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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba's novella, The Plot Thickens, is part of the Semya Slotin mystery series that deals with the story of Pollianah Koch Guryev, unfolding during book one, The Bird of Prey. While Semya Slotin, together with Josh Heinz, are investigating a murder case, the beautiful Pollianah and John Allen fall in love. This is a most unlikely love affair because John is not the man he makes himself out to be while Pollianah has some dark secrets herself. Disaster is just waiting to happen because the man she loves is in reality a hit man, who is out to assassinate a member of her family. With Semya preoccupied, Pollianah is left vulnerable, and is thrust into the merciless world of the Russian Mafia, where betrayal and deception is a way of life.
The Plot Thickens is a mixture of suspense and romance that can certainly keep you reading on and on. With characters involving the feared Russian underworld, violence threatens to erupt at any time. And then we have the blossoming love affair between Pollianah and John that seems to be doomed from the very beginning. Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba weaves a story of lies and deception and mixes it with love and romance to come up with a concept that I find original. The story is quite coherent, which I think is an achievement, since these events happened as Semya and Joseph are busy investigating a murder. This parallel story line could have muddled the plot but, on the contrary, it succeeded in enhancing the narrative. This novella is an easy and enjoyable read, and it is a prelude to the author’s next book, Pollianah Got Married. After reading this story, I am certainly looking forward to reading the next book in the Semya Slotin mystery series.