Model Olivia Winters comes home to escape her job in New York City, and finds herself compelled to investigate the suspicious suicide of a former high school classmate. She enlists the help of private investigator Max Lyon, an ex-detective from a troubled family. Posing as husband and wife, the pair uncovers a grisly trail of murder, and the danger propels them into each other’s arms.
With a murderer on the loose, Max and Olivia realise they’re in too deep, too late. They’re getting close to the truth—and to each other’s secrets.
There will be spoilers in this review.
I’ve always enjoyed the romantic suspense genre, and so have spent a lot of time defending it against people who accuse it of brutality. Yes, some books feature a great deal of violence against women – sexual or otherwise – but if you take a look at contemporary romance targeted at the under-25s these days you’ll see at least as much of it there.
However, there’re some authors who have been around in the RS genre for a long time now, prolific authors with a huge backlist, and I find I can’t defend their outdated writing with their blasé attitudes to rape. It has nothing to do with the authors’ ages (just look at some of the newer people writing New Adult books!) and everything to do with ignorance.
Lindsay McKenna is one such author I’ve been annoyed by in the past year, and it turns out Rebecca York is another.
It wasn’t just the bizarre turn of events in the last ten percent of the story; I also found the writing to be emotionally unengaging. Too much tell and next to no show. I felt like I was reading a summary of events rather than the actual story.
Nowhere was this clearer than the end, where rape is used as nothing more than a convenient way to distract a captor. It is handled appallingly – I’d have expected a great deal more emotion and reaction even for a much less serious crime.
“You’d better put on your pants before we go up.”
“Pants. Yeah, right. And my front.”
She pulled her bra down over her breasts and seated them in the cups, then reached for her panties and slacks, pulled them on and then put on her shoes.
Only hours after this occurs, the book concludes with hero and heroine having sex. Recovery from rape took, like, a minute.
“I told Fisher I was raped in high school by Masters and raped again yesterday.”
Some authors throw in rape to up the drama in their books (such as the truly repulsive scene in Maya Banks’ Shades of Gray), but even that didn’t seem to be the case here. It was dealt with with so little fuss it felt more like filler to make up the word count than even an attempt to brutalise a woman for entertainment.
I didn’t get it. And I didn’t get this book.
It was a huge disappointment.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.