Catch a Shadow

Patricia Potter
2008, Romantic Suspense
Berkley Sensation, $7.00, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425221199

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

I often bemoan the fact that a book either doesn't pull together a suspense plot or that it lacks something in the romance department when reading romantic suspense. Catch a Shadow is one of those rare books managing to balance the two elements. The romance moves a tad too quickly to be entirely believable, but it's still enjoyable enough that the reader wants to believe in it, and that's the next best thing.

Paramedic Kirke Palmer rushes to the site of a hit-and-run where she finds herself the recipient of the dying man's last request. Rather than delivering the man's note to police and allowing them to find the person for whom it was intended, Kirke holds onto it. The victim had insisted that no police be involved, and Kirke's instincts lead her to honor his wish. It is a decision that will change her life in many ways.

Kirke has no idea how to go about finding the mysterious Mitch Edwards so that she can give him his letter, but she soon learns that she faces grave danger. Mysterious happenings and brushes with death increasingly begin to follow her. The one other constant in her life is Jake Kelly. Kirke knows nothing about Jake save that he also seems interested in the hit-and-run fatality, but Jake always seems to be there when things are happening around her.

Kirke wisely does not allow herself to trust him fully right away. She has enough intelligence to realize that while Jake may be caring, he may also intend to harm her. After all, he has always been around when she is under attack. And yet, she grows first to like, and then to trust, the mysterious new man in her life.

On the other side of things, former Special Forces member Jake Kelly has suffered through betrayals large and small, and has very little left to hope for. He helps Kirke partly out of self-interest, and partly because he realizes she is way out of her element and he does not wish to see her hurt. As he works with Kirke, he finds himself respecting her spirit and gradually falling for her.

The one real flaw in this book comes from something which is also one of its great strengths - the pace. The adventure in this story never lets up, and the suspense plot had me flying through the pages to keep up. The romance is likewise engaging. However, I couldn't help stopping at various points and thinking, "Whoa! Things are going way too fast here." It's not that the development of the romance feels out of place (thankfully, there are none of those "Hey, the villain is right outside the door; let's do the wild thing!" scenes I have come to dread), but whenever the story slowed down enough for me to slip away from its spell, I would realize just how short a time these two had known each other.

Still, I wanted to believe in this couple rather than poke holes in the story. For me, that alone is a sign that the book is worth reading. I breezed right through Catch a Shadow and enjoyed every twist and turn of the way.

-- Lynn Spencer

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