Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: Jealousy
Title:  Jealousy
Author:  Nancy Bush
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Publisher:  Zebra Books
Format:  Print ARC
Date Published:  August 28, 2018
No. of Pages:  480
My rating:  3 Stars


It's taken time for the plan to unfold, years spent waiting, watching, hating. . . . And after the first victim, the killing gets easier and easier . . .

The Crissmans, owners of Crissman & Wolfe department store, were once one of Portland's most powerful families. There's still enough fortune left to sow mistrust between Lucy, her bohemian sister Layla, their brother Lyle, and his grasping wife Kate. When a charity event at the Crissman Lodge ends in a fatal poisoning, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But the truth is even more twisted, and Lucy can't be sure which of her family is being targeted . . . or who to fear.

Renowned defense attorney Dallas Denton has been hired to clear Lucy's name, unaware of the secret that ties them together or of the deep cracks in the Crissman legacy. Someone is ready to eliminate every obstacle to get what they most covet, and prove that envy runs deeper
than blood . . .


Jealousy is a dramatic story about the Crissman family, an small affluent clan who owns Crissman & Wolfe, a fledgling department store about to undergo serious changes, much to the consternation of the daughters, Layla and Lucy. The son, Lyle, is apparently following the wishes of their father, Abbott. Each of them, Layla, Lucy and Lyle, are have relationships that are explored in this story. Layla is involved with a man that has taken something from her that she desperately wants back. Lucy is in an unhappy marriage, but in no way expects things to turn out as they did. Lyle is married to Kate, who at first is far too clingy, but her style changes.

The book starts of with a prologue that gives us a spoiler. Lucy's husband John is fatally poisoned at the family's charity event. Meanwhile, Abbott is desperately trying to control his children and the family business. His control is bringing on disastrous consequences for all involved. The business, and a related family property seems to be in the cause of fortuitous circumstances.

I expected Jealousy to be a romantic suspense, but it was far more a mystery, or a family drama, than anything else, as there was no romance at all. Instead, it was a multi-layered story that slowly unraveled. The story ran very slow, and it was hard to remain engaged. It was very full of drama, with unexpected surprises and twists and turns. The mysteries themselves were good and did keep me turning pages. However, at times, the story was rather repetitive, which took away from my enjoyment.

Many thanks to Zebra Books  for this ARC to review in exchange for an honest opinion.



Jean-Luc gazed around the kitchen, his heart pounding crazily as it had ever since he’d taken this job. The place was impossible! The oven was ancient. The grill erratic. The counters so badly scarred that Jean-Luc had sprayed them down with disinfectant himself. The Crissmans might think their Denim and Diamonds affair was the height of societal fun, but Jean-Luc was the one who had to pull his staff together and create hors d’oeuvres that were spectacular.

He’d taken the job because the Crissman family was well-known, well-respected, and well-heeled, or so he’d thought. He’d been stunned at the dismal state of the lodge, downright appalled at the kitchen, and when it was explained that the lodge’s “rustic” appearance was in keeping with its 1930's architecture, he’d pasted on a smile and tried to hide his full body shiver. It was after he’d agreed to take the job that he learned that there were parameters. He was supposed to make something outstanding on a limited budget.

Still, he’d done the impossible. He’d put his own twist on some regulars: dates and bacon, tuna tartare, a rustic cheese plate, platters of crudites with his own Roquefort dressing, and those lovely trays of melons, grapes, pineapple and papaya. There were breads and desserts, a particularly lovely pear tarte, and oh, his amuse bouche! The bite size morsel was packed with flavor; his rendition of capers and goat cheese and salmon that Donovan, his sous chef, had mostly mastered to correctly put together.

But these people. . . All dressed in their finery, the women in smooth heels, shimmering gowns and diamonds – or maybe zircons, one never really knew – OR, and this was the “fun” party, in jeans and casual shirts. One woman had even worn cowboy boots. Jean-Luc had peeked out at them as they’d arrived, wondering dourly why he even tried. It was all a joke to them.

Well, wait till they tasted his food. They would swoon, no matter how gauche they were.

The event was all for charity. Everybody said so. In fact, they said it over and over again as if they couldn’t believe it themselves. He snorted. Maybe they couldn’t.

He glanced down at the rows of champagne glasses on serving trays, sparkling in the drab, green kitchen. Soong-Li was watching over them, making sure everyone just got one. They could buy drinks from the open bar, but they were allowed only one glass of free champagne . . . or rather sparkling wine, as there was nothing remotely French about the California varietal they were serving. Jean-Luc sniffed, then glared at the kitchen worker, not one of his regulars, who was trying not to dry out the prawns.

