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Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
Covert Exposure is a Nick Spinelli Mystery by Valerie J. Clarizio. Detective Nick Spinelli’s sadness caused by his partner’s retirement turns to outrage when temporarily transferred to Social Services. His foul mood changes after meeting Shannon O’Hara, the caseworker he is to assist. She is beautiful, aloof, and Nick’s attitude with her clients easily offends her. A mall Santa Claus and his elf are murdered, and Shannon was his little helper. Nick goes undercover as Santa to solve the case, but working alongside Shannon only increases his attraction for her, and Shannon’s cool demeanour towards him. Another elf is severely beaten, and angry parents threaten Shannon in court. Nick convinces her that she needs protection, but it may be too late to save Shannon after she disappears.
Valerie J. Clarizio has written a very nice book. Covert Exposure (A Nick Spinelli Mystery) is a pleasant, light-hearted romance-suspense. I think the theme is good and like how the author neatly combines the social work segments into the mystery. It had a natural approach, and she was not hesitant to make her characters show their true feelings. Readers will get a brief, but effective glimpse into the operations of Social Services. I like Nick a lot and think he has a great sense of humour, especially when he is with Shannon, who was too emotional, although nice. The dialogue was unforced and contained sufficient wit at times. Covert Exposure is not too violent or graphic. It is a short, fast-paced story that's quickly read.