Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

Title: Hold Your Breath
Series: Search and Rescue
Author: Katie Ruggle
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ASIN: B017HX13DA

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

As the captain of Field County's ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise "Lou" Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own terms...no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.


My rating:

Seven months after joining the Field County's Rescue Dive Team, Louise "Lou" Sparks's kick during an exercise dislodges a dead body, bringing it floating to the surface. Feeling guilty for kicking the poor guy, Lou embarks on a DIY detective mission to discover the man's identity, since he doesn't possess his head. To keep things interesting, the leader of her diving team, and her secret crush, grumpy, taciturn, and hot-as-hell Callum Cook offers to help her investigate...And to keep things even more interesting, Lou appears to have gotten herself a stalker that seems to mind a lot that Callum is poaching on his territory.


After the iffy start to this series, I was a bit apprehensive before reading this book, but I needn't have worried. Not one bit.

This was an amazing story. Fast-paced, well-plotted, and well-written action-packed when it needed to be, rife with humor, and with a varied and fascinating cast of characters. I absolutely adored Lou. She was quirky, funny, resilient, sarcastic, smart, wry...I loved her to bits. Her special brand of humor was right up my alley, and if she were real, I'd want her to be my best friend. I suffered with her, I feared with her, I laughed with her, and I loved Callum with her.
Because who wouldn't love the guy? I mean, the reader doesn't truly get to know him, since the story is (mostly) told from Lou's perspective, but what I got to see through her eyes was just perfect. Grouchy, growly, snarly and frown-y on the inside, but once those layers were peeled off, thanks to Lou and her special brand of crazy chaos and sardonic wit, the glimpses into his inner layer were sweet and precious. He wasn't a man of many words, but he more than compensated for his taciturn nature with his actions. It's true what they say, that actions speak more than words.
The rest of the characters, the search and rescue crew, the cooky smelly guy, and the occasional patron of Lou's coffee shop were appropriately intriguing, there when they were needed, and/or offered an additional laugh or two. I also liked Derek (the hero from the prequel) more in his secondary role in this book than as a hero in his own.
The villain might've been a tad predictable if it weren't for all the red herrings thrown into the mix, and he might've also been a little over the top crazy, but it worked, and provided the story with a gripping, action-packed, nail-biting scene.

The "secondary" suspense plot, if it may be called that, since it's obviously part of the main series arc spanning multiple books (an educated guess, since the "main murder" wasn't resolved at the end of the story) is equally intriguing, and I can't wait to see how it pans out. Although it sort of stuck out a bit in this book, since Lou and Callum were pretty much amateur detectives (if they can be called that), and yet they made more progress than the official investigation. That struck me as a little strange and added a weird, unrealistic vibe to the plot. But I guess I'm just picky.

Overall, this was a great intro to the series and I'm looking forward to what comes next.



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