) who has a raging desire to write a mystery/suspense novel based on a cold case that she reported on when she worked at a tv station. She ends up burning bridges with all of her women's fiction connections and she dives into following an FBI agent as they get the case "Cherished Doe" reopened. Things spiral quickly and Kariss finds herself in danger and the FBI agent she is following becomes very protective of her. It may not be enough to save her though as past and present collide in "The Chase".”Janna R wrote this review Monday, April 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Kariss Walker is bold and adventurous in more ways than one. Kariss is a New York Times best selling author whose agent is opposed to her writing her first suspense novel. She will even go as terminating her contract with her agency if she does not stick to the prescribed genre she is famous for. But, five years ago an unidentified little girl was found murdered and starved to death in the woods. Imagine a parent so cruel as to do this to a young child and the killer not caught. This case really struck a chord with Kariss at the time. Kariss was the new anchor that reported the case and wants to avenge the child’s murder by writing her first suspense novel hopefully with the help of the FBI.
Kariss cannot erase the image of this child seen in her autopsy picture from her mind and reporting the murder on Channel Five, as their anchor would haunt her until the case was resolved. Her solution was to write a suspense novel, which would give the case a positive solution, but not before learning more of the facts, following a really hot FBI Agent around for three months and learning what procedures went into solving a cold case.
Enter FBI agent Tigo Santiago whose reaction to Kariss was anything but elation. Noted for writing women’s fictional novels this change of genre would not only surprise her readers but also upset her literary agent who threatened to drop her. Headstrong, bold and determined she enlists his help, allows him to create the guidelines and hopes he will get the case reopened.
Cherished Doe is the name of the child found dead five years ago. Hopefully her novel will enlighten the public, parents, educators, guardians and hospitals to be more vigilant in protecting our children. Child abuse is wrong and never understandable. Anyone seeing a child hit, abused or in danger of being hurt needs to report it on the spot as any educator, principal or guidance counselor should. With the help of the HPD she prays for a miracle to not only reopen the case but also hopefully they will solve it. But added into the mix is the issue of the murder of Tigo’s informant Candy, threat on his life by her handlers, the weapons smuggling he hopes to stop and his terminally ill mother.
As the author brings to light more about Tigo you understand his passion of for his job, the fact that not only he has invested time in the case about Cherished and the love he has for keeping his mother alive and not giving up on her. When Tigo suggest that the three agencies pool resources, hold a press conference and offer a huge reward for information Kariss is excited and hopes that someone will come forward but after two weeks no one does. Added into the mix is Tigo’s impending problem with the cartel, their hopes of finding out that Candy was giving up information to and his hope for his mother. Making life more difficult for Kariss is her agency that does not support her efforts and wants to control her work. What she does will definitely not surprise the reader but let everyone know that she stands by her convictions. But, the program on the Spanish network proved positive as someone came forward and identified the young child as his niece Benita Olvera. Living with a feed tube due to a physical condition she was born with, the uncle provided them with the father’s name and the name of her doctor and hopefully they would find her missing mother. Just who killed her has yet to be seen as the weapons smugglers have started to fight back, kill more people and want revenge for those they lost.
Meeting the child’s father and uncle made a marked impression not only on Kariss but on the agents too. The story behind her short life was sad as what would have happened if they never deported Xavier, her father. The sad thing is a child died and suffered at the hand of someone who did not care. But, what happens next would change everything for Kariss as she winds up in the middle of gunfire at a hospital when an informant is stabbed by the Arroyo’s because their head guy gives orders and eliminates those who do not follow. Looking into the eyes of one of the assassins Kariss is now front and center in the line of fire along with Tigo.
Trying to remember the faces of the two men would not be easy. One got away and the other was dead. Recalling the incident and giving Tigo a physical description of the man would hopefully help capture him. But, there are many twists in the investigation as Kariss receives an urgent phone call and plea for help from Benita’s father, Tigo continues on his quest to get Cheeky and more lives would be lost before all was said and done. Did the child’s mother really leave her for dead? What really happened to Benita and did this tie into the guns and weapons smuggling?
Why would Kariss risk her life and to try and help Xavier find his wife and possibly another child? How would Tigo go undercover to get Cheeky? But, things get out of control and other man is a die afraid to remain in police custody. When Kariss decides to buy a handgun the author explains the steps required by law, the classes needed to get her Concealed Weapons License and the fact that Tigo might have more than just a professional interest in her. But, first he and Ryan have to go deep undercover before the cartel takes out more people and in the interim he manages to go head to head with Kariss’s sister’s ex-husband. The author also interjects some of her own religious background and Kariss’s parents hope that she will return to the church as the author shares an incident from her past explaining why she lost faith.
Author DiAnn Mills brings to light just how far one woman will go to avenge the death of an innocent child, help save others and protect those she loves. Added to that we learn much about the FBI, the inside workings of an investigation and the faith and harmony of a special family. But, everything points to her mother Delores who is seen on a daily basis visiting her grandmother at her nursing facility. Added to that Vicki is pregnant and her ex-husband is knee deep in this mess too as a connection is found linking him to two disreputable businessmen who have ties to the gun smugglers and more. Plus an old reporter friend who seems bent on destroying Kariss because of her lack of interest in him and goes about it in a really sleazy manner. So, why is Kariss taking shooting lessons and why does she need a concealed weapon?
Then something happens that places Kariss in danger and front and center with Tigo, Ryan and the sting they hope to pull off in order to finally bring down Cheeky and his gang. The Arroyos seem to be immune to the law and nothing seems to stop them. Can they?
An ending that will renew your faith justice and one FBI agent who would not give up. Just how all of the pieces fit together and how this ends is definitely concealed like the weapon Kariss is allowed to carry so that no one see the gun and no one will know the dramatic ending with its twists, turns and definite surprises. DiAnn Mills delivers a novel that will keep the reader pinned to the printed page, in suspense and on edge until the very end. Let’s hope she brings a suspense novelist back with her FBI partner again in another novel. Does her novel about Cherished Doe get picked up and what is next for her? The first question can only be answered by reading this great book and the second only the author knows. Loyalties come from strange places and betrayals, lies and deceits come out. As Kariss learns the true meaning of friendship, helping Tigo during a rough time and find her way back to God.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
“The protagonist, Kariss Walker, is a best selling author who wants to change genres; she now wants to write a suspense novel. The reader learns a bit about the publishing business when Kariss's agent refuses to allow Kariss to veer from her successful path of writing fiction for women, and they part ways.
Kariss shadows a FBI agent, Santiago (Tigo) Harris, for research and ends up attracted to him. Tigo, working on tracking down criminals involved in a gun smuggling operation, does not like the extra task of babysitting this nosy lady. A bit of romance ensues leaving the reader looking forward to the next installment of Kariss and Tigo.
One negative: I stumbled each time I came across an error that editing should have corrected. Perhaps some sharper editing eyes could be employed for future works.
This is a good read; it even solves a real FBI cold case. I appreciate the delicate touch used to weave in the Christian faith. Discussion questions are included making this a good choice for a book club read.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Zondervan for my copy.”