The setup for Disarming Detective is ridiculous, but the suspense plotting worked so well that I got completely sucked into the book. For a while. Unfortunately, the tension didn’t last and I couldn’t help feeling a little let-down by the end.
FBI profiler Isabella Cortez is leaving her office, about to go on a much-needed vacation. This changes when Logan Greer accosts her in the parking lot. It turns out that he is a detective from Florida and he’s convinced that he has a serial killer on his hands. Undaunted by the FBI’s refusal to assign a profiler, he’s come to Quantico determined to plead his case to one in person. Since he somehow managed to get through security without the guard bothering to at least call ahead to the office about the incoming visitor, now he’s got Ella’s attention.
Normally Ella would beg off, but something about the facts of this case make her think it could be tied to the unsolved assault that made her want to join the Bureau in the first place. So what does Ella do? She pitches her vacation plan and heads to Florida to do a bit of profiling on her own time. At this point in the book, I was still rolling my eyes a bit. I live not far from Quantico and I know more than a few people who work there, so the idea that someone could just hang out in the FBI parking lot didn’t fly with me. And then when we get to Florida, we get to see that of course Logan is the lone wolf cop in his department. How badass of him.
Fortunately, things start to pick up. The investigation into the disappearances and killings down in Florida kept me turning pages, and that part of the story was indeed compelling enough to make me wonder what was going on and who was responsible. And even though the book got off to a bit of a rough start, I did basically like Logan and Ella. Each seemed diligent, dedicated to their jobs, and essentially decent.
The conflict in the relationship worked for me, too. As with most romantic suspense, there’s the heightened sense of urgency that comes from being on the trail of a killer. However, Logan and Ella have other practical concerns. Logan is very clearly rooted in his Florida town, and we learn that at least one relationship of his has fallen apart over his absolute refusal to move to another place. For Ella, this causes problems because she lives for being a profiler. She has her dream job, and she can only do it while based in the DC area. It’s a believable conflict, and the author does a good job of weaving this relationship issue through the larger serial killer story.
So, why the grade? Well, even if the middle was good, the rough beginning is matched by a pretty slapdash ending. Not only does the solution to the mystery seem to come out of left field, but the action feels overly rushed in comparison to the careful buildup. Disarming Detective isn’t bad, but it’s not quite good enough to recommend either.