Book Review – Spent Identity by Marlene M Bell


Annalisse Series, Book 2
Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Light Romance
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: December 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 378

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A body, a disappearance, just another hot summer in upstate New York.

It’s July when antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury reaches her family’s small-town farm to consult with the trusted aunt who raised her. She learns that her beloved homestead—the one she expects to inherit—is for sale. While Annalisse reels at the betrayal and her shattered dreams, the Walker Farm ranch manager discovers a corpse in the barn. Officials close the suspected murder scene, and Annalisse seeks refuge with her aunt at Alec Zavos’s rural estate in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Then Aunt Kate vanishes.

Annalisse solicits the help of Greek tycoon, Alec Zavos, even though their rocky romance has dissolved into routine separation. What began as hope on Crete nine months ago has eaten away at Annalisse’s hope for a future with him.

In Spent Identity, Annalisse and Alec come together for the second time and find themselves in the center of not one mystery, but several. Where is Kate, and why sell her farm now? Is the dead man a coincidence or a clue to the aunt’s disappearance? John Doe’s identity may hold needed answers to solve the puzzle before Kate’s unstable health issues make her rescue impossible. The clock ticks, and a vengeful murderer is in charge…


I was captivated by Aunt Kate in the opening of this book when Annie came to visit her at the farm. That scene of mutual love and respect spoke strongly of the depth of their relationship and the connection that Annie has for her aunt. They are two strong women who stand with and for each other.

Throughout the rest of the story Annie, or Annalisse, fluctuated between being the strong confident woman who was introduced in the opening chapter and a little too much like the damsel in distress in old Gothic stories. Still, I was cheering for her as she worked with Alec and Bill to find Kate after she had disappeared, as well as solve the mystery of the dead man who had been found in the barn at Walker Farm.

I found the relationship between Alec and Annalisse well portrayed in places. But in other places I was a little puzzled at some of their actions and reactions. For instance early on when Alec proposes marriage, she doesn’t answer him, which I thought was a little strange since it had been established that she loved him deeply. The explanation of why she didn’t answer came later, and I found it a little weak.

Despite those little blips, this is an engaging story as I read on to find out how they’re going to find Kate and who is responsible for her disappearance. There are interesting characters that are part of it all including Helga the house housekeeper who comes across very much like the Scandinavian woman she is. Even her accent is true. Then there’s Alec’s detective friend Bill who is one of the main players in solving the mystery.

For readers who like a story filled with descriptions of lavish places and lavish lifestyles this is one that they should consider adding to their list. Going to Alec’s home was a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous, and I was quite envious of his stables and barns. My little horse would have loved to live in such luxury.

The story is also a complicated mystery, and for the most part it is not known whether clues  that have been left by whoever took Aunt Kate is meant for Annalisse or for Kate. That intrigue, along with the race to find Kate, kept me reading.





Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested on her website or

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in beautiful East Texas with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large and lovable Maremma guard dog named Tia, and Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats who believe they rule the household — and do.

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Autographed copy of Spent Identity & companion notebook, Mary Poppins-style bag (18×13” tapestry carpet bag with leather trim, handmade in Israel), $100 Amazon gift card, and 18” freshwater pearl necklace.
JANUARY 7-17, 2019

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5 thoughts on “Book Review – Spent Identity by Marlene M Bell”

  1. I was also captivated by Kate from the start and am hoping to see Annalisse continue to develop as an independent woman with less damsel in distressness. She gets tougher in each book, and I like it. Thanks for the review!

    1. Annalisse is a flawed character with a complicated past. She has lots to learn about herself and Alec Zavos, but she’ll get there!
      Many thanks to Maryann Miller for reading Spent Identity.

  2. Pingback: Book Blog Tour: Scattered Legacy by Marlene M. Bell – Maryann Writes

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