5-Stars: Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Verona Exchange is a work of intriguing mystery fiction penned by author duo Lauren B Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow. Part of the standalone novel series of Rainee Allen Mysteries, this novel is written for adults due to its explicit language, violence, and sexual content. As author Rainee Allen tries to settle back into her usual life, her estranged son Joshua offers her a unique opportunity to meet up with him in Italy. But when Joshua is kidnapped, Rainee once again finds herself thrown into the center of a very dramatic international mystery, one in which the plot thickens with every twist and turn.
Author duo Lauren B Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow really know how to craft a mystery plot that is timed to perfection. There is plenty of detailed exposition throughout the tale, but the information is delivered cleverly through circumstance and dialogue, rather than being drawn from Rainee's own mind. Her character development is also a strong draw for the readership: as a capable and intelligent 'everywoman' who shows her strength and smarts when it really matters most. I loved her very human and realistic presentation throughout, which didn't stop the action from being high stakes and the missing person mystery from sounding genuine either. Having traveled through this region of Italy, I appreciated the international flavor and authentic atmosphere that filled out the background really nicely. Overall, The Verona Exchange is a highly recommended mystery novel for fans of strong but believable female leads, realistic action, and high stakes intrigue.
Reviewed By Sarah S. for Readers' Favorite
"The Red Brigade had successfully kidnapped United States Brigadier General James L. Dozier" - and that is just the drama in the prologue! Rainee makes her appearance in London, where she, her husband, and her daughter, "Little Jana", are preparing for Christmas with Rainee's mother-in-law. Peace is shattered by a telephone call from Joshua Greenberg, the son Rainee gave up twenty-three years before. Joshua plans to fly to Europe, and he wants to meet her in Rome. Much of the background to the story is shown in flashback, including the horror of a Jew who regains his memory - too late. Fast-forward to Rainee in Rome. Lauren B Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow reveal why Joshua doesn't arrive at the hotel where they agreed to meet, but Rainee waits - and waits.
The Verona Exchange: A Rainee Allen mystery is full of vividly described action and tension. Intense suspense created by knowledge the reader has that is hidden from Rainee is the secret of success in The Verona Exchange by Lauren B Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow. Rainee feared meeting her adult son, Joshua, but when he vanishes, she is determined to find him, if necessary, at the risk of her life - and between The Red Brigade, Interpol, and Rome's city police force, it is a very real danger. The Verona Exchange will intrigue psychological and action-packed thriller fans across the world with its explosive twists and turns and gain more readers eager for Lauren B Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow's Rainee Allen mystery stories.
Blog Review by: Stuart Aken: 5-Stars
I picked up a copy of this book, as I'd enjoyed Lauren B. Grossman's first in the series, The Golden Peacock. That dealt with a mystery surrounding the holocaust. This book deals with a kidnapping by the Italian Red Brigade.
Although this is essentially a thriller, great attention has been given to building the characters and making them real people. There's some small backstory for those unfamiliar with the central protagonist, Rainee, who is a writer. The scene is set quite quickly so that we're into the story relating the intended meeting of Rainee with a son she gave into adoption when he was only a week old and she was 21. This section of the book provides a good deal of emotional content, and sets up the reader to care about what happens to the cast of characters in subsequent chapters.
There are some editing fails and sometimes a little 'info-dumping' but, by and large, the writing is good, and it certainly carries the story through. There are scenes in Italian cities that took me right back to a recent holiday I spent there; recognising those locations was fun.
The action starts when the kidnap occurs and continues as the risk and danger is ramped up with events. Rainee is one of those characters who never knows when she should stop and let others take on the task; there's an element of obsession that places her in danger, for the best of reasons. The reader is therefore treated to situations in which the natural response is 'Don't do it, Rainee!', and that's followed by the need to make sure she escapes the danger into which she's ventured.
The denouement builds well, with plenty of twists and jeopardy along the way, and is resolved in a satisfactory manner. The 'clean-up' of events following the climax is short, and provides the reader with closure regarding the characters.
A good read.
