Valerie's Retreat by Joseph M. Rinaldo
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: October 31, 2013
Format: eBook - 323 pages / Kindle - 873 KB
Genre: Romantic Thriller
BUY THE BOOK: Valerie's Retreat
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
My Book Review:
In Valerie's Retreat, author Joseph M. Rinaldo weaves an intriguing romantic thriller that follows the adventures of an average everyday couple, who transform into a modern day Bonnie and Clyde after their lives take a downward spiral that leads them to seek a new life.
Valerie Fortson is a forty-one year old head teller of an in-store branch of the Community First National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky. While at a singles dance, Valerie meets twenty-five year old Franco Stavini, a Ph.D. candidate and graduate assistant for the Archeology Department at the University of Louisville. Even though there is a sixteen year age difference, Valerie and Franco's relationship blossoms as if they were soulmates, but a series of frustrating events occur in their lives that make them consider leaving Louisville to restart their lives somewhere else. Valerie is sick of being continually sexually harassed by her female bank manager Rhonda Bohanon, who makes it clear that Valerie has to play ball if she wants to become the Assistant Manager. Meanwhile Franco's chances to finish the doctoral program and obtain a career in the Archeology field is ruined when the department director, Professor Strickland is terminated for allegedly taking the federal grant money for his personal benefit, and the University decides to close down the department. And if that isn't bad enough, Franco gets a surprise visit from the FBI when he is considered a suspect in the federal theft of a historical Native American artifact. What starts out as a crazy idea turns into a plan: Valerie steals $200,000 from the bank and the couple flee the US for Peru, where they can live out Val's dream of owning a marina and Franco's passion for studying the Inca culture. Can this modern day Bonnie and Clyde's plan to live out their dreams succeed, or will their adventure as criminals catch up with them?
In Valerie's Retreat, the author easily draws the reader into following the action-packed adventures of Valerie Fortson and Franco Stavini. This multi-layered storyline features riveting international political drama, suspense, passionate sex scenes, and surprising twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages. Originally set in Louisville, Kentucky, Val and Franco take the reader along on their crazy adventure to Callao, Peru, where they try to stay one step ahead of the FBI while rebuilding their lives as new Peruvian citizens, only to have to also deal with a corrupt set of Peruvian government officials.
The author provides the reader with a multi-layered storyline that alternates between the perspectives of Val and Franco, the FBI special agents who are investigating the bank robbery and stolen artifact, Val's best friend Janet Knead, and a variety of corrupt Peruvian government officials. I loved how the author interweaved the alternating perspectives throughout the story, it keeps the reader engaged, on their toes, and wanting to find out what would happen next. I thought that the different perspectives tied in nicely to the main focus of the story: Valerie and Franco's plan to rebuild their lives.
With a large cast of characters; two richly detailed descriptive settings; an intriguing look into the workings of the banking industry and the archeology field; riveting international political drama; and a steamy sex filled romance added into the mix, Valerie's Retreat takes the reader on one hell of a thrilling roller coaster ride that romantic thriller fans will appreciate.
RATING: 4 STARS ****
About The Author
Born in Illinois, I nevertheless spent most of my formative years in Kentucky. I attended The Ohio State University and am an avid Buckeyes fan. I currently work in finance, am married, and am the father of a wonderful young woman with Down syndrome. I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee.
I have written nine books, and I am self-publishing each through Amazon's KDP program. Three of these, A Spy At Home, Hazardous Choices, & A Mormon Massacre are currently available on Amazon as Kindle ebooks and paperbacks.
I am currently editing my latest novel (romantic thriller), Valerie's Retreat. This book is tentatively scheduled to be released on November 2, 2013.
Because I work in credit and finance, I thought I would be an oddity in the world of writers – a “numbers” guy in a world of “words” folks, but as I’ve read more about other authors, I’ve discovered that many authors work in fields totally unrelated to writing. I love the way words create worlds, and that is one of the things that drew me into writing fiction. Always a big reader, it gives me great pleasure to be one of the creators of stories that others can enjoy.