Buried Agendas

Author: Donnell Ann Bell

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

Rating: 3.5 stars

Buy Links: Belle Books and Amazon

Type: Standalone Novel

Received from Publisher


Blurb:  A devastating secret drove her from the man she loved. Will a deadly secret lead her back to him?

Diana Reid is an investigative reporter skilled at uncovering other people’s secrets. It’s her own secret that she’ll go to great lengths to keep buried—a secret that drove her to leave her fiancé and hometown of Diamond, Texas eight years ago. All that’s about to change when she receives a letter stating people are dying, and implicating her hometown’s largest employer. With no other choice, Diana risks her life and her secrets by returning to Diamond, Texas to uncover the deadly plot.

It took Brad Jordan years to put his life back together after Diana walked out on him. Leaving his brother in charge of the family business, Jordan Industries, Brad pursued a law degree and is now mayor of Diamond, Texas. Just as he rebuilt his life after Diana’s desertion, he plans to rebuild his hometown by bringing in new industry and businesses. Those plans are threatened, however, when an El Paso physician notifies Brad that his family’s company may be conducting illegal practices and sacrificing the public’s health. The doctor’s evidence is circumstantial at best, but just the hint of impropriety will shut down the company and bankrupt the town.

Brad is further conflicted when the physician suggests bringing in Diana Reid to uncover the wrongdoing. Diana is the last person he wants to see professionally or personally, and he nixes the idea. Unfortunately, she shows up anyway. Torn between his family and his oath of office, and recognizing she may be Brad’s only option to get at the truth, he’ll join forces with the very woman he’s vowed to forget.

Together, Diana and Brad face a dangerous adversary intent on keeping their deadly agenda buried.

This review contains SPOILERS!


Review:  I don’t know quite how to approach this review. There were elements that I really enjoyed while others stretched the possibilities just a little too much, even for fiction.

The main plot line of the story revolves around Diana Reid’s investigation of Jordan Industries in her hometown of Diamond, Texas.  She received an anonymous note from Diamond asking her to investigate Jordan industries before people started to die, indicating that her mother, who still lived in Diamond, might be in danger.  This was a really good plot.  It worked.  While I would hope it never happens in the real world, in the context of the story it was beautifully written and completely plausible.  Diana is presented as a smart, innovative and tenacious investigative reporter as she goes undercover to find the truth of what’s happening in the most important business in her hometown.  There was mystery and danger of discovery at every turn of the page.  Riveting.

Here’s where the story fell apart for me.  How in the world did this smart, innovative and tenacious investigative reporter allow the threats of a prejudiced old man who didn’t want a woman of Native American ancestry in his family tear her away so easily from the man she professed to love!  Nope.  I didn’t buy it.  I can suspend belief up to a certain point when reading fiction. It’s fiction!  But I didn’t, couldn’t, believe that.  And if Diana, who was so tough in every aspect of her career, could allow herself to be separated from Brad without a fight, just how much did she love him in the first place?

How much did Diana love Brad?  I never felt any sense of connection between Diana and Brad.  There were words on the page, but no real feeling of loss.  Brad showed some justifiable anger, but he had moved on and was engaged to a woman he said he was committed to.  Luckily for the end game of the story, she was involved with the bad guys, making it convenient for Brad to dump her.  Convenient, but not convincing.

This book would have been much more satisfying for me if it had been a straight mystery with no “romance” at all.  Diana’s investigation of Jordan industries was brilliantly plotted and wonderfully written, but the romance seemed flat and unemotional.  The supporting cast of characters, especially Brad’s father, were likable and added nicely to the story.

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