TBR Challenge 2011 – Romantic Suspense

rescueme This month, picking a book for the TBR Challenge wasn’t too difficult for me even if getting a chance to read something that wasn’t a trial brief proved a little more tricky. I figured that if I reached into the TBR of Doom and just grab a book at random, chances are it would be romantic suspense or have some kind of paranormal element to it. Testing out my theory, the first book I pulled ended up being Rescue Me by Christy Reece. As I skimmed the back cover blurb, it sounded like I’d picked up one of the dreaded “special ops” series books. Not that I have anything against hot special ops guys, it’s just that these things are the Regency romps of the romantic suspense world. I’ve read too darn many of them and they keep multiplying like rabbits!

However, just like the Regency romps, there are still creative authors out there who write special ops books worth reading. If Rescue Me was anything to go by, Reece is one of those authors. I’ll freely admit that I wasn’t 100% on board with reading another “damaged heroine meets awesome black ops guy and has an adventure” book and I might have started off muttering things about the TBR Challenge under my breath, but this one stood out. Yes, the heroine is damaged and yes, she is kind of a special snowflake. However, she also manages to be very vulnerable and quite human on occasion. And the hero isn’t as perfect as he looks; that helped as well.

As the book opens, we get a little background on both of the lead characters. Devon Winters is the stereotypical poor little rich girl. Her mother is a truly awful human being who managed to marry a man for money. Fortunately, the man she married is a good man and he has compassion on his stepdaughter. His treatment of Devon and Devon’s hero worship of the man’s godson, Jordan Montgomery, are probably the main things that keep her life from being unrelentingly awful. We meet Devon as a child and then we get to fast forward to Devon at 21. By this point, Jordan is 29 and has spent several years working as a government operative. It’s obvious that this work has taken a lot out of him, but when the now-grown Devon sees him at a ball, she is drawn to him. The two end up spending a night of passion together, which goes horribly awry at the end.

The story then jumps seven more years ahead in time. We learn that Devon disappeared after that terrible night when she was 21, survived horrible trauma, and now she is Eden St. Claire, an operative at Last Chance Rescue(LCR). Eden is both vulnerable and yet a pretty kickass recovery specialist, rescuing women and children who have been kidnapped. LCR sounds a lot like other clandestine organizations in Romancelandia – lots of cool toys, travel to exotic locations, rescuing people from the bad guys while working outside the law a bit. If you read a lot of romantic suspense, you’ve probably heard this stuff before. What makes it special in this case is that the author shows us some real character developement. Eden is not purely an action heroine and even if he starts off a little too good to be true, Jordan shows a rather multifaceted character himself.

Eden and Jordan meet ostensibly because Jordan’s background would make him a natural for the work LCR is doing. In reality, Jordan has approached LCR because he is trying to find Devon. He can’t accept that she simply disappeared seven years ago. Eden’s boss manipulates things so that Eden and Jordan are thrown together. Surprisingly, the two find themselves very attracted to each other even though neither had any intentions of starting a relationship.

Eden and Jordan work together on an international case that uncovers a network of criminals stealing children and selling them around the world. Their story is full of action, and the criminals they work to bring down are truly slimy. Things veer way over the top on occasion, but the author’s style is compelling enough that I found myself lapping it up rather than rolling my eyes. Had I read the book for review, it would get a B+ from me. Having made it through a very challenging series of trials for work and now getting to read a good book has made October end on a good note. I’ll be curious to try the rest of the series. Has anyone else out there read them?

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7 Responses to “TBR Challenge 2011 – Romantic Suspense”

  1. Maria D. says:

    I have never read anything by Christie Reece…sounds kind of interesting but I know what you mean about the romantic suspense thing multiplying…

  2. dick says:

    Yes, I’ve read most of them. I thought the first few were very good. The last couple of them have fallen off. I’ve had “Sweet Revenge” for several weeks, but haven’t got past page 50.

  3. Carrie says:

    I’ve read the first trilogy (beginning with Rescue Me) by Reece and found them to be good, but not great. While individual books differ in quality, overall I’ve preferred the Bodyguard series by Cindy Gerard and the SEAL Team 12 books by Marliss Melton, which all have a similar style and fee as Reece’s books. I’ve only read one book by Stephanie Tyler, who also writes in a similar vein, and thought that book only average as well.

    I think I prefer the non-military based RS, like the books written by Laura Griffin or Pamela Clare.

  4. maggie b. says:

    I tend not to like special ops. I have read a few but just can’t get into them. On the other hand, I love the FBI/Police/Crime solver novels that are the other side of romantic suspense.

    maggie b.

  5. Leigh says:

    I read this one, and it had too much angst and tortured heroine for me.
    I haven’t read any more in the series. However, I know that this type of story appeals to many readers.

    I love reading romantic suspense, but I want it more believable. I think that is why I am enjoy male authors in the suspense genre To them it is about the story, and I don’t feel like I am in the head of the character as much.
    I thought that Susanna Kearsley’s did a great job with Every Secret Thing. Competent heroine, low key romance (meaning they didn’t stop and have sex while running from the bad guys).

  6. JoAnn says:

    I am fairly new to the romantic suspense genre but I cut my teeth on Pamela Clare’s I-Team series which, to my mind, sets a high comparison standard for subsequent series.

    I feel the Reese series is a solid “good”…but not great.

    Am currently reading, and really enjoying, the High Risk Series by JoAnn Ross. Some characters are former special ops but there are FBI agents and local police involved with solving the crimes.

  7. Susan says:

    I am hit or miss on romantic suspsense. I like it gritty, so my favorite author of the genre is Karen Rose, who has received criticism because some of her books aren’t romantic enough. I think they are fabulous, myself.

    I haven’t read any Christy Reece yet, but she’s on my list to try out someday.

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