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Twists, romance and suspense in 2 mysteries that are Whitney Award finalists

These novels are 2017 Whitney Award finalists in the mystery/suspense category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The awards will be presented at the gala on Saturday in Provo.

"THE KILLING CURSE: An Omar Zagouri Thriller," by H.B. Moore, Mirror Press, $12.99, 355 pages (f)

"The Killing Curse: An Omar Zagouri Thriller" is by H.B. Moore| Mirror Press

It isn't a wonder H.B. Moore's “The Killing Curse” is in the running for a Whitney Award; this book has it all. As sections flip between present day and past, readers are taken on two thrilling rides, each filled with romance, danger and tenuous family ties.

Omar Zagouri can’t seem to get a break. On assignment in London, he’s roped into attending his cousin's college graduation. But while there, he realizes his cousin has fallen in love with the wrong woman: a woman whose family is so entwined in illegal activity that his cousin’s life may be on the line because of his association with her. As Omar tries to help the couple, he realizes the thefts he's been investigating have roots thousands of years old — and many will kill to keep the history hidden.

Almost 2,000 years earlier, in ancient Karak, a 19-year-old girl named Eleanor meets a man she can’t seem to forget. Unfortunately for her, not only is Jed al Ayubi of a different religion, but he’s also the son of her stepfather’s mortal enemy. Despite their attempts to stay apart, the two share a love they cannot ignore that will put them to the ultimate test.

Moore continues to wow readers with her superb plots, excellent writing and a flair for jumping to different storylines at the most excruciating moments. This latest installment of her Omar Zagouri thrillers is the fourth book in the series and can be read alone, without having to read the previous ones.

“The Killing Curse” has a handful of profanities, and the romance content describes kissing. Honor killings are spoken of frequently, and this book teaches about the horrors of that still-occurring practice.

"The Killing Curse" is a 2017 Whitney Award finalist in the mystery/suspense category. The awards honor novelists who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Moore is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a USA Today best-selling author.

—Elizabeth Reid

"Deadly Inheritance" is by Clair M. Poulson. | Provided by Covenant Communications

Andolina “Andi” Buckner has had enough of the rough streets of Detroit, as well as dealing with her dysfunctional family in "Deadly Inheritance." No longer willing to put up with an abusive stepfather and tiresome mother, she packs up her belongings, gets in her car, and heads west to build a new life.

Shortly after arriving in the small, tranquil town of Spring Hollow, Montana, Andi obtains work as a waitress at the Spring Hollow Cafe and befriends a retired Los Angeles police officer named Louis “Gramps” Granger. This newfound peaceful existence ends up not lasting for long as either expected. Two and a half years later, Andi finds Gramps dead on a hiking trail.

Soon after the shotgun killing, Andi’s twin brother, Bolden, arrives from Salt Lake City with his friend, private investigator Mason Crowther. Together, the three of them work to uncover a motive and solve the murder while encountering plenty of danger and suspense along the way.

“Deadly Inheritance” is the latest entry for Duchesne County author Clair M. Poulson, who is a retired law enforcement officer who has written 34 books since his debut in 1988.

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Poulson’s latest title is a 2017 Whitney Awards finalistin the mystery/suspense category. Established in 2007 and named after former LDS apostle Orson F. Whitney, the Whitney Awards recognize the work of LDS authors.

“Deadly Inheritance” remains fast-paced throughout and offers enough twists to keep things interesting. Although not a central part of the book, the romance between Andi and Mason felt a little forced and cringeworthy. Aside from that, “Deadly Inheritance” is a well-written and worthwhile addition to Poulson’s body of work.

The book contains generally described violence and some mild sexual content, and has no swearing.

— Ryan Curtis