Molly McAdams’ book Forgiving Lies was my first foray into the New Adult genre. I hope it will not be my last because this book, while not entirely awful, did not make me want to venture any further into the New Adult world.
Rachel Masters was in high school in California when her parents were killed in a plane crash (or was it a car crash?…not that it matters to the story). She went to live with her best friend Candice’s family until they graduated from high school and then she followed Candice to Texas where they enrolled in the same college. Rachel had a crush on Candice’s cousin Blake growing up, but she was much younger than Blake so nothing happened. Now that Rachel is older, Candice wants Blake and Rachel to get together so they will really be family, but Rachel’s crush has disappeared. Unfortunately Blake does not feel the same way and has been pursuing her for some time. At the beginning of the book, Rachel finally agrees to go out with Blake to make Candice stop bugging her about it, but the date ends tragically as Blake rapes Rachel. Rachel tells Candice about the rape, but Candice does not believe her. Rachel does manage to get Candice to promise not to tell Blake where they are moving once summer begins, but Candice does so grudgingly. Then Rachel tries to bury the rape trauma in the same place she has buried the grief over her parents death and get on with her life.
Logan “Kash” Ryan is a twenty-five-year-old undercover cop. He and his best friend Mason have been together since the police academy and have both been in an undercover narcotics investigation for some time. When their cover is blown, the drug dealers put out a hit on them and Kash and Mason have to get out of Dodge (or Florida) until the heat is over. Their captain sends them to Texas to help out on a serial killer case called the Carnation Murders. Kash and Mason take off for Texas and move into an apartment right across the hall from Rachel and Candice. Kash and Rachel get off to a rocky start when Rachel nearly opens up her car door on Kash as he is getting off his motorcycle, but when Candice starts getting it on with Mason, Rachel and Kash are thrown into each other’s company.
Kash is drawn to Rachel, but he is afraid of getting too involved with any woman because of his career. One girlfriend already left him because of his undercover work and Kash is convinced that the wife, dog and white picket fence is not for him. In spite of this, Kash discovers he really wants to break down the walls that Rachel has built to protect herself. When he discovers a stalker spying on Rachel, his protective instincts kick in and he finds he is falling for Rachel despite his misgivings. The fact that he cannot reveal who he really is makes the relationship even more difficult.
What did I like about the book? Precious little, but I will attempt to find something to justify the C- rating rather than a D which was my first inclination. I did like Kash’s personality and the way he treated Rachel. I also liked Mason (even though he seemed to be a little bit of a man whore) because he also treated Rachel and Candice well. Rachel wasn’t a great character, nor was she a bad one; she was just a little boring in my estimation and her friendship with Candice was bordering on toxic. Candice was just a bad friend…period. She kept things from Rachel that threatened Rachel’s safety and almost ventures into the slut shaming territory even though she is the more promiscuous of the two. But while troubling, the toxic friendship between Rachel and Candice did make the story somewhat more interesting.
What I did not like? How shall I count the ways? The suspense portion of the book was fine but very predictable as well as a little too coincidental. Kash and Mason are both 25 years old and yet their police captain says they are the best officers he has. They are sent out to help on a serial murder case having ZERO experience as detectives. While they are supposed to be working on this very time sensitive and important case, they spend most of their time at Rachel and Candice’s apartment eating pancakes. And the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING is just plain silly. Then…the author ends the book on a cliffhanger. I was just getting excited that the book was almost over and then I find the story goes on! I read a lot of historicals and most of the heroines in those books are the same age as the heroine in this book, yet this heroine as well as the other characters seemed so immature in comparison. I have three children (the youngest being 22 years old) and I cannot remember them being this immature in high school let alone college. I just do not have a lot of patience with silly individuals and stories that strain credulity.
If you like your characters immature, your storylines trite and endings designed to get you to buy the next book, then this novel is for you. It was not for me.