Lone Defender


Title: Lone Defender
Series: Heroes for Hire
Author: Shirlee McCoy
Publisher: Love Inspired
Published: September 6, 2011
Pages: 224


Private investigator Skylar Grady goes to Cedar Creek, Arizona to find a deadbeat dad behind on child support payments. She soon finds out that this “simple” case isn’t so simple when she finds herself abandoned in the Arizona desert. Now, along with trying to find out why someone wants her dead, she also must try to get out of the hot seemingly endless desert alive. Sounds easy enough.

After six days of tracking, former patrol agent Jonas Sampson finds Skylar near death and weak. Hours after finding her he’s thrust into a life or death situation and he’s determined to get them both out alive. After making it out of the desert alive, Jonas is determined to find who’s responsible for the attempted murder and to get Skylar to go home, well maybe one of two.

Skylar refuses to go home and is just as determined to find her almost killer. They feel an attraction for each other and being thrust together doesn’t help that attraction. They need to combat murderers, complacent sheriffs, and a growing attraction that neither of them really want or need. With a determination to find out who wants them dead and come out alive, they search for clues despite the odds and the “help” from the local police.

Will Jonas and Skylar ever get together or will past fears keep them from each other? Will they find out who wants them dead before they succeed or will they end up six feet under without an idea who killed them? If they get together will Skylar and Jonas’s attraction wane after the excitement fades or will it get stronger with time?

I usually read a book to be transported to a new place and hopefully a new climate. Much to my disappointment, this book was set in my home state and offered me no escape from the temperature or climate. Despite my disappointment, I gave this book the benefit of the doubt and tried to really enjoy it. What I found surprised me a little.

Thankfully, the author didn’t really keep the story focused on or in the desert. However, her descriptions of the hot, dry climate is really good. She describes it realistically and doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to how deadly it can be, guns and hitmen no included. In fact, the descriptions in the whole book is fantastic. Her description greatly help this book.

The suspense is typical for a novella and one that can be figured out by even the newest suspense readers. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to figure out who wants the characters dead, but surprisingly it’s not easy to figure out the motive behind it. That alone keeps you guessing and adds a little twist to an otherwise lackluster suspense.

The romance is also typical of a book this size. The characters feel a mutual attraction that the author unfortunately doesn’t really touch on very much. It also has that sudden declaration of love that leaves both the reader and the characters shocked. The romance seems stiff and kind of cookie-cutter for the genre and size of the book.

Starting any book this size, you honestly don’t expect much from them. You expect a rushed storyline with a quick romance that is easy to read in a day or two and most of the time, you get what you expect. Though I don’t love the suspense imprint of Love Inspired, I also don’t hate them. They give a quick suspense fix when I want to read one but not an entire book to get it. They have their pluses but don’t go looking for a full novel quality book in these little guys.

Overall, this book is good for a quick suspense fix but not full novel quality. I recommend this from someone who loves these kinds of books or someone who’s starting out in this genre. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary ebook of this book from the publisher through the netgalley program. All opinions expressed are my own.*


Dying to Read


Title: Dying to Read
Author: Lorena McCourtney
Series: Cate Kinkaid Files
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 1, 2012
Pages: 320


Cate Kinkaid’s life is well, floundering. Her social life, career, and haircut are all a mess. When she becomes unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, just until she can find a “real” job. With no experience, she begins to realize that investigative work is a little bit harder than she realized and she can’t wait to find a job she actually knows how to do.

Her first assignment is simple, determine whether a particular woman lives at a particular address. When she reaches the old, dark Victorian mansion, she’s greeted by an angry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body that held all the answers. Now her “simple” PI job is turning into a nightmare. Her uncle assured her that there was no excitement and nothing like the television, but with this job, Cate doesn’t really believe him.

Now Cate must traverse a boatload of suspects, finding her client, and trying to figure out the murder. Also, add the fact that there is a handsome man who wants to be in her life and Cate feels like a kite with no string. Care feels lost and out of control not to mention, she has no idea what she’s doing.

How is Cate going to solve a murder when she can’t even find her client? Is she going to be able to solve the murder or will she die not knowing who is the murderer? Will she open up her heart to love or will she let past experiences close her heart? Will Cate continue her search for a “real” job or will she find that enjoys being a PI?

This book surprised me in many ways. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, nor did I expect to not guess the killer. Thankfully, I was surprised on both accounts and I ended up enjoying the beginning and ending and every part in between. Lorena McCourtney was able to capture my attention and keep me interested until the very end.

However, there did seem to be a lot of characters, and by a lot I mean too much. It was character after character that was on the edge of being hard to remember who was who. Not too mention, that almost every character was a suspect, which was great for throwing people off the scent of the murderer, but horrible for a manageable number of characters.

Another thing that I didn’t like, was the senseless romance. Her love interest came in handy for rescues and Internet searches, but other than that, the romance seemed pretty pointless. However, I do like how the author handled it. She tried to make the romance realistic and in the background, which I appreciate, and I look forward to seeing their relationship progress as the books continue, but I’m still not totally sure that it was a necessary part to add to the book.

The one thing that I really liked about this book was the fact that Cate had no idea what she is doing and only knows what she’s seen on TV, which isn’t much. It added some comedy to the book to see her inexperience, not to mention, some of the situations she gets into trying to find and help her client.

Lorena McCourtney’s book isn’t perfect, but it is an enjoyable read that’ll keep you hooked until the very last page. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author and I will definitely read every book in this series that I can get my hands on. This book got me hooked and I can’t wait to see what trouble Cate’s going to get into next.

Overall, this book is a great read but expect a lot of characters. I recommend this to anyone looking for a mystery that’s difficult to solve or anyone who just wants a good mystery. I give it’s book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*