Shelby Nichols has had an unusual ability ever since she survived being shot in a grocery store while buying carrots. She can read minds, which causes trouble for her in a number of ways.
Sometimes she can help head off crimes because of what she hears, and other times, she can solve mysteries by being able to hear a silent confession.
But in "Devious Minds," Utah author Colleen Helme's eighth mystery novel involving the intrepid soccer mom, Shelby has a problem: She can't understand the thoughts of those who think in French, which makes things difficult as she goes to Paris to help stop an international incident.
She's thrilled to get the opportunity to visit Paris — to shop, try the chocolates, see the Eiffel Tower — but the invitation comes with dangers that include foot chases, switchblades and a bomber set on attacking places with a lot of people around.
Because her husband is about to close a big court case, she has to go without him and instead travels with a federal agent who insists on her help.
The good news is that Shelby's friend and "bodyguard" Ramos comes to Paris to protect her, even though the mob boss Shelby usually works with (Uncle Joey/Joseph Manetto) isn't directly involved in this deadly situation.
Ramos saves Shelby from herself and from the bad guys around her and adds some romantic tension to the story through his interest in her. While Shelby is aware of the attraction, she remains faithful to her husband, who is home in America, and Helme does a deft job of keeping her heroine good.
Shelby is clever and bold even when she's not sure how she ought to proceed. She speaks up for herself, and she isn't shy about fighting for truth and justice, which makes her a likable, if incredibly lucky to be alive, heroine.
The storyline moves right along, and it's a nice twist for the characters to be in Paris at iconic sites. As a result, "Devious Minds" works as a readable, interesting novel, especially for Shelby Nichols fans.
The book doesn't contain any sexual content, but there is occasional swearing, mostly in French. The violence is limited to punches and shootings that are mostly referred to instead of described.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.