Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review: Black at Heart by Leslie Parrish

Title: Black at Heart
Series: Black CATs
Author: Leslie Parrish
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 1101136235
ISBN-13: 9781101136232

Wyatt Blackstone has done his best to mask his romantic feelings for Lily Fletcher, the brilliant but fragile young woman whose technical skills have helped him track countless violent Internet predators. But now he must fin out if the woman he loves has become a rogue agent obsessed with cold-blooded revenge...

My rating:

On the night of Lily Fletcher's memorial service, someone dialed Wyatt Blackstone's number, a voice from the grave begging for help...

Now, seven months later, someone is offing in-the-closet pedophiles, luring them to out-of-the-way motels through known deviant websites, using very familiar names. The murder scenes are similar, the evidence of murderous rage, no usable fingerprints, no possible DNA samples, but the killer always leaves a lily blossom beside the victim's body.

Wyatt Blackstone, the rather mysterious and reserved leader of the new CAT unit dealing with Internet-related murders, is particularly interested in this case, so interested in fact, no one in his team (but one, Brandon Cole, the IT specialist he's asked for help that night seven months ago) knows about it.

Wyatt refuses to believe the convenient clues, but the nagging doubts won't go away, until he talks to the only suspect he has...

Whoa, what a ride. After the heart-breaking prologue (with a nice kick in the end), we're immediately thrown into a gruesome murder scene and in the very thick of the investigation. The fact Wyatt is playing this pretty close to the vest should've been a good indication of just what exactly was going on, but still the truth surprised the heck out of me...Lily Fletcher, that voice calling Wyatt from the grave, is alive, recuperating in his beach house in Maine.

The second surprise of the day was Lily herself. Gone was the shy, quiet woman, in her stead we meet the strong, determined, scarred (both inside and out) warrior. The surprise was very pleasant indeed, I never much cared about the Lily from the past, but this new Lily, the Lily shaped by that horrible night when all went wrong and the seven days that followed it, now this was a woman to be reckoned with and admired.
The details of what she's been through were never fully explained, which I couunt as a blessing, because the mere tidbits we've been fed were reason and explanation enough for me.
This new Lily at first appeared cold, but it was (as usual) only a defense mechanism, she was strong, she was skilled, she knew what she wanted...Closure and the man she's loved for quite a while, her enigmatic boss, Wyatt Blackstone.

And can you blame the girl? I've been itching to know more about Wyatt from book one in this amazing trilogy. He was a true enigma, a man evidently burying his emotion deep, aloof, unflappable...Gorgeous and sexy as hell. It was heart-breaking to learn the truth about his past, it was rather annoying to see him resist the temptation that was Lily, and it was HOT to see him finally lose some of that famous control.

The suspense part of the story (the major part) was yet again amazing, with the serial killer on the loose, wondering if it was possible Lily was behind it, the hunt for the Lovesprettyboys bastard who kidnapped Lily and held her for seven days, the bomb that the truth about it was, and the tension after learning the true identity of the murdered and his reasons that was strung until the epilogue.

I loved the Black CATs, it was evident how the team progressed from virtual strangers to a group of people that would do anything to protect one of their own (without judgment, without needing all that much explanation), even putting their careers on the stake. It was nice to revisit those "old" friends (Dean and Alec), learning of how their lives went on after their own stories. It was wonderful receiving some sort of vindication when learning just what went down after the failed pedophile bust seven months prior.

But in this story I did miss the romantic aspect a little. A tiny little bit.
Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of tension, wondering whether to do something or not, tapping around the edges, and when the moment finally came it brought a relieved sigh and a "It was about time!" to my lips, but I find it wasn't enough. I wanted to see more of that Blackstone control slip, I wanted to see Wyatt and Lily happy together (I've been rooting for them since the beginning, despite the fact Lily wasn't my favorite character back then), it just wasn't meant to be, I guess. I'm not disappointed with the romance subplot, I just wish there was more. Only a little bit, maybe.

Anyway, with the tight-strung suspense, good pacing, chills and thrills, great action, gripping tension, that little bit of romance (that could've been more 😉), and wonderful characters Black at Heart presents a wonderful finale to this great and highly-recommended series.

A 5-star keeper!


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