Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Crossfire by JoAnn Ross

Dear Ms. Ross:

book review I wanted to like this book.  It promised to be a blend of romance and action featuring a strong female character.   Caitlin Cavanaugh is the  FBI agent in charge of an investigation of a serial sniper in  Somersett, South Carolina.   On the one hand, I liked it better than the last Ross book I read, Blaze (which also featured a strong female lead).   On the other hand, I felt like this book could have been so much stronger because it failed to deliver what the setup promised.

Cait was sent initially to investigate the murder of  Brigadier General John Jacob.   Soon after General Jacob is shot in the head, another individual,  Captain Will Davis,  associated with the local military academy is shot in the head.   Soon the entire city of Sommerset is under siege with random shootings by the same sniper.   Cait seeks out Quinn McKade, former SEAL and current author of a military thriller, for sniper advice.   

Quinn has always had a thing for Cait even though they had only met twice.   First when they were in college and second at her former college classmate’s wedding where the two engaged in a wild night together with Cait running out on him the next morning.   Quinn sees the investigation as an opportunity for him to be together with Cait. I thought Quinn sounded, at times, patronizing.

“Better be careful, sweetheart,” he said. “If you clench your jaw any tighter, you’re going to shatter those pretty white teeth.”
“I’m not your sweetheart. And this entire conversation is inappropriate while innocent people are getting shot. If you want to talk about snipers, I’ll be more than happy to listen. Anything else is off the table.”
Actually, he wouldn’t mind having the luscious FBI special agent on a table.
“You’re a tough cookie, Cait. But okay. Here’s the deal. There’s no way the guy’s just picking sites on a whim.”

I got that Quinn wanted her bad. Unfortunately, his wants took over the book and overshadowed the seriousness of the suspense which was that there was some sniper running around shooting people in the head.   I felt that maybe Quinn should be more concerned about catching the sniper than getting Cait back into bed.   Further, I was surprised that Quinn wasn’t even considered a suspect and ruled out before Cait is spilling all the investigation secrets and hauling him around as her partner.

I was also unhappy with the fact that Cait is not so much an investigator leading a task force to find a sniper but a woman who seems to be outclassed by her faux partner, Quinn (not a member of the FBI nor even in the govenrment anymore). I wasn’t even sure what she did in terms of investigating other than talking to Quinn and running around finding bodies.

The story was propelled by the acts of the sniper. We get POV of the sniper and get to see him pick off total strangers (with very little reasoning ever given).   It is not that the investigation was so stellar.   In fact, the entire investigation was structured so that the reader could be introduced to as many Sommerset hotties as possible from the movie star like coroner to the members of Quinn’s paramilitary organization.   The collective group was so amazingly gorgeous that women nearly fainted being near them.   

Quite a few chapters in the book started with Quinn retelling a particularly harrowing event in his service in Iraq.   Unfortunately, the story is never given any closure. Similarly, there are quite a few plotlines brought up that have no follow through (i.e., the idea that the sniper might be caught on a city camera is brought up as a cliffhanger ending to a chapter and then never again discussed). Details dribbled out inappropriately such as Quinn being deemed the expert in snipers but instead of him providing a key detail it comes from another individual a few days into the investigation.   

Even though Cait resisted Quinn for the sake of ratcheting up the tension and not for any decently articulated reason, the sniper shootings didn’t stop the two of them succumbing to their physical attraction. I think I needed an acknowledgment that there wasn’t anything more that the two of them could do to solve the crime or that they had to take this physical respite in order to move forward. But I never once thought that I wanted either of these two in charge of a task force in my city tracking down serial killers.

I know that RS is a tough balance but in this case, there was too much romance for the story or the romance wasn’t well integrated. Should the two of them really have been worried about working out relationship issues or should they have been spending every minute trying to find a serial killer?

In the end, the case is resolved and the two are living happily ever after, but the story just had a discordant feel to me. C-

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

One Comment

  1. GrowlyCub
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 16:31:00

    I think Ross is another example of authors writing what’s considered ‘hot’. Rom sus is hot, so authors who have no talent in that regard start writing it, because that’s what their editors want.

    Ross has written some beautiful, moving, and intense books.

    Too bad. Another good one bites the dust.

%d bloggers like this: