Title: Tumble Creek
Author: Louise Forster
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: April 2016
Length: 225 pages
Series?: sequel to Home Truths
Art teacher and occasional life model Sofie Dove wants to know what’s up with Brock Stewart. Everything about the ex SAS soldier turned police officer seems to scream passion—and it’s all for her—but he just won’t express it. All she knows is he has a past that still keeps him up some nights.
After a semi-trailer crashes through Sofie’s house and the driver disappears into thin air, Brock insists he’s the only one who can keep her safe—but can he, when they can’t seem to trust each other?
While Sofie works on figuring out why this man keeps giving her mixed messages, Brock is determined to find out who’s out to get her—as they both find out why falling in love is a bit like being hit by a truck.
The plot revolves around a truck crashing into Sofie’s house and the driver mysteriously disappearing, as well as fellow citizen Britt up and disappearing. Rumor around town is she is in witness protection…but she isn’t. She’s on the run. Those looking for her – and what they think she left behind – also brought them to Sophie’s house.
While Sophie is trying to start something new in town – her art classes – that is quickly dashed away. After the first chapter, it’s never mentioned again and her classes don’t resume and Britt and her entire scenario never resurface, which I found odd and hinted at the underdeveloped plot and lack of a fully fleshed out story.
It seems Sofie’s actual job is working at her sister’s restaurant, Veronica, where she and her teen daughter now reside upstairs with her sister. After being left by her manipulative husband for a younger woman, Sofie got divorced, moved to Tumble Creek, and both she and her daughter changed their last names to her maiden name.
Sofie herself seems like an overly emotionally-wrought woman who can’t get a grip on herself. She literally grabs at people nearby for the first six chapters or so, and again later in the book, to physically steady herself from her emotional spells. Her dialogue with other characters, from Brock to her sister, seem filled with her jumping to conclusions and creating misunderstandings. It wasn’t an appealing character trait. However, I loved her relationship with her daughter. It’s the best feature of the book, IMO.
After the crash and Sofie’s daughter kicking her to shreds sharing a bed, Sheriff Brock (The Rock) insists she and her daughter move into his extra bedrooms. An extremely nice gesture. I found it unlikely that other sleeping arrangements couldn’t be made above Veronica‘s. And THEN. Then Sofie moves into Brock’s house. ALONE. By herself, without her teenage daughter. For Cripe’s sake, someone is out to get them for her ties to Britt, it has been explained to her that this is a dangerous situation, a parcel is being checked out by forensics. And she moves into a stranger’s house without her daughter. That was the moment I became very skeptical of the plot. Here was another big reason: when Sofie asked Brock what made him special, he replied that she did. NO. There’s nothing more to Brock than his love for his parents and some kind gestures. He has no development beyond that.
As soon as moving in, suddenly Brock and Sofie are a couple. Him calling her “babe” with every breath, and her being “his.” It was so neanderthal and didn’t seem right for two characters who’d been sizing each other up for six months to suddenly fall into live-in life like this. It was stilted and stiff. Once steamy scenes started up, they were SO corny. I cringed and almost quit reading at least a dozen times, but I kept holding out hope that things would get better.
Sofie’s haughty grandmother has her own little story and Sofie’s ex surfaces trying to convince her to move back. This brings the plot out of Brock’s house and away from Sofie’s fascination with Brock’s armpits (mentioned about 50 times) and speeds things up a bit.
The mystery driver is eventually discovered. As is the contents of the parcel mysteriously left at Veronica‘s and the bearer of it. Britt and her whereabouts are not. That entire subplot is never flushed out. Takumi lets Sofie do something that could get her arrested and cost him his job – very against policy.
This book had great potential – I could see several ways Brock and his coworker Takumi could be more meshed into the storyline. I was shocked that one of the two driving factors of the plot just died and there was nothing more about Britt to the story. Some of the instances seemed odd, but all compiled together there were too many things that made the plot unbelievable.
Louise Forster grew up in a Victorian country town. She ran barefoot along dirt roads and loved looking through the leaves of tall eucalypts at the azure summer skies. Eventually, she grew up, and the country town became a suburb of Melbourne. Running barefoot to catch her train to work would have caused more than a few raised eyebrows so she opted for stilettos, of course. At eighteen, Louise traveled through Europe, parts of Africa and the Pacific Islands. These days Louise lives on the far north coast of New South Wales on a small property that includes her extended family, three dogs, three cats and all manner of wildlife.