Rainee Allen, who we first met in the authors’ The Golden Peacock, is back, this time not hot on the trail of unraveling a mystery about the Holocaust, but one about Italy’s infamous Red Brigade.
Rainee is now married and living with her husband, Martin, his mother, Paloma, and their young daughter, Jana, when she receives a phone call from the now grown son that she had known for only a week after his birth. Although alluded to in very brief passing in The Golden Peacock, in this book, Joshua Greenberg, raised by his biological father and the woman he eventually married, has a starring role in this thriller. Joshua introduces himself to the shocked Rainee on the phone, tells her he’s going to Italy with his mentor to give a presentation on what will become or what is his doctoral thesis, and asks to meet her.
Both thrilled and terrified, Rainee heads off to Italy to meet her son. But then terror and mystery sets in as Joshua is kidnapped and held for ransom. What follows is a story so full of twists, turns, and surprises that to reveal more would be to enter into spoiler territory. All I can reveal is that guns and blood and subterfuge are involved. You will have to read the book yourself.
As a disclaimer, I know Lauren Grossman and her husband, Michael quite well - in fact, Michael is my dentist. She did not provide me this book in exchange for a review - I bought it the day it was published and this review is my unbiased opinion. I only mention this because in the questions and answers at the end of the book, her co-author (her brother) says he saw a lot of himself in Joshua. I’ve never met Mr. Jaroslow, but I know the Grossman children, and I think Joshua the spitting image of Zachary Grossman, right down to his academic endeavors.
An easy and entertaining read; very enjoyable to see the intrepid Rainee Allen in action when she really gets riled up. I look forward to her next adventure.
My attention was captured from the first chapter. I read the entire book over a short weekend because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The action moved very quickly. I really enjoyed this read! The writing could have used a little bit of editing and also there were few inconsistencies that kind of threw me because I obsess on such things. But on the whole I think this is a very fun read.
Great read...edge of your seat suspense.
The Verona Exchange is the second book in a Rainee Allen mystery series. The Golden Peacock, Book I took place in London. The Verona Exchange takes place in Italy and in Book III, Prague will be our destination.
The book opens with Rainee working on her mystery novel and she receives a call from her long lost son, Joshua. She had given him up for adoption twenty three years ago and he would like to meet her. She agrees without blinking an eye and it’s off to Italy.
I know something bad is coming and I feel a sense of impending danger, menace, apprehension, wondering when and who. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be alone and in trouble in a foreign country. It would be hard to communicate if you don’t speak the language. How long would it be before you are missed? How much damage could you suffer before anyone is even looking for you?
Tick tock, the clock is ticking and time is running out.
The betrayal runs deeper than Rainee and Joshua could imagine, but I saw it coming. Something about the way Lauren and Bernard Jaroslow wrote that I could see that writing on the wall.
Rainee has great instincts and it’s a good thing she follows them. Joshua shows his maturity and bravery, when the time comes…though there is one part where he could have used some urgency instead of….well, you will have to read the book to find out. There are plenty of bad guys and plenty of good guys. Sometimes your enemy can be your friend and ally.
There is plenty of action while running through Italy, being the pursued and the pursuer, just depends on the moment.
This brother and sister duo did a collaboration, Lauren B Grossman writing Rainee’s POV and Bernard Jaroslow writing Joshua’s POV, all while sharing their work to smooth over any rough patches. An interview at the end of the book shares their thoughts on the collaboration
Reader's note: I read a Smashwords version of this book. It is the second book in a series. I highly recommend that if you haven't read The Golden Peacock, that you start there first. However, if this is not possible then you could read this as a stand alone without the deeper background.
Wanting to meet his biological mother, Rainee Allen, Joshua makes plans with her. Problem is, a group known as the Red Brigade wants to use him to get money for their cause. Will mother and son ever meet?
Naturally, as a mother myself, my heart went out to both Rainee and her son Joshua. I loved how the two authors showed not only the unfolding events surrounding the kidnapping and its ongoing investigation but how mother and son are coping with their mixed emotions about seeing one another after decades apart.