So that was his auburn-haired mystery caller.
From his seat at a corner table that offered a panoramic view of the eatery, Lance did a quick assessment as the woman claimed a table. Early thirties. Slender. Five-five, five-six. Model-like cheekbones. Flawless complexion. Full lips. Classic profile.
In other words, the lady was gorgeous.
And very nervous.
It didn’t take an FBI agent – or former Delta Force operator – to recognize that the taut line of her shoulders, the clenched fingers, and the lower lip caught between her teeth spelled tension in capital letters.
He took another sip of his coffee and scanned the crowded restaurant. Thanks to that striking hair, he’d spotted her the minute she stepped inside the door – and no one had followed her in. Nor was anyone watching her . . . except him.
But he’d give it ten or fifteen minutes to be on the safe side.
By 7:05, the woman was jiggling her foot and checking her watch every thirty seconds. She had to be wondering if she’d been stood up . . . and he was tempted to put her mind at ease. But he’d learned long ago not to let pretty women influence his judgment on the job.
Off the job . . .
His lips twitched. As his older and younger brothers would be the first to remind him, he wasn’t immune to the charms of an attractive female in his personal life.
Then again, neither were Mac and Finn.
Must be in the McGregor genes – though Mac’s newly engaged status meant the St. Louis dating field was his until Finn showed up on his next leave.
At 7:12, the woman rose and reached for her coat.
After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail–addressed in her sister’s handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.
FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive–who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game–or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.
There is a saying in the music world: Vivaldi did not write 500 concertos; he wrote one concerto 500 times. I have to say that I’m beginning to feel that a similar thing could be said about Irene Hannon’s romantic suspense novels. They are becoming just a little too predictable for me, right down to the ‘five months later’ epilogue complete with… well, if you’ve read any of her other novels you’ll know what happens in the epilogues, but in case this will be your first *zips lips*.
This one doesn’t deviate from the well worn path – law enforcement/protective officer (FBI in this case) needs to assist female in resolving a matter and they hold off pursuing any romantic relationship until the professional one is over (despite both acknowledging their attraction to one another). As usual, she’s gorgeous, he’s a hunk; but there’s this kind of ‘hubba, hubba’ *waggling eyebrows* tone to some of the observations (and one mention of ‘having the hots’) which just makes me cringe a little inside. To be fair, the focus switches to more of an emotional connection as the story progresses, but apart from a few requisite heart-to-heart moments where he shares something from his past he hasn’t shared with anyone else, or she needs to be comforted because the emotional strain is becoming so heavy, they don’t actually spend a lot of time getting to know one another. The romantic relationship tends to derive most of its momentum from the characters’ thoughts as each dwells on the reasons they are attracted to the other and how differently they are affected by them than any other person in their past.
I have to confess I’m also beginning to get a little bit bored with Hannon’s protagonists. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s simply that they all seem to be a variation of the same male or female prototype. Differences in background or circumstances notwithstanding, they think the same way, emote the same way, and speak the same way. Even the antagonists tend to share similar sociopathic traits. Likewise, although the suspense plots differ in their particulars, there is a pattern in the way the plot unfolds that takes the edge off the suspense for me. I’m able to predict, to a certain extent, what is coming up in the story line.
The writing is crisp, if a little on the prosaic side, which I think is well suited to the genre, but I find myself rolling my eyes at the characters’ tendencies to ‘overdub’ the action with their commentary – often pithy statements reminiscent of a film noir character. It has the effect of overstating the dramatic tension and can feel a little bit like watching a movie with someone who has to comment on everything that happens.
In spite of the above, I wouldn’t say this is a bad book. It has a solid plot, likeable protagonists, and the action moves along at a steady pace. If you’re a fan of Irene Hannon then you will probably eat this up because it has all of her distinctive trademarks. This reader was just hoping for something a little fresher.
Thank you to Revell Books for providing a copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Release date: 5 January 2016
Publisher: Revell Books
Author’s website: http://www.irenehannon.com/