Isis FG's Reviews > Fade to Black

Fade to Black by Leslie A. Kelly
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's review
Oct 25, 09

bookshelves: series-black-cats, 2009, info-full, published-2009, reviewed, genre-romance-suspense, stars-5
Recommended to Isis FG by: random buy
Recommended for: Auntee, Kathrynn, romantic suspense fans
Read in October, 2009, read count: 1

Sometimes you get really lucky when you pick up a random book at the book store...this was one of those times. These days I don't buy many random, unknown author books (lack of reading time and money), but I'm a big romantic suspense fan and it's the one genre I will still occasionally pick up a random book for. So when I saw this in the store and thought it looked interesting, I decided to give it a try. It wasn't until I got home and looked up the book on GR that I found out I actually did know the author as Leslie Parrish is a pseudonym for Leslie Kelly who writes romance/romantic comedies. And I'd read a couple of her books and enjoyed them. I figured this book would likely be good, but I wasn't sure how Kelly (as Parrish) would translate to romantic suspense. I have to say she does very well in this genre. I was totally hooked and loved the book on all levels.

The Black CATs are an FBI Cyber Action Team lead by Wyatt Blackstone, a bit of a down and out FBI agent, who investigate internet-based murders. The team is made up of a combination of computer techs and street agents. Dean Taggert was a street agent who decided he needed to get away from all the darkness his investigations exposed him to, the effects of which had a hand in destroying his marriage and distancing him from his son. He thought the CATs job would lighten up his life.

Then one of his teammates discovers a deeply undercover website called Satan's Playground where all kinds of vile virtual atrocities are played out. But worse, he finds videos posted are being posted by a man calling himself The Reaper in which women are being murdered in real life. There are eight snuff videos so far, meaning eight dead women. This type of investigation is exactly what Dean didn't want to be part of, but once he gets involved, he's all in. He wants the bastard caught.

His investigation leads him to Hope Valley, Virginia and to Sheriff Stacey Rhodes. There is an instantaneous attraction between the two, but Dean is wary of ever getting seriously involved again and Stacey isn't ready for serious involvement...she's got emotional scars of her own. But as the investigation heats up in The Reaper, the two can't avoid the attraction, or the feelings building between them.

For me, this was a true blue romantic suspense book. There's a really solid suspense plot that hooked me, kept me reading, and surprised me at the end. And there's a nice, full-bodied romance between two great characters. The balance between the two was perfect and made this just an all around awesome book.

I really liked both Stacey and Dean. Stacey is a strong, intelligent, independent woman...but not so independent that she acts stupid...with a good heart and just generally nice. And Dean is an all around good guy with a little Alpha in him, but not so much he tries to be a controlling brute. He respects Stacey's intelligence and experience and though he wants to protect her, he doesn't try to tell her what to do. They made a great couple and I thought complemented each other nicely. There was a little bit of steaminess to the book as well, but not a lot.

The suspense plot was fantastic. Which, okay, is weird to say about a story featuring snuff films, but it was well done by the author. Parrish isn't as police procedural as some other authors; she focuses more on the human aspect, but the investigative part was still good. It's creepy, twisted, disturbing...a storyline that will make you shudder because it's entirely plausible in real life. I was totally sucked into what was going on and just wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next.

I thought I knew who the bad guy was from very early on...and it turned out I was completely and utterly wrong. The ending came as a complete surprise to me. I would have never guessed the bad guy's identity, but it made complete sense once I knew. So I have to give kudos to Parrish for the whodunit part of the story. I always love to be surprise by how things work out.

I don't really have any criticisms of the book. It worked for me on all levels. I even liked that the supporting characters (upcoming main characters) got some POV scenes. It makes the series feel much more well-rounded. I just thought everything worked well in this book and I'd say it's likely one of the best ones I've read so far this year.

For those of you romantic suspense fans, especially those who like Karen Rose, Kate Brady, Beverly Barton, etc, I think this is a book you'd like.

WARNING, this book contains: disturbing descriptions of murder and other dark themes.
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Reading Progress

10/24/2009 page 40
11.59% "A lot darker so far than I expected, having read some of her Leslie Kelly books. This one has the potential to be really good."
10/25/2009 page 139
40.29% "Excellent book so far. I wanted to stay up and read last night but I was too tired. Plan to read a lot of it today."
10/25/2009 page 264
76.52% "This is such a good book. Can't wait to keep reading and finish it."
10/25/2009 page 345
100.0% "Two thumbs up! One of the better books I've read this year. Review to come later."

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Sounds just great, Isis! And if the author can fake you out as to who the bad guy is--then kudos to her. So many authors make it painfully obvious who the baddie is. Sometimes I like a book that makes me use my noodle.:)

Kathrynn Sold! Sounds like an excellent book, Isis. Thanks for "taking another one for the team." :-)

Isis FG Auntee - the whole series was good on keeping you guessing about the bad guys. I can generally sniff them out, but Parrish keeps things pretty vague, but yet it all still makes sense.

Kathrynn - You're welcome ;) I just hope you like it when you read it, LOL.

Kathrynn I'm reading it now and enjoying it! Thanks again for the rec, Isis. :-)

Shawna Great review, Isis! I picked this up on impulse when it first came out and was blown away.


You might enjoy Kylie Brant's Waking Nightmare, which is the first in her Mindhunters romantic suspense trilogy, too!

Isis FG Thanks, Shawna!

Hmm...I'll look into the one you recc'd. I think I've read that author...I think she has some Sil IM/RS books out.

Shawna Isis FG wrote: "Thanks, Shawna!

Hmm...I'll look into the one you recc'd. I think I've read that author...I think she has some Sil IM/RS books out."

Yes, her Silhouette "Alpha Squad" romantic suspense series is pretty good, but I was really impressed by the first book in her "Mindhunters" series.

Isis FG I think the ones I read of hers were from the IM series "Tremaine Tradition" or something like that.

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