REVIEW OF AUDIO & KINDLE: NOVEMBER 28, 2014 STORY: 4.5 STARS NARRATOR: 3 STARS
This was my first Harlequin Intrigue, and what a lovely introductionREVIEW OF AUDIO & KINDLE: NOVEMBER 28, 2014 STORY: 4.5 STARS NARRATOR: 3 STARS
This was my first Harlequin Intrigue, and what a lovely introduction to these category books! I was hooked right from the start and despite one minor TSTL moment, and the bit at the end where the author got in the way and disrupted the flow of the climax, this turned out to be one of the best romantic suspense books I've read/listened to this year.
The plot is simple - Emma is trying to get her brother, found guilty of murder and sentenced to 25 years jail. He's served 18 months and during this time, Emma has worked tirelessly, and sacrificially to have his conviction overturned, believing him not guilty.
Throughout her quest, no law firm has responded to her calls to take on the case. Until Penny Hennings, a young defense attorney. Emma just happens to be the sister of the assistant state's attorney Zac Hennings, who has been handed this case by his boss. As Zac realizes the way the case was handled stinks to high heaven, he and Emma work to uncover what really happened, and who the killer is.
I loved that the story unfolded at a steady pace that made it a 'page-turner' and there were no annoying detours or lengthy sex scenes. The characters were nicely-developed with no exceptionally annoying traits. Zac, despite his confident, assertive air (as is befitting the hero) is, nonetheless, fallible and while I could roll my eyes over his error of judgment in sleeping with Emma, it felt like an acceptable, understandable progression of the story. His father and sister, Penny, do call him up on it yet I was inclined to close one eye. Perhaps because there were no long drawn-out sex scenes to disrupt the suspense, I could be magnanimous.
I liked that the story stayed focused on Zac's and Emma's investigation of this case and it wasn't just backdrop scenery for the romance but, being a category RS, I was not inundated by Karen Rose-like data (whew!). That said, the suspense thread was still so solid that at the end of the book I felt as if I'd just listened to a Sandra Brown thriller:) The two minor negatives: #1) when Emma went into the dark alley knowing, and telling herself, only stupid women did that. I could see why the author chose to let her heroine do this but I still wished she could have found another way for Emma to encounter the killer. (This is not a spoiler).
#2) Right at the end, when Emma and her mother have rushed to courthouse No. 400 where Zac is before the judge, having filed a joint emergency motion to vacate Brian’s conviction and sentence. The tension was so high and I was holding my breath even though I know the outcome. What does the author do? She throws in so much internal monologue from Emma and I was yelling silently for her to fucking get on with the scene! Zac is right there before the judge, the judge is asking the asst prosecutor for an explanation of his petition AND I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THIS, I DON'T want to listen to Emma's ramblings!
To be fair, those ramblings are only three paragraphs in-between the Zac-Judge conversation, but they felt interminably long!
The Narrator: Anthony Bowden is a new narrator to me. I liked his speed, inflections and he was able to inject the right emotion in the dialogue. I just hated his female voices because they sounded like aging drag queens. I don't get that with Tom Stetschulte or Victor Slezak, perhaps because they don't try to change their voices to sound female.