Inventorying human remains can be difficult at the best of times without a creepy security guard hovering over Maddie Foster’s shoulder. Nervous about being stuck in the crypt with the strange man, Maddie asks a friend of a friend to drop by and pretend to be her boyfriend to force the guy to back off.
Raptor operative Josh Warner recently moved to Oregon to take over as guardian to his troubled niece and open a new private security branch in the Pacific Northwest. Josh doesn’t hesitate to help Maddie and is intrigued by the brainy museologist. His protective nature kicks into high gear as he discovers she may be in very real danger.
Tensions run hot in the summer heat as Josh’s work puts everyone he cares about at risk, and Maddie’s research into the museum collection raises questions better left buried. As their city teeters on the precipice of violence, Josh and Maddie find themselves embroiled in a deadly scheme that could reshape the nation.
USA Today bestselling author Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and mines her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco, survey and excavation of many prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, researching an historic concrete house in Virginia, and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children and can be found on the web at www.Rachel-Grant.net.
1-Star for the political agenda; 3-Stars for the Suspense; 4-Stars for the Romance. That makes for a 3-Star read overall. I have no problem with an author trying to cram her political agenda down the readers throat, but as said reader, I don't have to like it and I certainly don't have to pay to be offended. That's why I don't buy Rachel Grant books anymore, I borrow them from that great socialist institution - The Library.
Rachel, take is from a reader who has been with you from the beginning: Knock off the political crap. Write a hot romance and a tight suspense. Check your political ideology at the door to your writer's cave. It distracts from what is a good Romantic-Suspense plot.
Maddie Foster is a archeologist whose job is to inventory a private collection of Native American remains in order to repatriate them to their Tribes for reburial. The bones were collected in the 1920 - 1930's and the looter who took them was an Oregon timber baron with Nazi sympathies. His descending generations weren't much better, they turn out to have white supremacist leanings. One is particular is supposed to watch Maddie as she does the inventory, and he so freaks her out she calls her best friend Trina for help. She needs a strong dude to make this asshat back off.
Trina calls Raptor operative Josh Warner who recently moved to Oregon to take over as guardian to his troubled niece and open a Raptor branch in the Portland. Since Josh can't deny Trina anything, he takes on this little task thinking he will intimidate this creep and that will be the end of it. Well, best laid plans and all that. Josh really doesn't have time to get involved, but Maddie is hot and in need.
Maddie and Josh find themselves involved and Maddie's research problems are bleeding over into a new contract Josh is trying to obtain. Something is not right with a lot of what is going on and the city itself is facing rallies by a white supremacist group and protests from those Maddie and Josh support. Someone is trying to reshape the Pacific Northwest into an Aryan Homeland and Maddie and Josh are right in the middle, a dangerous place to be.
Rachel Grant is one of my favourite authors of romantic suspense (if not THE favourite) and I was thrilled when she announced she’d be continuing her long-running Evidence series following the winding up of her excellent Flashpoint trilogy. Tainted Evidence is the tenth Evidence book, and the author shows no sign of running out of steam, presenting just the sort of high-stakes, clever plot I’ve come to expect together with interesting, complex characters that are easy to root for, and a number of tense, edge-of-the-seat storylines. One of the things I always enjoy about Ms. Grant’s books is their topicality – I recall some of the scenarios in the Flashpoint books being all-too-scarily plausible for example – and that is definitely the case here, as the suspense plot deals with some sensitive and very current topics about things happening in America today. I know that not everyone is up for a dose of real-life politics in their romance novels, so I’ll say right now that while I do recommend the book, some readers may find certain aspects of it cut a little close to the bone.
Museologist Maddie Foster has been employed to examine over two hundred sets of remains housed at the mansion – formerly a private museum – of the Kocher family in Troutdale, Oregon. Almost a century earlier, Otto Kocher had looted hundreds of ancient and indigenous graves, stealing both funerary objects and human remains, and circumvented the law about displaying the remains by housing them in underground vaults. But now the state has finally ordered the museum’s closure and the disgruntled family can’t sell the house until all the remains have been catalogued prior to repatriation. When the book opens, Maddie is on her first day of at least ten in the musty basement of the house – and as if being cooped up for days underground weren’t bad enough, Otto’s grandson Toby, who is – ostensibly – acting as a security guard, is creeping her out. He stands too close, repeatedly draws attention to the gun and taser he wears, obviously in an attempt to intimidate her, and while she hates admitting it, even to herself, Maddie IS intimidated. On her lunch break, she calls her best friend, Trina Sorensen (Withholding Evidence), who is now happily married to Keith Hatcher, CEO of Raptor, a high-end private security and military training company. A few weeks earlier, Trina had mentioned that one of Keith’s best friends, Josh Warner, was moving to Portland and tried to set them up, but Maddie had just gone through a break-up and wasn’t interested in dating anyone. Now, however, she needs someone to get Kocher to back off, and she asks Trina if maybe Josh would be able to show up and pretend to be her boyfriend for an hour.
