This is a first book by a brand new author, and it shows. There are awkward word choices, places where the story doesn't flow as it should, and a dénouement that didn't make as much sense to me as it might have.
Having said all that, I did enjoy much of this book. Here's the story in a nutshell: A group of 6 teenage friends is being killed one by one. The detective on the case was friends with them all (sister to one and first lover to another). There are tons of secrets among them, of course.
What I liked: Faith, who comes back for the first funeral and is our heroine, and Devon, our hero. I liked them both. We get to see a lot of their history and they don't try to hide their renewed feelings for one another. They both come across as human, with flaws and issues. But both quite likeable.
I liked Faith's brothers. Who just happen to also be Devon's partners. Lots of humor there, lots of sibling teasing, but brotherly protectiveness and closeness and love that as the reader, I could see coming through as well.
I liked the storyline, although it's one that has been done before and by bestselling authors. For that alone, Schultz gets an A+ for guts. But I really liked the past relationships that Schultz built into the book, and she obviously thought those through well and took the time and care to establish and develop them, and most of the characters were the better for it.
What I didn't like: Schultz has some growing to do as a writer in how she handles conflict between her characters. There is a big scene where Faith and Devon confront a past hurt, and the way that it played out didn't quite ring true for me. She did a beautiful job developing these characters, and then didn't allow them to be themselves during this crucial moment.
But while Schultz did a great job character-building her protagonists, many of her antagonists were characaturish. I would have liked to have seen how the shallow, selfish bitch became that way, when she was one of the group before.
I also kept wondering all the way through the book... who was working the case? Devon and Jake never seemed to actually do any police work. This is definitely one area that Schultz needs to improve upon if she wants to write romantic suspense that includes police procedure in it.
And like I said, there were a lot of places in the dialogue mostly, where the wording felt awkward, just didn't flow properly, like you or I would say things. It almost felt as though she was trying to write it the way it should be grammatically correct, but in dialogue especially, word choice and order has to be dictated more by what is character appropriate.
Also, I couldn't figure out if the old boyfriend was frind or foe. I think that Schultz felt that she established him as friend by the end of the book, but I don't think she cleaned up her loose ends. So she needs to make sure that she keeps all her ducks in a row - a difficult task for any author in a very long book.
So, I know it sounds like there were more problems than pluses here, and perhaps there were, but you all know I'm a very forgiving reader. Overall, for a first effort, I think Schultz did a fairly credible job. It wasn't fantastic, but I can see good potential here. The things that were wrong were things that are the easier things to fix. The basics - good story idea, good character building (for the most part) were there. I would be willing to give her another shot.
Word of warning. This is a "Super/Epic" length novel. If you are not as forgiving a reader as I am, don't go there. If you are forgiving, and are willing to give a newbie a try and overlook her oopsies, you can buy the book at Forbidden Publications.