Friday, January 26, 2018

Debra Dixon - Bad to the Bone

Jessica Daniels doesn’t do specialty work—anymore. Until a frantic call from her former handler’s young daughter puts her back in the game. The man who ran Jessica’s covert missions is missing, along with his black book. But dealing with the crisis her own way proves impossible when detective Sullivan Kincaid makes it clear that she’s got a partner—and that he doesn’t trust her.
  But Sullivan wants her . . . badly. Jessica is a woman hiding secrets and a past as brutal and dirty as his. Now she’s made his job and his life way too complicated. But as they take on a powerful man’s list of enemies, it’s impossible to separate danger from desire. Sullivan knows the bad guys are playing for keeps. But so is he. And he’ll take any risk to keep the woman he loves alive.

Comment: Another book I don't know why I added to my TBR. I see I got interested around 2015 (when I added it to my GR lists) but I can't remember why, I probably saw it mentioned in a blog or site and added it. This is a romantic suspense story so maybe it was because of that.

In this book we have two main characters that have a lot to process before they get their HEA and they need to help a little girl in the meantime.
Jessica Daniels is a young woman with a past she would love to forget but she comes back to action for a special person who helped her get revenge. Now that man is missing and his daughter Iris called Jessica's number so she could help but that means Jessica is back to a live she really wanted to let go of.
Detective Sullivan Kincaid is a police officer dealing with the missing persons' report and he takes the case of looking for Iris' father. He feels Jessica has something to hide but he can't help feeling attracted to her. He doesn't seriously think of it because he also has a past he isn't over yet but at some point, something has to give...

This story started a bit confusing and it's not such a big story so I felt a little apprehensive about it.
I saw my edition is actually a re-issue of an original publication of 1996 and after knowing this fact I saw some details looked rather dated but not to the point it would interfere with the plot's understanding. Still, it might explain the style a bit.

This is mainly a thriller story so the main focus is the steps taken to find Iris' father but alike many contemporary romantic thrillers from the 90s, the romance content feels like a requirement in a sort of adventure scenario where the characters are forced to interact and connect in a very obvious way. I don't really mind these tactics, whether they are obvious or not, but in this case it was a bit difficult to sympathize with the two characters because in my opinion they were both over characterized but then the plot didn't follow the same "amount" of complexity. This means that, for me, the characters had a difficult background, their personalities were complex but the story was not so all those things about them felt rather overkill.

Jessica, for instance, has lost a twin sister and she hasn't really gotten over it which is understandable but then her life went towards a path I wouldn't expect, which caused her to be more and more isolated from dealing with those feelings of loss. There is more going on but I think we didn't have enough page time to really know her nor for her personalty layers to be fully flashed out. I got the feeling she was too complicated for this story.
Sullivan also had some bad situations happening to him in his childhood and emotionally that was draining for him as a grown up. His attraction to Jessica is a step to being a different man but again, his emotional baggage just didn't match the plot's developments so their relationship might have been an adrenaline rush but kind of hard to imagine it could be stable enough for them to hold on to.
Interestingly, the epilogue is the complete opposite of the story's tone and vibe which makes it look so out of place. Sweet but oddly unbelievable to imagine. Still, a HEA is always positive somehow.

For a first attempt, I can't say there aren't enough elements to make this an absorbing read but the general idea wasn't as well done as it could. Perhaps some selection of details could have ben useful.
Grade: 6/10

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