I often wonder what drives a person beyond the line of what we as a species consider acceptable. What turns one person in a tough situation into a hero, another into a coward, and yet another into a villain? Is there a point where we all snap – where all that is left is a creature who will do anything to protect those they love?
It all began with a parking spot. The perfect spot-right outside the campus offices – then some slime swipes it right out from under Sophie Barrett’s nose – or bumper to be more precise. Seething, Sophie pays for an expensive parking garage three blocks from her destination and hoofs it back to the university quad. When she hears the loud cracks and the screams of those behind her she doesn’t understand what is happening. Not till she sees the dead, the wounded falling around her. Someone is shooting at everyone in the quad – and she is a complete sitting duck for the sniper! Diving for cover, she calls the police and helps pinpoint the location of the shooter. She survives the nightmare but starts to wonder if there is more to the rampage than meets the eye when the police reports start coming in. Because she is pretty certain she has information that will put her in the cross hairs once more.
Detective Jonah Macon appreciates Sophie’s determination to help with the case, but has trouble believing her theories regarding the shooter. He certainly doesn’t have trouble with her, though. He’s been interested for quite a while and is hoping he can make her see him in a new light now that they are spending so much time together. But when Sophie starts to have trouble of the worst sort Jonah realizes that he needs to respect what she is saying a whole lot more. Because it looks like she might hold the secret to the whole thing after all.
Sophie is a survivor. She went through a bad incident the year before and has issues left over from it, but doesn’t let that keep her from rebounding after the shooting. I especially liked that she was written as a young woman who had taken a little extra time to mature. She hadn’t wanted to go to college when her parents were paying for it, but has since realized the value of education and is going back on her own. She works hard and is great at her job, but knows she wants more and is taking the steps she needs to to get there. Being a romantic suspense heroine with a hero cop she does, of course, have a TSTL moment – but it is refreshingly short and he is able to make her see reason. She’s strong, practical, and caring with a bit of sexy and fun thrown in. I liked her a lot.
Jonah is more brooding and sulky. He’s good at his job but isn’t really good with other people. At this point in his life, his parents have recently gotten a divorce and he is still struggling a bit to deal with it. I appreciated that he didn’t just dismiss Sophies’s theories; he tried to work them to see what came up. He’s a very traditional boy scout type hero, but that works for the story and for Sophie.
The mystery here is interesting, well-paced, and well-told. A touch less well done is the romance. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between Jonah and Sophie that I would have liked to. Part of that is the intensity of the case – they really don’t have a whole lot of time to relationship build. Even though they had worked together before (Sophie works at a forensics center) the relationship had never really gotten out of the casual acquaintance stage. They are strongly attracted to each other and always have been, but it takes past page 100 to build into something more than people who barely know each other. That leaves less than 300 pages to solve the mystery, find all the witnesses, outwit the bad guy, set up the secondary characters, and fall in love. That time crunch did not work in their favor. They are good together – we just needed more time to see that.
This book is tied loosely to Unforgivable. Both Sophie and Jonah make some significant appearances in that book, but the story told in this one is easily understood without reading it.
This is a good romantic suspense, certainly a touch or two above average. I would recommend it to fans of the genre.