jenjn79's Reviews > Stop Me

Stop Me by Brenda Novak
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Jun 20, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: info-full, reviewed, genre-romance-suspense, 2008, z2008-july-dec, series-last-stand, stars-4
Recommended to jenjn79 by: continuation of a series
Read in August, 2008

Second book in Novak's The Last Stand series. I'm giving it the same rating as the first book, 4-stars, but I liked it more than the first one. While the first one was borderline 3-4 stars, this one solid 4 stars.

Like the first book, this one focuses on The Last Stand victims support organization and the three women who founded it. This book features Jasmine Stratford. Sixteen years earlier, her little sister was kidnapped while Jasmine babysat her, completely destroying her family. The sister was never found and Jasmine has never stopped feeling guilty or wanting to know what became of her sister.

Now, she's received a strange package in the mail from someone who had to be involved in the disappearance of her sister. Desperate to know more, she goes to New Orleans, where the package was mailed from. Her research leads her to Romain Fornier, a brooding loner who has shut himself away from the world after his 10-year-old daughter was kidnapped, molested, then murdered. When the killer was let off on a technicality, Romain reacted on a surge of emotion and spent the next 18 months in jail. He wants nothing to do with what Jasmine is telling him - that he may have killed the wrong man. But the knowledge that the person who killed his little girl might still be out there overrules his feelings. He and Jasmine team up to find out the truth in a case that takes more turns than anyone could have expected.

Stop Me is a little bit different type of story than Trust Me because this one is a whodunit because you don't know who the ultimate ringleader is. Though I have to admit I had a pretty good idea who it would turn out to be early on. The misdirection was a little too obvious so I looked to the less possible option. And I was right. But it was still a well-told story. I wanted to keep reading to see where the story would go next. And there was a surprise or two as well. I wasn't expecting how things ended up with one of the secondary characters.

The romance in this one was a bit more solid than the first book. I loved Romain. He's the ultimate in tragic heroes - a wife who died of cancer, a daughter brutally murdered, going to prison for taking justice into his own hands. Even though he's a bit surly, he's a very likable character. The chemistry between him and Jasmine is great and the romance is more developed than between Skye and David from Trust Me. I just felt the romantic angle more.

But like Trust Me the ending was a bit weak. Not as much so, but I still didn't come away feeling all that satisfied. For me, there just needed to be a scene that solidified the romance between Jasmine and Romain. And I was left wanting to know a few things after the book ended. There were some things I wanted to know how they turned out.

I was also a bit disappointed that the book felt rather disconnected from the first book. The Last Stand organization gets a lot of mentions and whatnot, and the other characters get a little face time, but I felt as if they were just there. Skye (book 1) had a baby and it's never even said whether it was a boy or a girl. So I would have liked a little more inter-connectedness between the books.

But overall, I liked the book. I zipped through it pretty quickly. This book, and the series, is something those who like the mid-level intensity romantic suspenses would probably like.
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