Don't Look Down
Generally AAR reviewers try not to review two books in a row from an author so that our readers will get a variety of opinions. When I saw Don’t Look Down on the list of books needing review, I asked to break our rule. I read Flirting with Danger, the first book in this series, about a year ago and I loved it. As I read my primary thought was that I’d found a new Eve and Roarke, and I was thrilled. Book two doesn’t have the exact same energy but it does what the Robb books do so well; it continues an emerging relationship with all that entails, while throwing in some great Nick and Nora sleuthing besides.
Samantha Jellicoe is a reformed cat burglar, (mostly) in love with billionaire Rick Addison, and trying to give up her less then legal tendencies. She is starting a security business to keep her hand in and maintain her independence. Being legit is a struggle. Sam is used to operating independently and dangerously. Safely opening an office and working for clients is definitely outside her comfort zone. She’s also struggling in her relationship with Rick. His efforts to “help” do nothing but drive her crazy. When her first client is murdered, Sam welcomes the opportunity to assert herself and find out what happened to the man.
Rick knows that trying to control Sam is the one thing guaranteed to drive her away, but he lives in fear. He fears that Sam’s criminal past will catch up with her and that if she’s not careful she could wind up in prison. He fears for her safety in the many dangerous endeavors she undertakes. But most of all he fears that the lure of the excitement of her previous life will prove too much. Rick and his love are in direct competition (to his mind) with Sam’s need for independence and thrills. Knowing that something’s gotta give, Rick enters into a wager with Sam. Finding the murderer is just the activity needed to keep Sam occupied, and one that Rick can participate in as well. If he’s able to keep Sam out of trouble at the same time, well, that’s a bonus.
I made the comparison to J.D. Robb’s Eve and Roarke and I continued to see it in book two. That’s not to say Ms. Enoch is copying anything. To the contrary, for all the movie-world feel of a cat burglar and a billionaire couple as sleuths, Ms. Enoch manages to inject more than an ounce of realism into the relationship. These are two people who love each other but don’t know how to go about being a couple. It sounds familiar, but the handling of their issues is very different. Rick is no superman. He comes pretty close to being an ass from time to time, and Sam is similarly human. At times her straining against Rick comes across as more than a little petty, and that’s what really made the book for me. There is real tension (though this is book two) in this relationship and real drama in the “will they or won’t they be able to figure it all out.”
As for the sleuthing, that’s fun too. More Nick and Nora than CSI, but interesting nevertheless. The author plays fair with the clues and Sam and Rick’s separate investigations follow logical paths to the guilty party. My only issue was that some of Sam and Rick’s problems and conversations, interesting as they were, were repeated a few times too many. The pacing was thrown off by the too-frequent squabbles about their relationship.
If you’re like me and you wait impatiently for the next Robb book, then I recommend these. Ms. Enoch has created an equally lively and intriguing duo.