Josh Warner grew up in Oregon, and, following his stint in the Navy, has been working for Raptor out of their DC office for the past five years. When he received news that his brother was being sent to prison, Josh knew he needed to get home to look after his seventeen-year-old niece, Ava, a troubled young woman with anxiety and abandonment issues. He’s now Ava’s legal guardian and is determined to do his absolute best to provide the safe, loving environment she needs. But between his responsibilities to Ava, to Raptor and his friend and former comrade Owen, whom Josh has been helping to get back on his feet following injury and addiction, Josh has no time for a personal life – which is a real bummer, because the minute he sets eyes on Maddie he feels an instant pull of attraction… and knows it’s mutual.
Maddie and Josh have terrific chemistry and move very quickly from that initial attraction to heated making out, but both agree that the timing is bad and that they should put the idea of anything more than friendship onto the back burner. The trouble is that it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle, and I rather liked what became their running gag about going on ‘not-dates’ and having a ‘not-relationship’, because it was clear as day to them and everyone around them that they were pretty far gone for each other even after just a few days. That’s not to say that everything is plain sailing for them; the conflict in the romance comes as the result of a bad judgment call and takes considerable effort to undo.
The suspense plot is, as I’ve said, fast-paced and complex, and the author tackles a number of issues that are hugely relevant all the time, but are perhaps even more so at the present moment. Maddie’s research leads her to uncover a plot by a group of white supremacists to debunk years of scientific exploration and theory as part of a larger scheme to … well, no spoilers, but it’s a doozie; and Josh comes up with a plan to train groups of volunteers to peaceably protect those wishing to protest the planned rallies by the neo-Nazi White Patriot group. The author packs a lot of hot topics into the story – political corruption, media perception, doxing, tribal rights, a woman’s right to choose, to name but a few – and weaves them in skilfully, but even though my personal views align pretty closely with hers, there is a degree of heavy-handedness here which I haven’t felt in her other books. I’m always impressed with the amount of fascinating information Ms. Grant imparts and love it when I can learn new things while I’m being solidly entertained, but some of the hammering home here lacks her usual subtlety.
Josh and Maddie are engaging characters in their thirties who are confident in their abilities and know who they are and what they want. Josh is one of those heroes with a protective streak a mile wide, something Maddie susses out right away, which prompts her to wonder who takes care of him while he’s so busy looking out for everyone else. Maddie is determined and resourceful, and I particularly enjoyed her interactions with Ava, being open with her but also setting clear boundaries. The attraction between Josh and Maddie comes to a boil quickly, but as the book progresses, it becomes clear they really are a very good fit and that they’re prepared put in the work needed to move forward together.
Tainted Evidence is a great addition to the excellent Evidence series, an enthralling, cleverly-plotted, hard-to-put-down novel with a satisfying balance of steamy moments and nail-biting tension. I enjoyed it, and the reservations I’ve expressed don’t prevent me from giving it a strong recommendation.
Books are undeniably reflections of the sensibilities and times we live in, but Grant’s ‘Tainted Evidence’ is one so steeped in it that I had to take a step back several times in the middle of it.As always, I liked the engaging academic angle Grant tends to aim for in all her well-researched stories and the authoritative, overall tone that comes from it as a result. With characters that are mostly sympathetic and intelligent to boot, it’s typically a winning combination that keeps me coming back for more.
I’d thought I was going to read a story about a man whose unrequited love and circumstances had made him move somewhere else to be a guardian to his niece, whose path suddenly intersected with a researcher determined to return some human remains to their rightful place. But Rachel Grant’s ‘Tainted Evidence’ is so much more than that, a rolling juggernaut of the turmoil that started months (or some might say, millennia) ago.
