Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
Kara Chandler is at her wits' end. Someone is sending her gifts, taunting her with messages of what she's supposedly done...But when the creep kills the policeman she's turned to for help and threatens her son, Kara knows she needs to take drastic measures. Enter Luke Varon, a hitman for a drug cartel, Kara had unsuccessfully prosecuted for murder. He has the resources to make her and her son disappear...But he's not who he appears to be.
This wasn't as strong as its predecessor which was a bit disappointing, since I've loved Luke, Nick's (hero from the previous book) brother, from the moment he appeared on the scene. Pity, he wasn't as "alive" and "real" in his own book. I just didn't connect with him—no matter what persona he chose to portray. He didn't seem believable as a hitman (maybe because I knew he wasn't really one), and he seemed even less so as the good guy. I guess he was somewhere in between, in that gray area that could've worked wonderfully, but was somewhat unexplored. He wasn't ambiguous, rather he was just bland.
The heroine unfortunately didn't work any better for me. She was rather trusting, and ready to hire a criminal and murdered and then more than willing to follow his every lead, for a prosecutor, no matter how dire her circumstances were. And then, despite what she knew about the guy, she ended up hoping he was actually a good guy. Her hunch proved right, but still. The whole thing needed quite a lot of belief to be suspended.
And in the end, Luke didn't even have to explain much about anything. She just believed him. What if he was lying? What if he was leading her on a merry chase?
I guess what was really "off-putting" with this story was that it was the complete opposite of the first book in the series. While everything the characters in the first book did, whatever they said, however they acted and reasoned, it was believable, realistic. It was something anyone of us could or would do in such circumstances. (Almost) everything the characters did in this one, whatever they said, however they acted and reasoned, was anything but believable and realistic.
Even the villain was a bit over the top. Okay, I got the need for revenge, but the entire plot of how he got to there, the guest list, the reenactment...If was a tad too far-fetched for me. I love a decently twisted villain, but this one had a twist or two too many for my taste. And I never glimpsed any explanation of his skills (or maybe I just wasn't paying attention).
The only saving grace was the secondary aspects, I guess. The investigation into Kara's "stalker" and the progression of the investigation. Yes, the procedural part of the story is what worked very well for me, the rest not so much.