Author: Valerie J. Clarizio
Genre: Mystery, Romance Suspense
Reviewed by: Nancy Pennick
Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele. However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.
Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?
Due to a well-earned retirement, Nick Spinelli is a homicide detective without a partner. He has his cases wrapped up and his boss sends him upstairs for the holidays, to help out in the social services department. There he meets and falls for Shannon O’Hara, the woman he’s assigned to work with. Still, he’s not too thrilled having to go on cases with a social worker and lets it be known. Shannon also moonlights as a Santa’s helper at the mall. Santa is murdered and Nick joins in with his homicide detectives to solve the case.
Handsome Nick Spinelli falls for the beautiful and sweet Shannon. She’s not like other women who immediately fall for him. I think he sees her as a challenge at first, but the more cases he goes on, he sees her gentle nature and caring attitude. Nick has a past which keeps him rough around the edges. He ends up playing Santa at the mall to help solve a murder, but also to keep an eye on Shannon. During this time, he learns a lot about himself and lets his guard down. Then the criminal investigation picks up putting a few of the characters in danger. The story is a nice mix of romance and crime fiction.
Covert Exposure is a fast, enjoyable read. Ms. Claizio has two follow-up books in the series. It will be interesting to see what Nick and Shannon are up to next.