There are many underlying issues forcefully woven into the narrative, as though Grant has used ‘Tainted’ Evidence’ as an outlet for her own personal frustrations to shine through: racism and mass-protests, white supremacy, women’s rights (slut-shaming always has to be thrown in somehow these days) and I frankly found myself uncomfortable with these inserts, as relevant as they are at this moment. It's put in the author's note that one's unlikely unable to finish the book if you didn't support the Black Lives matter movement, but it wasn't that way at all for me, even though I definitely thought that it was high time systemic racism had a spotlight shone on it.
It’s a bit hard to put a finger down on it, but overall, I felt as though there have been harsh and very brutal judgements (along with a blame game) made in the book—undoubtedly through the voices of characters who come off as equally unmoving, self-righteous and unforgiving—and I couldn’t help but feel that these filtered through to the reader as a preachy voice instead, as a way of Grant ‘talking down’ to the reader about what is correct or what we should be believing in or how we should be acting.
Admittedly, to claim that there is such authorial intention in the work is just guesswork on my part and I generally try not to extrapolate my own discomfort as what the author may or may not mean, since characterisation is always the veil behind which authorial intention somehow bleeds through. The strong, consistent thread of strongly opinionated viewpoints (some as unreasonable as hell, if you ask me) for instance, that bled through Maddie’s speech didn’t sit too well with me personally—it’s a side I know most female readers will cheer for—yet my own oddly strong reaction against it shocked me too.
The long and short of it really, is that I couldn’t wait to call ‘Tainted Evidence’ a write-off and I’ll be the first to say that this is entirely on me as I skimmed through the last half of it. Put it this way: my interest in the story and character development waned in tandem with my own growing discomfort with the way the subject matters were presented. It’s a rare one of Grant’s works that I couldn’t swallow hook, line and sinker and I’m hoping as hell, that this is just an aberration.
So, this is a DNF at 26% with spoilers. I don't have the heart or energy to reprise this, so I'm literally copy/pasting from the thoughts I posted to Twitter as I read the book. It is NOT necessary to take advantage of the current cultural changes to sell books In fact, it's NOT recommended.
The first 26% of this book was not okay and I'm not about to put myself through the rest of it.
I don't rate, and very rarely review, a book that I don't finish. However, I have read every one of the previous nine books in the Evidence series by Rachel Grant. I enjoyed them a lot. Great writing, brainy women and complicated suspense plots kept me coming back enthusiastically for the next sequel. Increasingly, the author was inserting her political belief system into the story arc, even if it sat there and clanged like a dissonant chord. I shrugged it off until Tainted Evidence.
I got to the 13% mark, already tired of the soapbox, and then Ms. Grant really cut loose. It went on for six pages, so I stopped reading. I thought I was buying a romantic suspense novel, not a political manifesto. And now I want my money back.
Maddie is tasked with inventorying human remains possibly stolen from Native lands-who knew bone laws could be so fascinating?!-while dealing with the family museum’s horrid excuse for a guard. She calls her bestie to send her backup and in walks Raptor operative Josh, her new fake boyfriend.
Josh has moved to Oregon to take custody of his 17 year old niece and open a new branch for Raptor security. With all that and his volunteer work, the last thing he needs is to fall for the girl he’s supposed to be helping on the side while fake-dating her!
Tainted Evidence was a jam-packed story! I loved the variety of relationships explored, the character dynamics, and the strong leads. The story also touches on a lot of current day issues, like personal consent, stolen bones from Native lands, white supremacy, media perception, corrupt police, family legacies, abuse of politics, and black lives. It’s a lot to absorb, yet Grant seamlessly wove everything together so well that I didn’t feel inundated by the information given.
If you like Pamela Clare’s I-Team series I’d highly recommend reading the Evidence series.
I received an advance reader copy from the author and this is my honest review.
Tainted Evidence by Rachel Grant was another awesome addition to this series featuring the Raptor Security Service operatives. I cannot tell you how much this book made me think about the current issues that are leading headlines currently throughout are country. Ms. Grant's attention to detail and thorough research was enlightening and thought provoking.
Josh and Maddie were both strong characters that Ms. Grant brought to life with their thoughts and actions throughout the book. Josh's niece, Ava, was a delight as her actions and words often provided humor to cut the dramatic tension. I liked her in spite of her typical teenage attitude some of the time. The action barely stopped long enough for me to catch my breath and the twists I never saw coming because this plot was so complicated. Surprises, family dysfunction, racial discrimination, both past and present, and some truly love inspired hot smexy times kept me turning the pages until I reached the end.
