Series: Mann Family
Author: Kate Brady
Read copy: eBook
Published: February 25, 2014
Special Prosecutor Kara Chandler made a name for herself putting violent criminals behind bars. But now, she'll face one of the world's most dangerous assassins...and put her life in his hands.
A killer is hunting Kara Chandler and her son, and systematically taking out anyone she turns to for help. Her only hope for escape is Luke Varon, a hitman for a powerful drug cartel. She's met Luke several times in the courtroom but he's always beaten the system. She's counting on him to do the same now, as he helps Kara fake her death and catch a killer.
But Luke isn't who Kara thinks he is. He's actually a secret agent under deep cover. The last thing he needs is a beautiful distraction like Kara Chandler. But the fear in her eyes is too real to ignore.
Luke assumes the assassin is somehow linked to Kara's late husband, a man who had a hand in several shady business deals. But soon they learn his connection to Kara is even more chilling. This killer has been waiting years for his chance to possess Kara, and now Luke will have only days to stop him.
Kara Chandler is at her wits' end. Someone is sending her gifts, taunting her with messages of what she's supposedly done...But when the creep kills the policeman she's turned to for help and threatens her son, Kara knows she needs to take drastic measures. Enter Luke Varon, a hitman for a drug cartel, Kara had unsuccessfully prosecuted for murder. He has the resources to make her and her son disappear...But he's not who he appears to be.
This wasn't as strong as its predecessor which was a bit disappointing, since I've loved Luke, Nick's (hero from the previous book) brother, from the moment he appeared on the scene. Pity, he wasn't as "alive" and "real" in his own book. I just didn't connect with him—no matter what persona he chose to portray. He didn't seem believable as a hitman (maybe because I knew he wasn't really one), and he seemed even less so as the good guy. I guess he was somewhere in between, in that gray area that could've worked wonderfully, but was somewhat unexplored. He wasn't ambiguous, rather he was just bland.
The heroine unfortunately didn't work any better for me. She was rather trusting, and ready to hire a criminal and murdered and then more than willing to follow his every lead, for a prosecutor, no matter how dire her circumstances were. And then, despite what she knew about the guy, she ended up hoping he was actually a good guy. Her hunch proved right, but still. The whole thing needed quite a lot of belief to be suspended.
And in the end, Luke didn't even have to explain much about anything. She just believed him. What if he was lying? What if he was leading her on a merry chase?
I guess what was really "off-putting" with this story was that it was the complete opposite of the first book in the series. While everything the characters in the first book did, whatever they said, however they acted and reasoned, it was believable, realistic. It was something anyone of us could or would do in such circumstances. (Almost) everything the characters did in this one, whatever they said, however they acted and reasoned, was anything but believable and realistic.
Even the villain was a bit over the top. Okay, I got the need for revenge, but the entire plot of how he got to there, the guest list, the reenactment...If was a tad too far-fetched for me. I love a decently twisted villain, but this one had a twist or two too many for my taste. And I never glimpsed any explanation of his skills (or maybe I just wasn't paying attention).
The only saving grace was the secondary aspects, I guess. The investigation into Kara's "stalker" and the progression of the investigation. Yes, the procedural part of the story is what worked very well for me, the rest not so much.