JoAnn Ross
2008, Romantic Suspense
Signet, $7.99, 400 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451224795
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

Crossfire is part of JoAnn Rossís High Risk series, but all the books in the series stand alone. Fans of romantic suspense featuring former military men will certainly enjoy this book Ė I know I did.

When a high ranking Army officer is shot in the driveway of his loverís home, one might think a jealous husband. However, the husband was away and the shot looks like that of a trained sniper. When another man is shot right on the campus of the Admiral Somersett Military Academy in Somersett, South Carolina, the local authorities call in the FBI and Special Agent Caitlin Cavanaugh and her partner come in to investigate.

Cait is a local Ė her father used to teach at the ASMA and she knows the territory. She is a bit taken aback when she runs into Quinn McKade and old lover. Quinn served in the SEALs and he was a sniper himself. Now, heís a budding author and currently heís teaching writing at ASMA. When the sniper strikes again, a couple of clues emerge. The sniper is fixated on local television anchor personality Valentine Snow and he seems to have read Quinnís book since he uses some of the methods in it. Cait and Quinn had a one night stand several years ago, but she has sworn off relationships and devoted herself to her work. However, she hasnít gotten over Quinn and since she needs his sniper expertise to work on the case, they spend a lot of time in each otherís company.

Crossfire was a bit slow getting started, but once it did, it moved along very smoothly and kept me turning the pages. I liked all the characters very much, even Valentine Snow and I normally am not fond of reporters as characters. But Valentine was smart and professional and she gets her own happy ending with a local pub owner who has a secret in his past.

Cait and Quinn were a great couple with good chemistry. Cait is very professional, does not do stupid things and generally acts like the competent agent sheís supposed to be. She isnít a supermodel packing heat like some characters Iíve encountered (shudder). Quinn explains the psychology of a good sniper and why some of them suffer from PTSD as it looks like their UNSUB does.

The climax of the book surprised me very much. I had figured out who the sniper was, but at the end of it, Ross threw in a twist that threw me, but it made good sense. Looking back on my reading for 2008, I see I have read a lot of romantic suspense, some good, some bad and some indifferent. JoAnn Ross is one of the good ones, and I can recommend her heartily.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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