The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
I've always liked Rachel Grant's Evidence series. But this one is quite different than rest. Honestly I reqd some stopped read some more. It felt a bit tedious so many plot lines going on. So this had a lot of current issues come into play here protests, Nazi family backgrounds, white supremacist, lgbtq, women's rights and racism. While those good relevant topics abd sub themes, they were just a lot crammed in one book and some were more expounded on.
Maddie is doing an inventory of bones from grave robbers or looters, they have some Nazi beliefs from what I understand. I'm not familiar with the terminology of the preservation groups, she needed a pretend boyfriend because of the creepy guy hoovering on her work in a crypt.. Enter Josh new Raptor guy transferred to the area. They hit it off and he helped her a lot. Lots of insane chemistry. Josh has his secret unrequited crush on a former character Trina. Funny enough Maddie looks a lot like Trina do he has a type or so he thinks. This will come into play later.
Josh is a fixer kind of guy and with his own family issues things get tangled up. Maddie stood up for herself when he was hot and cold. Aside from the varied topics the prevalent one I would say is about white supremacists seeing as the ones that caused trouble for the main characters are part of it. The romance got amped up due the circumstances that surrounded the heroine and her preservation of funerary objects belonging to Native Americans.
Not my favorite of the series. But it still had the fascinating stuff with the burial bones and origins. If you like the Evidence series it's still ok. I still like this series regardless.
I'm a HUGE romantic suspense fan and let's face it, the bar is set pretty high for me. I had Ms. Grant's books on my TBR for a while and I got around to the earlier this year and fell in love with her and her books. Josh and Maddie's book was just as enjoyable as previous books in the series and I continue to be fascinated by the suspense plots created by Grant. Josh was such a great guy, truly. He relocated to Oregon to run a new Raptor office and most importantly to care for his niece, Maddie. She was his first priority, even when meeting Maddie, the highly intelligent and attractive museologist. They tried to deny their attraction at first but they soon figure out how to work with the undeniable feelings they have for each other. Maddie, Josh, Ava and Chase (another Raptor operative with a VERY interesting background story) are a great team as they take on some truly nasty people.
Just gotta say, I'm really hoping we get a book for Chase.
If you're looking for an incredible romantic suspense read, Ms. Grant skillfully balances romance, intrigue, archeology and smokin' hot passion.
Copy for read/review provided by author via Netgalley
Tainted Evidence by Rachel Grant is the 10th book in her Evidence series and it is so very powerful. With this installment, we get Raptor operative Josh Warner’s story, and it is a difficult and emotional ride for him and Maddie Foster, a museologist, who also is going through an emotional time. There is also a storyline about protesters, counterprotesters working with police, racists, and white supremacists. Because of that, reading this at this time, was a deeper experience than I expected it to be. I still could not put the book down and it was fabulous.
The story takes place in Oregon where Maddie is working identifying human remains to see if they are ancient and indigenous people who should be repatriated to their Native American tribes, but the Kocher family, whose museum house these bones, are against her being there or proving that they looted native lands of their treasures and bones. They are trying to make Maddie's life as difficult as possible as she tries to do her job so she calls a friend to help with keeping her safe and that is when the story gets really good. Enter Josh, a Raptor operative sent by her friend Trina, who not only pretends to be her boyfriend as they first meet, but does so with a kiss. Well you can just imagine how their story will progress, but there are also difficult family lives and relatives, protesters fighting in the area that end up becoming part of what needs to get solved and just when you think there might be some redemption for some, it all twists again and points you in another unexpected direction.
As with other books by Rachel, because of her experience as an archaeologist, there is so much depth in the research and historical story, something that makes the reading experience richer for me. She also writes fabulous relationship stories. This book seemed so real, so current and so emotional, that I read it in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Yes this is part of a series, and yes if you read the series in order you will get a richer experience, but, she lays the story out so well right from the beginning you could read this as a stand alone although if you do, I guarantee you, you will then want to read all the books that came before this in the series because you will now be hooked and want to read more.
I’m a fan of all Rachel Grant’s romantic suspense but this one gets extra love for its timeliness and relevance. I can’t remember ever experiencing a book more in-the-moment. Love how the forces for good triumph over evil and I can’t wait til that happens in our real world. Great plot and lovely romance.
