I have a love-hate relationship with the “Buy now with 1-Click” button on Amazon. On the one hand, how convenient! Also, how wonderful to be able to pick up books like this one with just one click! On the other hand, how very detrimental to my pocket book that nasty little orange box can be.
Lydia Costa and Ryan Winter had had an ideal life. Sure, their jobs kept them busy – as an Atlanta Police Detective Ryan worked long hours and Lydia’s job as an ER doctor kept her very, very busy as well. But they had a lovely home and a terrific kid, a great sex life and a lot of fun together. All that changed when tragedy struck. The death of their child pushed them apart and they have now been divorced for one year. But when events conspire to bring them together again, it is clear that neither of them has really moved on.
Lydia is in the ER when she hears that an Atlanta PD detective has been shot and she is more than a little anxious. Could it be Ryan? It’s not but it is one of his friends and co-workers, someone she had known from barbecues and picnics over the years. She does her best to help his friends and family through the tough stay in the waiting room as he is operated on. Unfortunately, the end result is a sad one. She and Ryan console each other over the loss of their friend and he encourages her to come to the funeral and wake. For Ryan, Lydia is still very much a part of their social circle although she feels strongly like an outsider since the divorce.
Ryan is assigned the case and almost immediately links it with the case of a police officer shot in another district. He and his partner work hard, looking for any possible link between the two men. Did they go to the same bars? Did they visit the same stores? But the guys seemed to have nothing in common. Even as Ryan does the foot work to solve this important mystery the body count starts to rise. Is it open season on Atlanta’s finest?
Lydia finds herself running into Ryan a lot, which causes some pretty mixed feelings in her. On the one hand, she has taken the steps necessary to get on with her life. She is dating a doctor at the hospital and has her own fabulous condo. On the other hand, what started as a-glass-of-wine-to-relax habit has become a bottle-so-she-can-fall-asleep addiction. And the sight of Ryan has stirred in her all the feelings she should have for a man and definitely doesn’t have for the doc she is seeing.
Fallen is high quality old style romantic suspense. It is equal parts police procedural and romance. What I enjoyed most about it was the difficult (sometimes very difficult) subject matter it dealt with. Ryan and Lydia loved each other. They were deeply in love before their son died, they still care now. But the issues surrounding what happened to him and the difficulty of processing their grief had them turning away from each other rather than towards each other. Couples who lose kids have a high divorce rate and the author did a good job of depicting why. I thought she also did an excellent job of rebuilding a relationship that took such a devastating blow.
Ryan and Lydia were just terrific as individuals. Ryan, who deals with tragedies in his job every day, was able to pull things together a bit sooner. He had the kind of personality that people describe as being “a rock”. He is both strong and reliable and combines that with compassion. When he sees a problem, he addresses it head on and is able to divorce himself from his emotions enough to make rational decisions. I loved this character because he is exactly what I would want a real life detective to be like.
Lydia is a bit more fragile, a touch less able to deal with issues. She knows she should get on with life and makes all the motions to do so but she really doesn’t do well at coping with her perfectly understandable residual trauma. One of the highlights of the book is watching her regain her strength as she leaned on Ryan. He provided the perfect amount of support while still allowing her to stand on her own two feet that let her do that.
The mystery/crime here also had an interesting element that I wish the author would have explored a bit more. I can see where someone who is hurt repeatedly can snap with devastating results, especially if that person is fragile. I would have liked to examine a bit more the culpability on the part of the second parties surrounding this issue but the fact that the book had me thinking this way at all shows the author created an intriguing villain.
If you are a fan of romantic suspense I am happy to recommend this book. I think you’ll find a lot to like about it, just as I did.