Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 14, 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado’s life is spiraling out of control. His beautiful new girl Friday, Annie Dugan, is far more interested in fieldwork than filing, and despite Ric’s best efforts to ignore the attraction, sparks are flying between them. Then one of Ric’s clients turns femme fatale and tries to gun down an innocent man. Thanks to quick thinking and even quicker reflexes, Ric comes to the rescue, only to learn he’s done a very good deed for some very bad people.
Suddenly Ric finds himself deep undercover with Annie, working for notorious crime boss Gordon Burns. One mistake from Ric’s painfully inexperienced partner and they’re both dead.
FBI agent Jules Cassidy’s life isn’t in much better shape. For years the FBI has been trying to prove Gordon Burns’s ties to terrorist activity. Now, thanks to Ric and Annie, Jules has found a way into the lion’s den. But in the course of his investigation he comes face-to-face with Robin Chadwick, the charismatic but self-destructive and closeted movie star for whom Jules feels a powerful attraction. Robin’s in town promoting his latest film—and Gordon Burns is a star-struck movie buff.
With Robin and Jules’s help, Ric and Annie are soon entrenched in Burns’s organization, surrounded by killers who may already have executed an FBI infiltrator. Before long the couple realizes that many more lives besides their own will be at stake if they make a false move. As the heat between them reaches dangerous levels, so do the risks they’re willing to take—in the line of duty, for the sake of loyalty, and in the name of something that runs even deeper.
Ex-cop turned PI, Ric Alvarado is hired for a simple job, find a girl so the client can give her a memento from her dead daughter. But as soon as Ric, and his unwanted partner, Annie Dugan, find the girl, bullets start flying, and suddenly Ric and Annie are very cozy with a crime boss. A crime boss that apparently has ties with terrorists, so the FBI, namely Jules Cassidy, recruits Ric and Annie for some undercover work...And then Robin Chadwick appears.
This would've gotten a five-star rating if it weren't for the Annie/Ric distraction, and the suspense was a bit more developed. For a romantic suspense series, this one has rather mellow suspense/mystery plots, oftentimes serving as backdrop to the romance drama so things don't get too angst-y and/or boring.
Anyway, Annie/Ric did absolutely nothing for me, except wanting them to not exist. They bickered constantly, and while some might consider that simple UST, to me it was just too annoying to care about their story, their characters, and what actually happened to them...But since their story was intertwined with the romance/love-saga that is Jules and Robin, I had to endure, because I just love Jules (and Robin), even though I still don't thing the movie star deserves our sweetie.
So if it were just these two, a five-star rating would've been a guarantee, since they're up there along Sam and Alyssa (minus the overdone initial toxicity, angst and drama of that particular pairing). It's a love story, written in the "era" before mainstream M/M romances, but that's not why I love these two. I love them, because their story is relatable (be it straight, gay, a or bi we all had someone like Robin, a self-destructive, repressed, scared, hiding something from someone, person in our lives, knowing he/she's not good for us, yet unable to quit them), sad, dramatic, angst-y, and yes, happy. It teaches us self-acceptance, the power of love and friendship, and never to quit...And the HEA, that continues in the next installment in this series, is just the right amount of bittersweet to not end up cheesy and unrealistic. Life and love is a struggle, and requires constant work and dedication.
And this love story also brought back a few of old friends which is always a plus. How sweet for Sam to sign his emails to Jules with SpongeBob. ;)
As said before, the suspense could've been better, its plot tighter, and somehow more prominent in the story where romantic drama reigned. And yes, Annie/Ric could've been toned down (a lot).
5 stars for Jules/Robin and everything these two brought with them (drama and heart-break included)
2 stars for Ric/Annie, and the mediocre (the finale excluded) suspense