I have been waiting for the next book in the Evidence series and this was worth the wait. This is the story of Josh Warner and Maddie Foster. Josh moves to Oregon to open another Raptor office and also to become guardian to his niece who has been through a lot. Maddie is inventorrying human remains in a crypt with a really creepy security guard. Worried she asks her friend to send a Raptor operative to pretend to be her boyfriend. Josh doesn't have time for a relationship because of work and his niece and many other responsibilities but the sparks between him and Maddie make it hard for him to remember that. Josh's job puts everyone he loves at risk and Maddie's job raises many questions. Can Josh and Maddie make it through all the obstacles and be together or is too much standing in the way? I really enjoyed this book it was a fast quick read and I finished it in less then a day. I had to keep reading because I wanted to find out what happened the characters feel real and I was happy to catch up with previous characters and meet some new ones. If your looking for a great series with drama, bad guys, romance, love, family check out this book and you really should check out this whole series. I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and here is my honest review I planned purchasing this book because I have enjoyed this series and I will definitely reread this one again and again in the future and I cannot wait for the second one.
Rachel Grant decided to give readers a chance to find themselves as the female lead in all her books and this one is no exception. She used the modern day political environment bring in a female who is Bi sexual. I can see this causing some reader to have issues but really books are to be about the world we create and the world we create is part of the world we live in.
Rachel Grand has made her political side very well known in the story which could leave some readers pushing the book aside. If we do not see or read all views than we can not grow as a people.
The story will remind readers of why they love Rachel Grant stories. I wish there was less lets have sex and more story of the reason Maddie Foster is cataloging bones of people who have died long ago.
The history that is being used in this story isn't something new which makes me sad as a history nut.
Rachel Grant bring history to life but she falls flat creating a better balance of story to romance in this story.
This story could be seen in the headlines today which makes it hard to read at time expect for the good guys win and the bad guys lose.
Thank you to Netrgalley and the publisher for the advance copy of Rachel Grant Tainted Evidence.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book was awesome! Rachel Grant blended romance, suspense, science into a great book. That she also seamlessly weaves in anti racist messages, respect for personhood, consent, mental health and feminism made it even better. This book blew me away and I can’t wait to read her backlist of other novels.
Madeline is working to discover if the looted human remains in a private museum can be repatriated with their original tribes. She’s uncomfortable around the “security guard” with her in the crypt so calls for help.
Josh has moved to Portland to become guardian to his 17 year old niece Ava and open a west coast chapter of their security company.
They have chemistry, but Josh needs to put his niece first and also becomes involved in helping counter protests to white supremacy marches happening in the area which brings danger to Josh and those around him.
The suspense and danger kept me turning pages. The science behind studying bones and the laws about them were really interesting and overall it was a really good book.
Tainted Evidence is book 10 in the Evidence series by Rachel Grant. Museologist Maddie Foster is working on an inventory of human remains in a private crypt. However, Maddie Foster was scared of the crypt security guard, so she asked a friend to recommend someone to come and pretend to be her boyfriend. Maddie's friend organised Josh Warner to come and help Maddie. Josh Warner recently moved to Oregon to look after his niece and set up a new branch of the Raptor Security business. The readers of Tainted Evidence will continue to follow Josh Warner and Maddie Foster to discover what happens.
Tainted Evidence is another fantastic book by Rachel Grant, and I enjoyed reading this book. Rachel Grant knows how to keep her readers on their toes to discover what happens next. I love Rachel Grant's portrayal of her characters and how they intertwine throughout this book. Tainted Evidence is well-written and researched by Rachel Grant. I like Rachel Grant's descriptions of Tainted Evidence settings that complement the book's plot.
The readers of Tainted Evidence will learn about the role of a museologist. Also, the readers will know what an ectopic pregnancy is and the issues it can cause suffering.
Rachel Grant's series are like a learning experience along with usually having real world issues at the forefront. On the learning aspect the main character was a museologist of which I had never heard of and the second was the word doxing. Once I look up the definition of doxing, turns out I did know its meaning just had never heard of that word. And for this book the real world issue was here in States. The deeply rooted white supremacy groups in Oregon. As this book takes place in Oregon the white nationalist groups rallies are a part of the story.
I am always both fascinated and totally engaged with her stories. Raptor operative Josh Warner was an intriguing character with some unique baggage from his past that he has let define what type of man he is now and how Maddie Foster the museologist he asked to protect changes him to an even better man by the end of the story.
