Reviewed: April 19, 2012
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Kathleen Turner, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 311 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for review. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
The author has my permission to use parts of this review in promotional and/or informational capacity including but not limited to the book's synopsis blurb both on the book and at various online retailers.
When Kathleen Turner, office runner for the prestigious Indianapolis law firm of Kirk & Trent, started dating the boss about six weeks ago, she knew the risks and accepted the dangers. Senior partner Blane Kirk is known for being a notorious player, a man who is like the Baskin Robbins of serial dating - with a different flavor every month. While there is no doubt Kathleen has been having some of the happiest times in her life, especially as Christmas approaches, she has always accepted that there's a termination date on their relationship.
She just didn't expect the sort of termination that comes with an obituary notice.
A festive afternoon of Christmas tree shopping turns threatening when gunshots ring out and Kathleen and Blane find themselves under fire. Confused and alarmed, they make it home alive, but it doesn't take long for Kathleen to find out that her boyfriend has been keeping several secrets from her. The deadly kind.
Blane's current case is drawing heated debate and stirring the pot of public fury, and Kathleen is horrified about the threats - and worse - that are being lobbed at him. A former Navy SEAL stands accused of the wrongful death of an unarmed American citizen during a military operation overseas. The case has far-reaching political and military implications and someone with a lot of money and even more clout wants Blane to lose.
Dead bodies start piling up, people connected to the defense being silenced forever, and it becomes painfully clear that disappearing witnesses and coerced testimony are no longer enough for whoever is intent on guaranteeing the Navy SEAL gets convicted. Kathleen races to track down who is taking shots at Blane and meddling in his case, but the killer has decided to move straight to an endgame that guarantees Blane suffers horribly as he falls. By painting a target on Kathleen's forehead...and pulling the trigger.
Before I go any further, I want to say that this isn't typical review for me. It can't be. After reading and reviewing No Turning Back, I was contacted by the author with a request to lend her a hand. I read this book (more than once) during the editing process, offered opinions, a few suggestions, and if I happened to notice any plot conflicts or holes, I let her know. The salient point is that I got to know this book and its author very well while I was doing that, and I even (to my surprised delight) had an effect on the final product in one or two places. Because of that, I don't think a normal review is possible. It feels too much like a conflict of interest or something similar. Instead I tried to stick to those aspects of the book, the story, and the characters that I had no direct hand in.
Snow is back with her second installment of the Kathleen Turner series. The first book, No Turning Back, broke my brain a little. I liked it despite my rabid dislike of emotional angst, romantic triangles, and weak, damsel-in-distress heroines. Well guess what, I'm no fonder now than I was then of the angst, and I still have no affection for romantic triangles, and Turn to Me has both. In fact, there's even more angst in this one and the triangle gets even more complicated. Also in this one, the external plot conflict was slightly less compelling in concept to me than that in the first book.
That being said, I still prefer this book over its predecessor. There are lots of reasons for that, and each one of those reasons is a credit to the characters, characters I've completely fallen in love with - even if I don't always like them. The most notable improvement, I think, was with Kathleen, who made me want to strangle her more than once in the first book for so very many reasons.
There were far fewer reasons in this one, and I couldn't be happier about that. In fact, the only thing that really bugs me about her in this book is that she's under the impression she's optimistic in nature and all the evidence points to the contrary. She's so neurotic about the impending doom of her relationship with Blane that I wanted to smack her more than once.
On the other hand, I was thrilled to see her stand up for herself a bit and call Blane on a couple of really important points that he needed to wake up to.
The dark duo of crime and punishment, brothers Blane and Kade, are back in high form in this book. All three characters get more character development in this, but it's Kade's history and character that garners the most (which, let me assure you, is no hardship). Several of the scenes between him and Kathleen reached inside and gripped my guts hard, making my heart bleed for the man.
Of course I have my hopes for the relationship resolutions (and Snow can stop beating me to death with that angst stick any time now - seriously!). I'm currently Team Blane, but I have to admit, I have some reservations about him after this book and Kade gained some major ground with me. Major ground. He was my favorite character in this one.
Blane, on the other hand, didn't fare too well in this one. I swear, the guy did everything but open a vein for Kathleen to prove his commitment to her and to their relationship, but she just refuses to see it. She refuses to see that he so obviously loves her. Unfortunately, it's also obvious that he doesn't totally respect her as an equal - and that's something she does see.
In truth, she's not Blane's equal. She's twenty-four and young with it, even after everything she's lived through in two books. After the events in this book, though, she may finally be starting on her way there. Whether she'll still want Blane by the time she makes it is anyone's guess.
While I wasn't as connected to the external plot conflict concept as I was to that in the first book, the action and suspense in this one was non-stop and wickedly intense. Far more so than in No Turning Back. There were many awesome edge-of-your-seat moments. And it's just as diabolically shifty and twisty plot-wise as the first book. Also, Kathleen's actions and decision-making are more organic to who she is as a character, and they're better supported by logic and circumstance than they were in the previous book.
On a side note, there's something else I want to address. I thought I had respect for authors and the work required to put out a solid product before I started with this book. I thought I had the faintest idea what went into it.
Wow, was I wrong. I was clueless about just how much work, stress, and unrelenting reading/rereading/rereading again went on in just the editing process alone. A conscientious author could easily drive herself nuts polishing a book they've already spent months writing. Seeing it first hand, being in any way a part of it, raised my previous level of respect straight to the stratosphere. And independent authors who have to rely on friends and random strangers with OCD issues and an obscene attention to detail have an even harder road. I'll never forget that.
Bottom line time. I liked this book more than the first. More than a four star rating would indicate, honestly, but not quite to the level of four and a half. There were a few technical issues I didn't mention in the review, and for all that the story is strong and the characters have a place in my heart, I truly do hate (loathe) a ton of emotional angst (which was ratcheted up in this one) and romantic triangles (and the one between Blane, Kat, and Kade is even more intense). The characters, though, are memorable. They live and breathe on the pages. Their lives have become personal and real to me, and they hit my emotions even harder for all that. I enjoyed them...and their story. So very much.
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