“Watch those!” Jean-Luc told the man who didn’t even bother acknowledging him.

Imbeciles! Jean-Luc flared his nostrils as he drew in air, shaking his head. He glanced at the “champagne”. Where was Soong-Li?! As he watched several guests snatched glasses from the serving station, and he could see that a full tray was missing. No, no! They weren’t serving it yet! They hadn’t made the final count. Hurriedly, he placed himself in front of the glasses and had to block a rather tense looking woman in a beaded blue gown with grasping hands.

“Not quite ready,” he said with a forced smile.

“Well, I saw a tray go out,” she declared agressively.

“Yes, soon, madame. I will look you up personally and bring you a glass.”

She shot him a baleful glare and left. As soon as she was gone, Jean-Luc hissed, “Soong-Li! SOONG-LI!”

She rushed back in from the serving room. “Mr. Crissman took the tray. I couldn’t stop him. I’m so sorry.”

Mr. Crissman. “The raspberries?” Jean-Luc snapped.

“All of the glasses had raspberries in the bottom. They’re okay. It’s okay.”


“Should I take out another tray of champagne?”

His ears almost hurt at her words. “No. Serve the cheese tray. It’s been forgotten and looks forlorn. I will watch the wine.”

She hurried off and Jean-Luc fumed at being required to attend to such a menial task. There was much to do. Why was he relegated to this?

He suddenly smelled the scent of burning seafood. “The prawns!” he shrieked, but his words were drowned out by a shout from the main room, a rising chorus of wailing, screaming voices.

Jean-Luc put a hand to his heart. What?

Soong-Li returned, wild-eyed. “A guest has collapsed. Stomach pains. He’s . . . vomiting!”

Food poisoning. Jean-Luc’s face went slack. He saw his own ruin in a series of newspaper headlines . . . Famed chef poisons guest . . . Health Department called to famed chef’s restaurant to check for violations . . . Famed chef blamed for employee’s negligence . . .

“I . . . I . . . think he might be dead,” Soong-Li declared, tears of horror standing in her eyes.

With a soft cry of submission, the “famed chef” fell to the ground, hand still on his heart.


Bestselling author Nancy Bush has had an eclectic writing career. She started her first story when she heard how young mothers were making money writing romance novels. She thought, “I can do that,” and talked her sister, bestselling author, Lisa Jackson, into joining her in her foray into writing. At the time Nancy was a young mother herself. Now, she says she's just…a mother.

Nancy began her career in the romance genre, writing both contemporary and historical novels, but being a mystery buff, she kept trying to add suspense into the plot, as much as her editors would allow. In 2002 she was chosen by ABC Television to be part of a writing group “think tank” which was tasked with developing story for ABC's daytime dramas. She was one of two people selected from that group to actually become a breakdown writer for, at the time, one of ABC's top-rated daytime shows: ALL MY CHILDREN. Nancy made the move to New York to join the AMC team while she was writing for the soap. That was an experience, she admits. Ask her, and she'll swear that the pressure cooker of delivering story every day – lots and lots of story -- helped focus her writing.

When Nancy returned to her home state of Oregon she channeled that newfound energy into writing the kind of books she's always loved: mysteries. She wrote three Jane Kelly Mystery novels in the space of three years, and has another one currently in proposal form. The last several years she's turned her attention to romantic suspense novels, writing both with her sister and on her own. Like Lisa, sh e's now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, both in her co-writing ventures and on her own merits as well.

Nancy's latest project? Summer 2012 is the kick off for her newest suspense series with NOWHERE TO RUN debuting in August and NOWHERE TO HIDE in September. A third ‘Nowhere' book is scheduled for next year.

Nancy has recently received the rights back to many of her earlier novels and the Danner Quartet, one of her most beloved series, is available again in e-book form. LADY SUNDOWN, MIRACLE JONES, JESSE'S RENEGADE and SCANDAL'S DARLING follow the ups and downs of the irrepressible Danner family in turn of the century Oregon. Nancy also has a number of contemporary romances that have been updated and reformatted and now have new life as e-books. Look for THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER, DEAR DIARY, and the Summer Lovin' Duets: SUMMERTIME BLUES and IMAGINARY LOVER along with many more in the coming months.

If you would like to get “up close and personal” with Nancy, check out her blog: Nancy tells all….or at least some of it.


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