WOW. Rachel makes you really think about what is tainted in our world. Starting with government and corporations and what people will do for power. Rachel really brings out into the open White Supremacy and how it's out there in full force. People need to open their eyes especially in light of what is happening in the World news. They need to stop burying their heads in the sand. Made me really wonder who was actually behind January 6 2021. I have lots of questions. Thank you Rachel for getting us to really think
An awesome blend of history, mystery, murder and mayhem but with love as one of the overriding elements in a couple, in a new uncle/niece relationship and how some families have an element that will never love anyone but themselves and their agendas. Loved it!!
Another great one! This installment was packed with action and romance. The ending was non-stop, and I just adored the epilogue! Maddie and Josh are great together, and I liked their dynamic and chemistry. Ava was also a fun addition to the story with her sass. This book also contains a lot of timely social topics, and I thought the author handled them very well. The museumology/archeology/bones portion of this one felt just a tough lighter than previous installments, but it was still great. Looking forward to the next one!
*I received an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
Not only is Rachel Grant a brilliant writer, but she is also an ally. I love her even more now.
This book was exciting, romantic, and suspenseful with the added bonus of showing how dangerous white supremacy and alt-right thinking is. At times I felt like the antagonists were almost too real, but unfortunately this is the reality of today. If only real life mimicked this book where corrupt people and white supremacists were held accountable.
I really enjoyed this book and am anxiously awaiting more. Maddie was the perfect MC. I love how resourceful, strong, confident and understand she was. I felt like she was such a kindred soul. I really related to her & love her. I really hope the next one is about Chase. I loved getting to know him more.
An education on the issues with a romance squeezed I
Wow! Although published before the current protests in Portland, this book aligns with the the protests occurring as I read this book. A lot of messages conveyed. I learned a lot about NAGPRA, but also how terrorist and hate groups operate. Also tied in this story is a child and spousal abuse, mental health issues, sexual identity, family issues, and squeezed in are several love stories. Love for family, brothers in arms and a partner. I say Wow again. Maddie is a strong heroine who calls people on their cra p and their treatment of her,no matter who they are. Josh is a caretaker who wants to help everyone and finally realize he has to help himself as well
I am normally a huge RG fan, but this book was just a little to preachy to me. This book covered sooooo many different issues. You dealt with LGBTQ with trans, then there was LGBTQ with a bi love interest, then there was racism and antisemitism, then there was Indian burial grounds (which is the only one that actually made sense for the storyline), then there was some spousal abuse thrown in for good measure, there was mental illness in there, plus some women's issues...you know, for added affect. It was too much, and too preachy. I liked the storyline, until I didn't and felt like it was about an agenda and that threw me WAY off. I get wanting/needing a platform, but this was platform overload for me. I sincerely hope this isn't a trend.
Thank you netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This mystery thriller had the recipe for a perfect romance with a creepy graveyard villain, historical bones to rescue and a hot ex Navy seal bodyguard. And yet it failed to deliver. Madeline and Josh are a compatible pair of professionals but they rush into a sexual relationship right from the get go. My pet peeves. Just couldn't get into the rest of the story with such lackluster protagonist.
The final book in the evidence series (for now!) takes place in Oregon and follows Maddie, a museologist who is tasked with inventorying human remains from a private museum collection, and Josh, a Raptor operative who just moved to Portland to take custody of his teenage niece.
Maddie’s job is to inventory the collection that was on display in the Kocher family private museum and research the human remains to determine where they’d originally been buried. If she can prove that the remains were stolen from federal land, the bones and associated funerary objects would then be repatriated to Native American tribes. However, the great grandson of the man who originally looted graves has now assigned himself as her security guard and is making her job difficult while supposedly protecting his great grandfather’s legacy. So Maddie calls her friend Trina (the same Trina from Withholding Evidence) and asks her if she could get Josh – the guy Trina has been trying to set Maddie up with – to show up at the museum and pretend to be her boyfriend to get the security guard to back off. Cue a meet cute in a crypt in a creepy mansion that houses the museum, lol.
