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Hot Chemistry, Chilly Suspense

October 15, 2010

As a fan of romantic suspense, I was curious to see how a romantic suspense by a category publisher like Harlequin would measure up. At 218 pages (most full-length rom-suspense are >350 pp.), I could imagine the challenges the author faced in writing a fast-paced yet intricate book in so few pages. However, after finishing Double-Edged Detective, out this month under Harlequin Intrigue, I can say that author Mallory Kane did an excellent job in delivering!

SYNOPSIS: Nicole Beckham barely escaped a killer during a home invasion the year before. With a new city, a new job and a new apartment, Nicole is determined to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start for herself. Detective Ryker Delancey, however, is convinced that whoever tried to kill Nicole is the same person who’s been murdering women around the same time over the last few years – a serial killer. Nicole doesn’t want to believe Ryker, and neither does his boss. When the killer strikes again, this time using the knife he stole from Nicole the year before, the threat against Nicole becomes all too real and Ryker is determined to keep her alive. Spending nearly every waking moment around each other awakens dormant feelings in them both, and in addition to catching a killer, Nicole and Ryker have to figure out if their feelings for each other span beyond the cop/victim relationship.

Kane’s detailed descriptions and suspenseful plot keeps the story moving and readers on the edge of their seat. We are aware of who the murderer is from the beginning, but instead of dampening the climax, insight into the killer’s mind actually makes the story more riveting. In addition, readers are free to devote more attention to the tension building between Ryker and Nic, who are both strong-willed and stubborn, yet also compassionate toward each other. Although Ryker is a detective, he’s not a brute, which is a refreshing change, and Nic is neither TSTL (too stupid to live) nor whiny and dependent.

While there are a few secondary characters mentioned, none are prominent enough to take away from the couple, who take center stage. The only criticism I have, however, is that the reasons keeping Ryker and Nic from committing are somewhat weak and watered down. While it’s a given that the two of them will end up together, a bit more cat-and-mouse chase would have made their reunion more gratifying. Aside from that, Double-Edged Detective is a can’t-put-down read that will have readers both hot from chemistry and chilly from suspense.

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