Heather Dawn Robin debuts her ‘Imbroglio’

Good books are hard to find. A good book that invokes passion, crime, maternity and religion-all at the same time can definitely be a stretch to hook in an audience. Somehow, author Heather Dawn Robin manages successfully to do this in her author debut.

Robin spent three years going through rough drafts, editing and re-writing a book to apply this logic to her book, “Imbroglio,” which takes a stab at the romance fiction noir or the suspense thriller genre. Robin’s finished product is a combination of both, though her meticulously written “Imbroglio” slants more towards the thriller arena.

And its a pretty good one at that.  Shannon Moore is a cop with an attitude. Carlos is a mysterious, handsome stranger that relishes power, control and doing things under the table. Shannon and Carlos meet up by chance. From there, their journey of chaotic confusion, temptation and deceit takes them further than either one can explain.

Struggling with her sexuality, Shannon kind of sees Carlos as a way out from the combustible relationship she has with her girlfriend. She hopes going to church and relocating her faith can help her deal with her personal tribulations as she battles the insignificance of her girlfriend and the burning desire to be part of Carlos’ future.

If you’re looking for a steamy romance novel,” Imbroglio” isn’t that book. Sure, there are some kickbacks to the passion thing, but Robin hesitates in going there fully. Instead, the first-time author channels her energy into making “Imbroglio” more of a classic cat-and-mouse guessing game. The one thing that is consistent throughout “Imbroglio” is that you never know what is on one page after the next and how things are going to turn out.

It’ll keep you guessing, that’s for sure.

"Imbroglio" author Heather Dawn Robin holds court with a book signing in Inglewood, California. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com
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“Imbroglio” author Heather Dawn Robin holds court with a book signing in Inglewood, California. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

What’s a good book without a good plot. “Imbroglio” kicks in gears when it finally decides to go the suspense/thriller rout. Shannon is a woman who doesn’t know what she wants. She is a woman with deeply complicated issues.

On one platform, Shannon is a solid cop with a no BS meter running through veins. Then in one fell swoop, she begins to have one emotional meltdown after another, all in the name of Carlos. For some reason or another, Carlos believes Shannon gets close to him so that she can find out what he is up to-legally or illegally. This issue puts Carlos at odds with Shannon.

Blindly, Shannon couldn’t give a hoot about Carlos’ dealings; she just want him and a life they can share together. This is where things get complicated. Carlos simulates he wants the same thing, but goes about it in a criminal kind of way. I guess this is what good love is supposed to be.

While all of this madness is going on, Shannon digs into her faith. She tries to make sense of her dealing with Carlos through her faith interceding calls and questions. It is an interesting dynamic Robin adds to her book. More perplexing than that scenario is how Shannon goes from a straight and narrow police officer to some wimpy person that seems to need Carlos’ approval to exist.

When we are first introduced to Shannon, we see a strong cop with the moxie of a pit bull. She has no hangups in kicking crime in the butt. But as we go along for the ride in “Imbroglio,” that characteristic gets lost in the shuffle as Shannon seems to lose her self-identity because of her strong affections for Carlos.

Incredulously, Shannon, despite being abducted, has compassion for Carlos and would like to see a solution worked out between the two parties. As implausible as that may seem, it is that expect-the- unexpected argument that works well for “Imbroglio.” While there are some obvious hangups about the “Imbroglio” that may confuse the reader, the book moves with cat-like precision and keeps you on your toes at all times.

There is no such thing as taking a paragraph or page off with “Imbroglio.” It’s a head-turner. This is exactly how Robin designed it to be.

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