Josh and Maddie hit it off from the start but they agree that now is not the time to start a relationship. However they soon find themselves spending a lot of time together. This being a Rachel Grant novel, Maddie’s research into the bones soon uncovers a high-stakes plot that threatens the entire country. I thought the chemistry between Josh and Maddie was the highlight of this book, but in general I felt like the plot was too convoluted. There was a lot going on in this book in addition to the romance – white supremacy, women’s rights, trans rights, sexuality, and more – so much so that I felt it was a little too preachy, and I happen to the author’s views on all these issues. Even developments in Josh and Maddie’s relationship were constantly foiled by his annoying, meddling niece Ava and apparently Josh's unresolved feelings for Trina (this I found pretty weird and unnecessary). I’m also generally not a big fan of romantic suspense with super villainy villains who are trying to take over the world with their grand plots, and
That said, I’m still a huge fan of this author’s work and I did enjoy the book despite all my complaints. 3.5 stars.
Thank you Rachel Grant & NetGalley for an eArc! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My first time reading Rachel Grant and I am so thrilled to see my high expectations were warranted. This is part of a larger series but can be read as a standalone. The story begins with Maddie, a museologist, researching human remains at a wealthy mansion whose owner is her giving her the creeps which propels her to ask Josh, security specialist and ex-Navy SEAL, to be her pretend boyfriend/bodyguard. Think that’s the only story line, um you have no idea what Grant has in store in this action packed novel. Not only do the characters have to juggle their personal drama but they have to handle white patriot riots, their plan to take over political power in Oregon and how it all ties into Maddie’s research. There’s a lot of moving plot points in this but the reader never feels lost or tangled up in the multiple plot lines. It took a bit for me to get into the plot, due to pacing I think, but once the action picked up and the puzzle pieces started connecting I was hooked. The plot was thoroughly thought out and plenty of research was conducted to make the riots and museology believable. At times I felt I could have been reading a Karen Rose novel! The characters here were great. I especially loved Maddie. She knew who she was and what she stood for. She stood up for herself when Josh wronged her. I am so happy she made him grovel and figure out what he wanted (most romances don’t have enough of this in my opinion). Josh is perhaps one of the most internally conflicted heroes I’ve read in a while. He struggles with a lot of personal drama but this helps the reader understand him. I would have liked to see some of the phone conversations the couple has daily considering they referenced them so much. I felt I was left out of part of their courtship/romance. Besides this nit-pick, I think Maddie and Josh were incredibly sweet and I enjoyed their romance. Their HEA was definitely earned! If you are a fan of romantic suspense, as I am, or just want to try a new Indie author give Tainted Evidence a try. Note: Grant also touches upon our current social/political movement of Black Life Matters. I think this portion of the novel was written with great care and consideration.
Another great read by this author that is full of details and descriptions that makes you feel like you are right there in the middle of it. Josh, a Raptor operative, moves to Portland to take over guardianship of his teenage niece and to open a new Raptor office in the area. He gets a call from Trina, the wife of his best friend and CEO of Raptor, to help out her friend, Maddie, who is being harassed at a site she is working on. Maddie is intimidated by Troy, the man who is overseeing her work, and calls her best friend for help, sending Josh to come to her rescue and pretend to be her boyfriend to get Troy to back off. The sparks are immediate and the two don’t mind playing the fake relationship up. Josh has a lot on his plate, his niece, his friends, his opening of the new office trying to get contracts and doesn’t think he has time for a relationship, or to start one but Maddie may be all worth it....as long as outside influences don’t hinder their budding relationship. This read has it all, steam, lust, love, betrayals, suspense, lies, twists and turns, family, friends, surprises and great characters. Once again this author delivers details that are spot on and very informative that I was not lost once with all the jargon and history, that was explained thoroughly. There were also some sensitive issues that were handled with care and delicacy as it all tied into the story, interweaving seamlessly. I LOVED how Josh was vulnerable at times and showed his emotions w/o putting up a front because he was a man. I LOVED how the two navigated around his niece, and were able to deal with all that entailed her, with compassion and love. I LOVED how strong Maddie was, sticking up for herself and not mincing words or playing games with Josh. The twist and turns, betrayals and surprises were throughout and the read and the ending when it all comes to a head....didn’t see that one coming. An amazing read that was worth the wait and can’t wait for the next one! *I voluntarily read an advanced copy and expressed my honest opinion*
Another taunt, fascinating romantic suspense story from this author, with her usual heavy dash of archeology and history! One of the reasons I read every one of Rachel Grant’s books is for those glimpses of anthropology, archeology, and cultural history. And this book is no exception to that, taking us inside the world of the indigenous people of the northwest United States and the crimes committed against them in the past and present. At the same time, we get to know better Raptor operative Josh Warner, sent out to Portland, Oregon to start not just a new Raptor office but a new life as the guardian to his beautiful yet tragically damaged niece. He has a more than worthy love interest in Madeline Foster, an expert who is cataloging the remains and funerary objects from the raided graves of indigenous people. The roller coaster ride these two go on in this book is intense and not always smooth! Be warned, this is not your usual romantic suspense read.
