Thorns of the Past by Gun BrookeThorns of the Past by Gun Brooke is a mystery/thriller with a huge dose of romance thrown in. This is Brooke’s first thriller and it did not disappoint. The story is based around two very different women, both with major issues in their past, which have left them with emotional scars.

Darcy is a former detective who was forced to leave the police force three years ago following a shooting. She works as a part-time private investigator and a nighttime security guard in the office block where Sabrina Hawke runs her accounting firm.

Sabrina was the victim of a violent incident in college fifteen years ago. The college had a victim-blame culture, which was common in those days (and is perhaps still prevalent in some colleges today), and meant that she was blamed. As a result, she lost her friends and her relationship with her parents. She became emotionally distant, very insecure and developed a complete aversion to the police.

Sabrina often works late which is how she comes to the notice of Darcy. They do no more than exchange pleasantries, until one night when Sabrina is obviously having some problems and Darcy finds herself being chivalrous and wanting to protect her. Sabrina, against her better judgement, feels safe when Darcy helps her. Following a break-in at her office, Sabrina hires Darcy as a private investigator and the mystery/thriller begins.

The Characters

Both Darcy and Sabrina are emotionally flawed, although for different reasons. Sabrina, however, is a real ice queen with major trust issues and Darcy is more than a little attracted to her. She is a great romantic and believes that Sabrina is out of her reach as a daughter of wealthy parents and owner of her own business. She therefore almost ’worships her from afar’ all the while dreading that Sabrina will find out she is an ex-detective. Darcy dreads this. Sabrina’s trust issues with the police will mean that she may well fire Darcy, and then Sabrina will have no protection. Their relationship changes and grows as the events unfold in the story.

Sabrina has a brother Daniel who has been her one family support. Similarly, Darcy has a cousin Meg who runs the detective agency that employs her, and has been her major family support along with Meg’s parents. Both supporting family members are really well described and their interactions with Darcy and Sabrina really show how Brooke understands the importance of support when you are emotionally traumatised.

The Writing Style

There are two elements to this story: the romance and the mystery/thriller. The romance is very well done, as I would have expected from Brooke. The internal journeys of both women are well realized and I enjoyed them. However, Darcy calling Sabrina ‘My Queen’ made me laugh and although I believe Brooke was trying to convey reverence, it just didn’t work. The mystery/thriller element was well done and built up throughout the story with a final denouement that worked well. However, I felt at that point the story just wrapped up, very neatly and somehow tied up all the loose ends and left me feeling short-changed.

The Narration

Hollis Elizabeth does a good job of the narration but at times I got confused about who was saying what. I feel that she could have made more difference between some of the voices.

The Pros

I loved the romance between Darcy and Sabrina and the story really carried it well, with each of them learning that they have a safe haven with the other.

The Cons

It pains me to say that although this book is a good read, I don’t think it is one of Brooke’s best.

The Conclusion

This is a good romance with a mystery/thriller entwined in the story.

Excerpt from Thorns of the Past by Gun Brooke

“So, about this girlfriend business. Care to share why they might have jumped to that conclusion?” Darcy knew she was ribbing Sabrina, because what other answer than Sabrina being out to her brother and sister-in-law could there be?

“I suppose I should have reciprocated when you told me you’re a lesbian.” Sabrina unzipped her bag.

“No. You have no obligation to do that. None. I suppose I shouldn’t have asked, but your sister-in-law has kind of let the cat out of the closet already, as it were.”

“She did. I’ve known I’m gay since high school.” Sabrina’s tone was definitive. It was rather obvious that she wasn’t going to allow any more questions, but Darcy still had a few.

“Are you going to be all right sharing this room tonight?” She studied her feet for a moment before raising her gaze. “I’m sure we can make other arrangements.”

Sabrina turned around after putting a few pieces of garments into her side of the dresser. “Like what?” She actually sounded curious. “It wouldn’t be the first time I slept in the Silverado.”

Sabrina gaped for a fraction of a second. “I couldn’t have you sleep in the truck! Are you crazy?”

“No. It would be one option if you don’t—”

“But I do! I mean, I don’t mind at all. Don’t be silly.” Sabrina grabbed a hanger with jerky movements and hung a dress on it.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781626398580
  • Publisher: Bold Stroke Books, Inc
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Stroke Books, Inc
  • Narrator: Hollis Elizabeth

Gun Brooke Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Thorns Of The Past by Gun Brooke. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

About the author

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I am from near Bournemouth in the UK and live on a lesfic book diet of thrillers, adventure, crime and law stories. I also devour every sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian book I can get my hands on. I have a particular love of stories of people in uniform!

When I am not reading and reviewing, I am at a beach somewhere in my camper van or playing in a brass band.