Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Review - Catching Heat by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars

CATCHING HEAT, the third installment in the Cold Case Justice series, was jam packed with action and suspense. The romance was more so implied, but you felt the connection growing between the two main characters.

Detective Abby Hart has been on a mission her entire life; find those responsible for the death of her parents and put them in jail. Her father’s killer has been found, and Abby knows the identity of her mother’s killer, now, all she has to do is prove it. The obstacles are great, since the killer is a public figure who has been able to cover her tracks for over twenty-seven years. But, Abby is convinced the key to everything lies in the suspects background. Abby is determined to find the missing piece of the puzzle. So, when her current case takes her to the suspects old stomping grounds, Abby decides to put in a little extra time and work both cases at the same time. With PI, Luke Murphy, as her new partner, she’s not only juggling both cases, but her growing feelings for him. She knows her attraction to him goes beyond professional, but Abby isn’t sure he’s available.

Luke Murphy wants to help Abby solve her parents murder. His uncle was also a victim, and Luke wants to see justice prevail. His concern is that Abby’s determination is turning into an obsession; an obsession that might get her killed. Being partnered with Abby on a newly formed task force is right where Luke wants to be. He’s ready to make his feelings for Abby known, but keeping her safe is another thing. He and Abby butt heads when he cautions her about her growing obsession. Abby rebuffs him, knowing she is on to something and needs to follow the new leads—with or without him.

With an ever-growing plate of cases, suspects, and leads, Abby, Luke, and their other partner Woody, are being pulled in all directions. Abby is looking for the thread that will tie everything together in the death of her parents. She and Luke are looking for the killer in the cold case of a teenager’s death. And, Abby, Luke, and Woody are being asked to locate a man suspected in the chilling deaths of his family. When all three cases come to a head, secrets are exposed, motives are revealed, and truths are discovered. Unfortunately, Abby and Woody might become collateral damage when a killer gets the drop on them.

I thoroughly enjoyed, CATCHING HEAT. I have yet to be disappointed by any of Janice Cantore’s books, but this one was loaded with so many things going on at the same time, I couldn’t put it down. As a retired police officer, Cantore’s stories are infused with realism, adding to the intensity in which the story is delivered. CATCHING HEAT had so many plots, and sub-plots, the reader really needed to remain on their toes to keep up with the information. So people might find that a bit overwhelming; I found it incredibly satisfying. The only negative—and I hate to call it that—is I wish the romance would have been a little more developed. We know how Abby and Luke are feeling, I just wish there would’ve been more outward expressions of their feelings. The entire Cold Case Justice series is a must read for suspense buffs. But—read them in order. It will help you keep information straight and grow with the characters.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Review - Coming Undone by Staci Stallings

5 out of 5 stars
COMING UNDONE by Staci Stallings, though it’s pacing was slow, it was by no means boring.

Ben Warren is the guy who doesn’t have to try too hard. Everything comes easy to him, and problems roll off his back. However, when faced with life-altering news, he realizes he isn’t invincible. In fact, he feels he’s out on a ledge trying to maintain his balance.

Kathryn Walker doesn’t get it. She’s attractive, intelligent, hard-working, and fun to be with. Then why is she still single? Not only is she single, but with no prospects on the horizon. Though others try to fix her up, nothing comes from their match-making. Even though she is looking for Mr. Right, she doesn’t realize he might have found her without her even knowing it.

Without giving much away, Ben and Kathryn stumble into a relationship. Ben is beside himself with grief and feeling insecure at every turn. Kathryn knows Ben is hurting, and offers compassion to help him navigate his future. The connection that grows between them is deep and authentic even though each of them is afraid to acknowledge what they each feel.

COMING UNDONE was slow and methodical. In this case, it was a good thing. There was a lot of emotion to absorb as the characters struggled with their feelings. The transformation in Ben was poetic. You felt him struggle with weakness, confusion, and doubt. Kathryn was genuine and honest. Her concern for Ben was so deep she chose to ignore her attraction to him because his soul was far more important. COMING UNDONE was not your usual romance novel. It was so much more.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

My Review - Critical Pursuit & Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars
VISIBLE THREAT and CRITICAL PURSUIT are fast-paced novels that do a good job of balancing crime with camaraderie in the ranks of the Long Beach Police Department
VISIBLE THREAT-Officer Brinna Caruso is a K-9 handler known as the go-to cop when a child goes missing. Unfortunately, her gung-ho behavior has gotten her into hot water when she avoids direct orders because of the greater good. She doesn’t see herself as a rogue officer, she just has a hard time backing down when she knows a child is involved. Brinna’s behavior is a direct result of her own childhood. Abducted and molested at the age of six, Brinna champions children and does it with her canine companion, Hero. When she is knocked back to patrol duty due to disciplinary actions, Brinna is partnered with Jack O’Reilly, a former homicide detective who voluntarily stepped down from his duties due to the death of his wife. Not only is Brinna frustrated that she’s being disciplined due to actions that saved a little girl’s life, but she has strong concerns about Jack O’Reilly’s competency.

Jack O’Reilly continues to struggle with the death of his wife. He knows he has to get on with his life, but he’s not sure he can handle homicide. He asks to be put back on patrol duty, but isn’t thrilled his partner is Brinna Caruso. She has a reputation for not following the rules, and since he wants a smooth re-entry back into police work, he’s concerned she will only cause trouble.

While Brinna and Jack navigate their partnership, they slowly come to realize they both want the same thing. Justice. When a case presents itself with the same MO of the man who abducted Brinna, she and Jack must work together as a team, and finally put the man behind bars who stole Brinna’s childhood.

CRITICAL PURSUIT -Brinna is in pursuit of a man she knows has abducted a young girl. Even though she’s been ordered not to pursue because of dangerous conditions, she puts her job on the line to save the girl. Once again, Brinna is in the hot seat. But more devastating than that is the fact that her K-9 duties might be coming to an end. With the possibility of funding being pulled, Brinna must deal with the prospect of having to go back to patrol. Last time she was partnered with Jack O’Reilly they actually ended up forging a deep friendship, but Jack has gone back to homicide, leaving her to wonder who she’ll be partnered with.

Jack is getting back in the swing of things in homicide. Though when his mind wanders, it no longer goes to the death of his wife. His friendship with Brinna is constantly on his mind, and he thinks he’s ready to move on but wonders if she is. When he and his partner investigate a possible human trafficking ring, Brinna and her mother get involved. Jack is thrilled to be working with Brinna again, but when Brinna’s mom is kidnapped, things escalated to critical proportions.

Both VISIBLE THREAT and CRITICAL PURSUIT are intelligently written by a former police officer. Not only are the crimes relevant but the insight to the camaraderie between officers is portrayed well, making the books not only interesting from the suspenseful side, but also from the personal side. I loved watching the slow progression of the relationship between Brinna and Jack. Usually, I don’t like when the hero and heroine are kept at arm’s length, but knowing Jack was recovering from the loss of his wife, made the timeline believable. I’m definitely a fan of Ms. Cantore’s work, and hope there are more installments in the Brinna Caruso series.