Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blogtour for A Chance Encounter, a fascinating thriller by Rae Shaw, the first book in her new Julianna Baptiste series.
A Chance Encounter
Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?
Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.
His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.
For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?
Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.
A Chance Encounter is a fascinating beginning of a new series of thrillers featuring a curious and feisty bodyguard Julianna Baptiste. Intrigued by the words ‘curious and feisty’? So was I. And Julianna didn’t disappoint!
As this is the first novel in a new series, there is plenty of ‘world-building’ or rather since this isn’t a fantasy novel, setting up the Julianna Baptiste universe. We find out her backstory. First, only the most salient points e.g. why she spends hours pummelling a punch bag decorated with the photos of her own honeymoon or why she stopped working for the intelligence services and took up a modest position of a bodyguard/occasional chauffer for the family of Jackson Haynes. Julianna might doubt her powers of observation and her ability to see the big picture (due to what happened in her own private life), but when her instinct tells her she needs to pay closer attention to something, it is usually spot on. Julianna is new to the Haynes household and still needs to learn a lot about her employer and his family. There is also a new forensic accountant Mark, who is about to begin working for Haynes. Mark’s chance encounter with his little sister Ellen, whom he hasn’t seen for three years, lets on that Mark’s family also have their own secrets and these will make up the backbone of this well thought through plot.
The story is told from several points of view- Julianna’s, Mark’s and Ellen’s. I found this form of narrative gave me a much better insight into the characters and the unfolding events without the need for sensational twists, but rather building up meticulously the knowledge we need to understand this complex story. I was drawn straightaway – first by Julianna’s personality, then by Mark’s intriguing past, then I was shocked by Mark’s and Ellen’s mother’s attitude towards her children, and so on…I just had to keep reading until I reached the end of the book. The narrators’ voices are distinct and represent well-rounded characters.
The pace was excellent which contributed to my enjoyment of the story. I would really like to read more books written by Rae Shaw and, of course, I would like to continue with this series. Can’t wait toread the next Julianna Baptiste novel!
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, the publisher and the author for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.
Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.
As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.
Thank you for reading the post! Have a great Monday and a wonderful new week!
If you would like to find out what other bloggers thought of the book, here is the full blog tour schedule:
- Nesie’s Place
- Ginger Book Geek
- The Crime Warp
- The Magic Of Wor(l)ds
- Jess Bookish Life
- Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog