A Wedding to Die For
Pick Your Poison
Two Novels by Leann Sweeney
Signet Books

Reviewed by Barbara Free

     Both of these novels include the same main characters: a pair of twins, adopted in infancy in a less-than-legal manner. It seems appropriate to review than together, since readers who enjoy one will want to read the other, also.
     In Pick Your Poison (2004), Abby Rose, a Houston socialite, sets out to discover who killed her gardener. He was killed on the grounds of their mansion before he could tell Abby and her twin sister, Kate, something about their adoption. Their adoptive father had died shortly before that, and the gardener had worked there just a few months, hired shortly before their father died. Abby and Kate had grown up knowing they were adopted, but believing that both their birth parents had died in a plane crash in El Paso.
     During her investigation, Abby uncovers blackmailers, secrets, lies, a black-market baby ring, and other unsavory facts. This results in changes in the lives of all involved, and as the story unfolds, ultimately leads to the second novel.
     In A Wedding to Die For (2005), Abby has decided to become a private investigator who specializes in reuniting adoptive children with birth parents, something like our New Mexico Confidential Intermediaries, but with a different approach. As the story begins, Abby is attending the wedding of one of her search clients, and has not yet found the woman’s birth family.
     The plot includes people who are trying to keep secrets from people who are also keeping their own secrets, including embezzlement, a stolen baby, and a birth mother who has believed for twenty years that her baby was dead. Sounds incredible at first, but those who have heard adoption and reunion stories know that all sorts of incredible things may happen in adoption and reunion.
     Both books are fun to read if you like mysteries arid want read a couple of mystery novels with adoption as a central them. Sweeney has created believable characters. I liked the fact that she “plays fair” with the reader, in that she introduces all the characters early on in the story line, instead of having the “culprit” show up in the last chapter. The situations that propel the plot involve real issues in the adoption world. Secrets and lies have commonly been told to everyone involved, just as in these novels.
     This reader looks forward to more books by Leann Sweeney, and hopes she continues to use “Abby Rose” as a way to reach readers concerning adoption issues.
     Both of these books will be available through the O.I. lending library. If they sound intriguing to you, come to the next meeting and check one out.
     Editor’s Note: Dead Giveaway, the third novel in Ms. Sweeney’s “Yellow Rose Mysteries” series, is also available. Another recent novel, Death Goes Dutch by Albert A. Bell, also features an adoptee protagonist (Korean-born) who helps other adoptees in their searches.

Excerpted from the April 2006 edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2006 Operation Identity