Overkill is a romantic suspense thriller that sucks you into its pages with realistic and vivid descriptions. Castillo shows her talent at portraying genuine emotions and adeptly tackles difficult situations. I settled into the story easily and found this book hard to put down.
Marty Hogan lived the life she always wanted as a Chicago street cop until she witnessed a horrible murder and took her anger out on the suspect. Video captured a cop beating a suspect to the point of putting him in the hospital and suddenly Marty’s life is turned upside down. She is quickly fired for her mistake and after six months of trying to get back to the only life she knows, Marty must pack up and move to small-town Texas and the only police force that will hire her. Suffering from a myriad of emotions, Marty feels her life spiraling out of control and continues to make poor decisions as a result.
The police chief, Clay Settlemeyer, recognizes that he might have made a mistake in hiring Marty. He only conducted a phone interview and now understands that this woman is skilled at hiding dark emotions. However, he has always believed in second chances and is willing to help Marty through this rough transition, if she’ll let him. He also has enough self-awareness to know that deep down he feels attracted to this prickly, rogue cop, which is bad for both of their positions. The bad news keeps coming for Marty, however, and Clay finds himself wanting to comfort and protect her.
Marty’s ex-partner in Chicago is cruelly murdered and the police do not have any leads. Events start unfolding which indicate that Marty herself has been targeted. At first, Clay does not know whether to believe Marty’s account of the events or not. She could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But he soon realizes that the threat is all too real and they must figure out who is after Marty and why.
This book is full of emotion. The author vividly portrays Marty’s desperation and angst as well as the attraction between her and Clay. Believable obstacles stand in the way of a relationship, including Marty’s state of mind and their employment positions. The heat between them triumphs, but also scares them. Clay is a single father who exercised poor judgment with a woman in the past and doesn’t want to repeat that mistake, especially as his daughter in the mix. Marty is tough, angry, and cantankerous. While she’s had some relationships in the past, love has never played a part and the thought of being vulnerable to another person terrifies her.
Action abounds in this book and no punches are pulled. If you’re at all squeamish, this tale is not one for you. Descriptions are detailed, with both emotions and violence intensely depicted. This creates an immediacy that pulls the reader into the conflict and delivers great suspense.
I have a couple of quibbles, however. There were times when Marty is too surly for her own good. It is frustrating when a smart, capable woman knows that she is engaging in self-destructive behavior and continues to do so. Also, the books covers the same thoughts and emotions often and they become repetitive. A tone of superiority surrounded the word “cop,” which was used often. The murderer was always a “cop killer,” which made it seem so much worse than if the killer had murdered a husband and father who was an accountant. The author clearly reveres the job, which is great as the job deserves much respect, but it was overkill. Finally, the conclusion of the story could have been stretched out. It wrapped up pretty quickly, with real obstacles to the relationship suddenly disappearing.
In the end, Overkill is an intense, suspense-filled story full of believable angst and passion. I enjoyed the conflict and action, and was happily engrossed for several hours. I’ve not read Castillo before, but I’m always up for a good suspense and I’ll be trying out more books by this talented author.