Storm Warning is the newest book by Dinah McCall. She also writes under the name Sharon Sala. I don't know why she uses two different names, but it does seem that in the books written under the name Dinah McCall, at least one of the characters are Native Americans. In this book, two minor characters are Native Americans. In her other books written by McCall, one of the main characters in the books are the Native Americans. I have every book by this author, under both names, that I have been able to find. I love her books. This is a romantic suspense novel.
The book begins with a prologue that takes place in upstate New York in 1979. Children were playing outside the Montgomery Academy, a private school. Edward Fontaine, the headmaster of the school, cut recess short because it was starting to storm. This was the day a special gifted class met. The class was made up of seven little girls that had been picked because they had something in common. The parents of the girls don't know the true nature of the class. A thunderstorm was waging during the class, and it continued into the night when the school was struck by lightening and it burned down. The seven little girls all transferred to other schools and grew up.
The book jumps forward to present day. It shows five of the girls, all grown up. Each woman receives a strange phone call - they hear thunder in the background and then a series of bells. After the call was over, the women left where they were and committed suicide in different ways - jumping off a bridge, running in front of a truck, jumping off the top of a building, driving into the side of a train, and driving into the side of a gasoline tanker truck. Each woman held their arms out from the sides of their bodies as they headed towards their deaths. Even the women driving.
A week after the last accident, Georgia Dudley, now Sister Mary Teresa, returns to her convent after a trip to Rome. She had letters waiting for her from her mother and one of her brothers. Each letter told about the deal of a woman Sister Mary Teresa had once gone to school with. She was very upset abut the deaths. That same night in St. Louis, Virginia Shapiro was getting ready to go out. A few minutes after she left, her phone rang. No message was left on the answering machine.
The next morning, Sister Mary Teresa finished reading all her mail. Five women she had gone to school with in the first grade had committed sucide in a short period of time. She find the deaths suspicious. She immediately tries to call Ginny (Virginia Shapiro) the only other surviving member of the special class to warn her. Sister Mary Teresa is forced to leave a message on the answering machine. She then thinks of Sullivan Dean (Sully), a friend of her brothers who is now an FBI agent. Sister Mary Teresa makes copies of the letters and everything she has managed to find out about the deaths. She sends the copies to Ginny and Sully. A few days later, Sister Mary Teresa hadn't heard from either of them. She is very scared. She normally worked in the office of the convent, but she got out of it because she was scared to answer the phone. She went to confession, but instead of hearing the priest, she heard the distant sound of thunder and a series of bells. Sister Mary Teresa then leaves the church and jumped into a river, her arms raised like the other women.
The next day Sully returns home to his apartment. When he goes through is mail, his finds the package from Sister Mary Teresa. He reads what she sent, and then rushed to call her. The Mother Superior tells Sully that Sister Mary Teresa died. Sully doesn't believe that she committed suicide. He is convinced it was murder and it determined to prove it. Around the same time, Ginny receives the letter from Sister Mary Teresa. She didn't get it sooner because it had been misplaced. Ginny immediately calls the convent, only to be told the same thing Sully was. Ginny does some research on the other suicides. She is scared that she will be next. She plans to disappear for a while.
Sully heads to St. Louis to find Ginny before something happens to her. His flight is delayed and he doesn't get there until after she is gone. He had been trying to call her, but when he got no answer, he was afraid she was dead. After a few days, Sully tracks her down to a fishing lodge in a remote area of Mississippi. Sully and Ginny work together to figure out what is going on. This is the main part of the book. There is a lot more that happens in the book, so don't worry that I have told everything.
During the course of the book, Ginny and Sully become closer and fall in love. Sully is determined to find whoever is behind the deaths of the women. They stay at the fishing lodge for a few days because Ginny feels safe there. There is an incident involving the owner's son - no I'm not saying what happens. Ginny and Sully end up in the hospital after the incident. Once they are released, they go to a safe house where several other agents are around on guard duty. There is mystery and suspense in the book, relating to why the women died the ways they did. There is some romance in the relationship between Ginny and Sully. The book also has elements of a psychological thriller. Hypnosis plays an important part in the book. That is not a spoiler. Hypnosis is mentioned on the back cover of the book.