That said, this book contains very intense actions by villains that are all too real. The story totally touches upon events that are happening right now in our world, and the realism of that alone is scary. I have seen reviews that mention Ms. Grant is “preachy” in this book. There is an aspect of that, I suppose, but I did not find it detracting from the story. I will say the author throws a lot of race, religious and gender-identity issues into this book to give what I interpreted as a realistic view of our society today. As much as I like that realism, it sometimes felt like the author was throwing them into the story for the sake of having those issues in the book; It felt like she had a list of what she wanted to include in the book and crammed it in. But the importance of those issues in general, and to the author and the story, make them worth the inclusion. If anything, it made this book Ms. Grant’s most powerful “Evidence” book to date in the series! I, for one, am looking forward to the next one!
Conundrum: I was going to give this story 3 stars because I wasn’t happy with some of the unnecessary details presented, then it made me cry in the middle which is a criterion of getting 5 stars from me, so I averaged it out and gave it 4 stars. I’m not referring to the political rally, which is needed for the plot, but the other stuff could have been written a simpler way and just confuses things when the rally is intense enough.
Maddie Foster is doing research into the possible illegal removal and exhibition of native remains by an old wealthy family in Oregon. But the current generation is hostile and secretive making her feel very uncomfortable while doing a survey in the vaults in the family estate basement. So, she hires Raptor agent Josh Warner to act as her ‘boyfriend’ while down there. But though they both have other commitments they can’t stop their attraction to each other. Then family and work issues turn dangerous and threaten to tear them apart.
I love the Raptor panic button. And I like how Ava slowly warms up to Maddie, even though so is a bit of a brat.
Footnote: 1) This book has some trendy ‘politically correct’ stuff, (I’m not referring to the political rally), which really has no relation to the story line, but looks like it was just added in to increase sales.
2) You know, I love my girlfriends and I love doing ‘boy’ things (camping, etc.) but that doesn’t make me gay or bi. Just means I’m a caring person who’s marching to my own drum.
3) Plus, I’m tired of being profiled as a white privileged racist just because I’m white. I was born lower middle class to an immigrate family that worked hard for what they had without handouts. My mother was harassed in school by Jewish girls for her family’s religion and as a teen worked picking cotton. So don’t judge until you have more information. Give people the benefit of the doubt. The majority of people are decent.
Fave scenes: Ava’s 2d phone call, Maddie’s description of her sore muscles, Maddie’s walking stick and the menorah cake.
This is TOTALLY a book we all need to read right now. It is a great romantic suspense story and an awesome example of how we can all learn to be antirascists. I'll admit that I haven't read all the other books in the Raptor series - but I probably should go back and read them! There wasn't a need to have read them to understand what was happening here or to enjoy the story.
Josh has moved to Portland to start a new Raptor office - largely because he has custody of his teenage niece. His niece has been abused by her father - mentally and physically. Her mother committed suicide - and she is now in the care of her uncle Josh because her father is in jail. Josh is very focused on Ava's well-being and is trying to do right by her.
Maddie has a fascinating job that focuses in on protecting and cataloging ancient remains and funerary objects that were taken from their rightful resting places. She is working on a job involving a lot of native american remains - and one of the family members is watching over her while she does her job in a very creepy and threatening way . She calls her friend Trina (who is married to Raptor's CEO) for help - and in walks Josh.
Josh and Maddie are a great fit for each other - and I really liked watching them fall in love. But overall - my very favorite thing about this book was clear portrayal of the white supremacists and the work Josh was doing to support the counterprotestors. It was all so timely. I also loved the diversity in the book - Maddie is bisexual and Josh is jewish. They work actively with the black community in Portland and there is a character who is a trans. The whole book just came at the right time with the right storyline.
Loved it! The only thing that kept it from being a five star read for me was how tough Maddie was on Josh. I was proud of her for valuing herself so much. She did deserve better than the way Josh treated her. But I think she took a little too long being right instead of being loved.
Overall - awesome read!
I received this book as as ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.