SMALL TOWN PROTECTOR Hope White
Port Whisper Series
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-44498-4
July 2012
Series Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Port Whisper, Washington Present Day

FBI agent and profiler Garrett Drake is chasing a man they call The Red Hollow Killer. This psychopath takes the law into his own hands by preying on men who abuse women. The victims are always strangled with a braided rope known as the red hollow type. Their bodies are left posed with distinct items, or clues, to taunt the investigators. But the latest victim is different. The man's body washed up on the shores of Salish Island, near the town of Port Whisper, an apparent drowning victim.

Even though the killer broke his routine with this murder, Garrett knows this latest victim is one of Red Hollow's. Unfortunately, the two teenagers who found the body were prematurely sent home, a decision by a tour guide named Lana Burns. Garrett is seething. He needs to question these kids now, not later. Pacing the beach in his stiff suit and tie, Garrett hopes to finish here tonight and put the town of Port Whisper far behind him. His ex-mother-in-law lives here, and he does not want to see her just to hear her ranting about the mistakes made in his long ago marriage. But Miss Goodie-Two-Shoes, aka Lana Burns, is quickly becoming a thorn in his side. The woman is too calm for her own good. Tonight, he watched her face a teenager who held a loaded gun while she calmly ate her dinner as if she was talking to a friend. Determined to keep her safe from Red Hollow, and herself, Garrett stay up all night, sleeping in his car, and he's knocking at her door first thing in the morning. When he and Lana finally arrive at the police station, things go from bad to worse when Garrett learns that his son, Steven, is missing. Shock and remorse wash over Garrett; he didn't even know Steven was in Port Whisper!

Garrett hasn't officially seen Steven since he was three years old. Back then, he only wanted to protect the boy and his mother, so he left them in protective custody while a killer stalked Garrett. His wife soon tired of being married to a man whose job was more important than his family, so she left him and asked him to stay out of their lives. But Garrett could not walk away from Steven that easily, he made an appearance at his birthday parties every year, and at all his baseball games, he hid in the crowds so no one would know he was there. He watched Steven grow up, even if it was in the shadows. And now, he is in Port Whisper chasing a killer, only to learn that his son might become Red Hollow's next victim.

Garrett becomes the SMALL TOWN PROTECTOR when he abandons his job for the sake of his son, Steven. He will not risk the boy's life to Red Hollow. Against his better instincts, he finds himself falling in love with Lana, a woman so calm he can't imagine what drives her. Part of his reason for staying is keeping her safe as well as his son. Garrett ignores Lana's belief in God, the things he has seen in his job with the FBI made him abandon his faith years ago. God doesn't listen to him, why should he believe He exists?

Lana has been through much in her life, but she came through with God's grace and a devotion to help others. She knows Garrett is bad news for her, that there can be no relationship with a man who hunts killers for a living. Even so, she does her best to help Garrett through Steven's disappearance, and soon, she also becomes a target of the Red Hollow Killer.

Garrett and Lana need all the help they can get when it becomes apparent that Red Hollow is getting closer to all of them. SMALL TOWN PROTECTOR is taut with suspense. There are tender moments when Garrett begins to learn to trust both Lana and God once again. All of the characters are bigger than life, and there is a multitude of wonderful and warm secondary characters. You will love the town of Port Whisper!

Diana Risso