There are some funny scenes in the book as well. Two of them relate to Ginny's cooking abilities, or rather her lack of them. The first happens when they are still at the fishing lodge. She made bologna and cheese sandwiches with apples for lunch. In an effort to make a lunch that has all the food groups, Ginny put radishes on the sandwiches. Now I like radishes, but I don't think I want them on my sandwich. Though I guess that really isn't any stranger than some things people eat. My mother puts cucumbers on sandwiches sometimes. It was so funny to read Sully's reaction to the radishes. He was being careful not to hurt her feelings when he asked what crunched in the sandwich. He does eat the sandwich, radishes and all. After that, Sully takes care of preparing most of the food.
Ginny did fix lunch again at the safe house. Ham and cheese sandwiches. Sully thought it was safe enough to let her fix sandwiches. She thought they would look plain, and she got creative when she found some cookie cutters. She wanted to impress Sully with her creativity in the kitchen. The sandwiches were shaped like rabbits when she was done. Sully was a bit shocked by the appearance of the sandwiches and at first he acted like he thought they were going to hop off his plate. He did eat some of the sandwiches, but only after he made sure none of the other agents were around to see. During the meal, Ginny added olives to her plate even though she doesn't like them because she said they looked pretty on the plate. Garnishes are an important part of food presentation you know. I have never thought of using cookie cutters on sandwiches before, but it could be cute, especially for kids. Or if you were having a party for a certain holiday.
Storm Warning is very well written and very descriptive. The story drew me in right from the start. I couldn't put the book down. Some things in the book are predictable since it is a romance, but not everything is predictable. I didn't figure out what was going to happen at the end of the book ahead of time. I was surprised by some things that happened. The book kept me guessing. The ending did make sense, I just didn't think what happened would happen. The book moves fairly fast, especially in the beginning, but I didn't think it was too fast. The pace slows down further into the book, but not so much that the book becomes boring. The characters of Ginny and Sully were well developed. The other characters weren't as developed since they weren't in as much of the book.
Virginia Shapiro - She goes by Ginny. She was part of a special gifted class with six other girls when she was in the first grade. Now she is the only surviving member of that class. She receives information about the deaths of five of the women who were in the same class from her friend Georgia who had also been in the class. Ginny goes into hiding once she finds out that Georgia is dead. She is a reporter and does her own research on the first five deaths. She is terrified of answering the phone. She does some very unique cooking in the book.
Sullivan Dean - He goes by Sully. He is an FBI agent. He was friends with one of Georgia's brothers. She sent him information about the first five deaths, but when he got it, it was too late to save her. He doesn't believe that she killed herself. He is determined to find Ginny and save her. Once he does find her, he stays with her even though he isn't officially on the case. He eats her unique cooking. He calls her Virginia sometimes, and she lets him.
Georgia - Friend of Ginny and Sully. She is also a member of the gifted class. She became a nun and was known as Sister Mary Teresa in the convent. Her friends and family still think of her as Georgia. She finds the deaths of five of the women who had been in the gifted class suspicious. She does some research and comes to the conclusion that she and Ginny are in danger. She sends the information to Ginny and Sully. The information got to them to late to save Georgia.
There are some other characters in the book, but they are just in a few scenes here and there so I'm not going to talk about them.
This is a really good book that I enjoyed a lot. Anyone who likes romantic suspense books should like this one. The mystery and suspense is the main focus of the book. Also, anyone who likes books by Sharon Sala should like this book since Sala and Dinah McCall are the same author.
Here is some information from the book for anyone who would like to find the book.
Mira Books, 2001
ISBN # - 1-55166-808-4
Thanks for reading.