Dear Ms. Etherington:
This story had a charming couple – Pollyanna from Texas and the hard bitten detective whose father did time but the plot of the book surrounded the mystery of how the hero, Devin Antonio, was framed for the assault of a New York citizen.
This must be the third or fourth book in a series and I hadn’t read the previous three (nor did I feel compelled to read the others when I was finished). Calla Tucker and Devin Antonio had a background and connection that had built prior to the start of the story. Devin refers to Calla and her two friends as the Robin Hood gang and recalls previous escapades in which they all met and asked him for assistance. I presume they steal from the wealthy and give to the poor? I felt, at times, as if I had walked in during the middle of a movie and had missed important parts of the story.
Calla is a relentless pursuer of Detective Antonio who admittedly does not have a perfect record, making him more susceptible to suspicion of adverse behavior 0r at least that is what the narrative tries to sell us. His past bad behavior was to become involved in a witness which is not exactly the same thing as punching some random citizen. I suppose both involve bad judgment but loose sexual morals aren’t hand in hand with police brutality. Based on his checkered past, he feels he is not worth Calla whose purity of person is like a beacon to Devon.
We know of Devon’s lack of self worth because he voices this thought about twice every chapter, often closing each chapter with the same dour note. I pictured Devin walking around with a perpetual hangdog expression.
There is cute but not overly witty dialogue. It is nice to see a female pursuer and Devin, for all his eeyore behavior, is sweet. Calla is whipsmart, quick to put facts together (except for the obvious one) and a kind of person who won’t take no for an answer. I liked the female friendship between Calla and the others. However, the romance is quite subdued and there appeared to be almost no sexual tension between the characters. Perhaps Devon’s flat aspect contributed to that; he’s written with an almost depressed demeanor.
Morover, I was surprised at how bland the love scenes were given that Blaze is suppposed to be on the hotter end of the romance spectrum. I’d hate for a reader to pick up this Blaze (or any of the others I read for the month of September) hoping for a hot read. It is not. There was one two page love scene and remainder were essentially fade to black. Maybe that was for the best given the lack of chemistry between the two.
I was a bit frustrated that no one actually figured it out who the villain was for the longest time or that the IAD seemed so determined to criminalize the behavior of one of their own. I frowned on the collective crew with each erroneous assumption and misstep, particularly Calla who seemed so smart. While the story was sweet, it had no real substance and Devon the downer wasn’t exactly a person with whom I enjoyed spending time. C