Hunt Her Down
I’ve been a fan of St. Claire’s Bullet Catchers series for a few years now simply because I always have so much fun reading them. Hunt Her Down was no exception, despite a few issues I had with the plotting.
At the age of 18 Magdalena (Maggie) Varcek was a drug dealer’s girlfriend, as well as a young woman having an illicit affair with Michael Scott, one of the men working with him. One eventful night her world is turned upside down when she discovers that Michael is really an undercover FBI agent who’s been using her for information. That same night he’s killed during a raid before she can tell him she’s pregnant with his child. Fast forward 14 years and Maggie is now Lena Smith, a widowed bar owner in the Florida Keys, trying to dig herself out of debt and raise her 13 year old son single-handedly. Everything’s okay until a blast from the past walks into her bar.
Michael Scott was the alias used by Dan Gallagher, a man who’s very much alive. He’s come to the Keys to check on Maggie because her drug dealing ex, Ramon Jimenez, has just been released from prison. Dan wants to make sure that Ramon hasn’t put two and two together and figured out Maggie was the leak all those years ago. Dan has the surprise of his life when he meets Maggie’s son Quinn, a dead-ringer for himself at that age. The only thing is, since Dan’s disguise as Michael Scott was so thorough, Maggie hasn’t figured out who he really is. Now confirmed bachelor, Dan is faced with the decision of if, when, and how to tell Maggie the truth.
But the truth isn’t the only obstacle these two face. Maggie unknowingly holds one of four codes that together lead to the secret location of a fortune in drug money. Suddenly Maggie and Quinn are in a lot of danger because the Jimenez crime family will do anything to get those codes and find that money.
You know those books where you’re having so much fun that you don’t pick up on plot holes or improbabilities until you’re finished reading and are now thinking it through? Hunt Her Down is like that. The “codes” are common items that would likely have been discarded a long time ago. The idea that two of the code owners held on to them for 14 years without knowing their true value is highly improbable. Just the idea that the location of the money would have been “stored” this way in the first place requires significant suspension of disbelief. And the entire suspense plot hinges on these codes. But you see, I was so entertained, and the author sold the storyline so well, that I didn’t actually think this all through until quite late in the book. Embarrassingly late, if I’m honest with myself. There were a few other minor plot holes as well, but frankly, I didn’t really care because I was having too much fun.
As for the Secret Baby aspect, I found this one pleasantly refreshing. The Secret Baby is not a storyline I generally care for, but I didn’t mind this one at all. In fact, I actually liked it because of the twists the author gave it. Not only did this one have far less angst than most, how often do you get to read a Secret Baby book where the father is the one who has to break the news to the mother?
Also on the plus side: The smokin’ hot chemistry between Maggie and Dan. But despite their intense attraction, the lies and betrayal from the past are big issues standing in their way. I enjoyed learning about Maggie and Dan through each other’s eyes, and watching their process of rediscovering each other: who they’ve become as adults, and what fundamental parts of their personalities remain the same. By the end, I was totally sold on their HEA.
For those of you who haven’t read this series before, Hunt Her Down works well as a stand-alone. The book focuses solidly on Dan and Maggie, with just a couple of other series characters making cameo appearances.
The bottom line: I recommend Hunt Her Down for those readers who like books with a bit of adventure, a bit a suspense, and a whole lot of sexy, and who can suspend disbelief long enough to just sit back and enjoy the ride.