Donna Repsher's Reviews > Lock 'N' Load

Lock 'N' Load by Tee O'Fallon
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it was amazing

This is the third novel I've read by Tee O'Fallon, and it's the first book in her Federal K-9 series, and although I'm a cat person, I've recently been reading quite a few books featuring canine characters and have developed quite a liking for them, and this novel was no exception, and it gets a 5-star rating from this reader.

Matt Connors is the sexy, tall, handsome hunk in this novel. He's a police sergeant and he and his K-9 companion work at CIA headquarters, checking ID's at the entrance, which is where he first spots the heroine, Trista Gold, one of the CIA's top computer analysts, a small, shy, computer geek, whose whole life is her work and her cat, Poofy (a really bad choice of cat names for a grown woman to choose). She doesn't date, doesn't flirt and has never had a real relationship with a man. Matt notices her almost immediately and manages to see beyond her thick trifocals and drab gray attire to the pretty woman beneath the camouflage. As she approaches Matt's station with her ID, she notices his dog, and due to a bad experience when she was 6 years old, has been terrified of dogs ever since. She ends up having a panic attack and Matt manages to get her through it, which is how they meet. Trista is so socially inept that no sooner does she see Matt when she can't take her eyes off of him, and, when he speaks to her she starts stammering uncontrollably.

Trista is brilliant with computers, and she's exceptional at spotting and breaking codes and ciphers, and her CIA job allows her to search for spies and terrorists, hiding and operating in the many secret chat rooms on the dark web. She doesn't interact with them, but a program she wrote allows her to remain invisible to them while she lurks and listens. One day, Trista ends up overhearing part of a conversation in a chat room between two men, one of whom she believes is a spy, but there's a small computer glitch, and although it only lasts for seconds, it's enough for them to "see" her, and late that very night, as Trista is leaving work and heading to a local eatery for dinner, she's grabbed from behind and hauled off into the woods with a knife at her throat. Luckily, Matt was headed to the same eatery, and he and his K-9 manage to rescue her, although her attacker gets away. And that's just the beginning of her troubles and the dangers ahead.

What follows is a tense, intricate and engrossing web of treachery and secrecy, with Trista at the center of it all. There's also a mysterious 40-year old murder that manages to tie itself into the present day action. And there's also the growing intimacy and attraction between Matt and Trista, but Matt is troubled too. At age 16, he and his best friend got drunk and were goofing around when something happened (no spoilers from me) and his friend died. Matt has blamed himself ever since, and internalized the event to such a degree that he won't allow himself to be happy, or to have a lasting relationship. His only relationship is with the K-9 dogs he trains, and the creation of Jerry's Place, where troubled teens can learn and heal through their relationship with and training of K-9 dogs. But Trista manages to somehow get past Matt's emotional barriers, and Matt manages to get her used to being around his dogs. All this, while Trista is supposed to be keeping a low profile and staying hidden for her own protection.

I truly liked both of the main characters in this novel, who each had their own flaws and issues, and who somehow helped each other try to get past them. To have managed to fully develop these characters in the midst of the dangers they faced was no small accomplishment, and it made for an exceptionally good, tense, emotional and addictive read--one I highly recommend.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Reading Progress

July 29, 2018 – Started Reading
July 31, 2018 – Shelved
July 31, 2018 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Carma (new) - added it

Carma This is on my too buy shelf so I’m glad to see you liked it!!

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