This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on August 4, 2020
This was insta-blurb love. I hadn’t read the author before, but I do like a good tension-wrought crime-solving duo who have history to stop the far-reaching rot that has made it dangerous to uphold the law in the local police precinct. The sensual romance was a bonus. So in I jumped.
In Deep is book two of the Blackhart Brothers series. I didn’t notice I’d grabbed the second book. Some series of books can be read standalone or out of order no problem. This one leaves the reader on the wrong foot for quite a bit when read out of order because it not only ties in to the first book, Calling on Quinn, but I think some of it must have been running parallel to certain events in that book. So, best to get them in order
A female FBI agent has been deeply embedded in a police force for years to discover just what has gone wrong at a specific precinct. Cops can go bad, but this precinct has way too many bad cops for it to be incidental. Danita Morales (her cover name) can’t seem to break through and get the organization behind the corruption to deal her in even after three years. A one night stand with a hot Irish ex-cop jolts her, but then a struggling case goes dead in the water when her handler disappears though not before warning her that the corruption is more wide-spread and goes higher than she thought and she can trust no one except for him. Two years later, Kevin Blackhart is back in her life and this time he’s not letting her ghost him. He’s going to take on her dark assignment with her and she can only hope that her secrets don’t destroy what they have building between them.
Kevin Blackhart took his career as a cop seriously and hates that corruption and threats drove him and his brothers out to start their own investigation and security agency. He has never forgotten the one night with Danita Morales and when his brother in law and sister are shot, she is right back in his sphere when she suspects his teen nephew of knowing something that could break the case she and Cal had been working on. But, people he loves were hurt and he’s going to have her back whether she wants it or not. He knows she’s got secrets, but he just needs to prove that he will stick it out no matter what.
In Deep is a book that I enjoyed somewhat, but I had some major issues. It will seem I hated this book with a purple passion by the time you’re done with my issues, but the truth is that I was captivated by the author’s writing style and the Blackhart family. I want more of the author and more of the family. Two big things submarined the book for me and at least one isn’t likely to be an issue in other books. I’ll get to those in a bit.
This romantic suspense had a solid set up and I loved the first meet up of Danita and Kevin when he walks into the bar and dares her to dance with him. The Latina music and their dance brings out the sizzling attraction and they have a memorable one time encounter that leaves them both wanting when she ducks back into her case leaving him with nothing for another two years. Danita’s case and the connection to Kevin’s family brings them together once again and I felt the excitement begin that finally things were going to get started now the intro was out of the way.
But, here’s where those two big things I mentioned come into play.
I’ll start with what I’ll call several small, but significant unlikely bits. First, I really was confused how an FBI agent ends up embedded in an investigation which is picture perfect Internal Affairs responsibility- digging out trouble within the cop world is IA’s job. Second, how was it that Danita ended up staying on a case for two years after her handler disappears and how is it that she believes that she can’t contact her agency because there is one- ONE- rotten apple there (according to her handler) so she has to go dark? And, how is it that she goes for five years with no break through with things getting worse and they aren’t trying something else? The FBI just isn’t that incompetent, slow, or hands off. The whole agency would have to be in on the plot from her handler’s boss, her boss, her fellow agents, the finance office who pays her checks on down. No one missed an agent for five years or her handler who must have been another agent? I had so many niggles like this and they just kept coming.
But there’s more.
Danita herself both as an undercover agent and as the romance heroine didn’t work for me. Her ‘I am an island’ attitude was fine when she had a handler and things were kosher. It stopped working when she reaches out to a gutsy, risk-taking cop for help, but she won’t take the help of a licensed investigating team and security experts even if they are already investigating since that cop is their brother in law. Kevin pretty much has it figured out that she’s investigating something in the department and is more than she seems which, again, makes her tedious insistence on her secrets ridiculous. I really hated that she forced him to hide this from his brothers because secrets at this point are just dangerous and only hurt Kevin because it makes the onesidedness of the relationship glaringly obvious. She keeps spouting that she’ll put them in danger when everyone and their dog knows she’s with Kevin and has been seen with Kevin’s family. She keeps saying that he doesn’t know her and she’s afraid it will destroy what they have (she’s playing a cop a role pretty much like her real life not a drug kingpin so what she thinks he’s going to freak about, I have no idea). She spends an awful lot of time in her own head and did little actual investigative work including following up on the biggest piece of the puzzle which she learned about early. She expects full trust, but gives him very little. I really wanted him to put her in the rear view until she figured out her life.
So, I found In Deep a mixed bag. But, like I said earlier, I enjoyed the author’s writing and the overarching series plot, the big Blackhart family, and want to know what comes next. I want to keep going and see if a different book would appeal more. For those who see something of interest, don’t forget to start with Calling on Quinn so you get the best experience.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #135
About the Book
I’ll do anything to protect what’s mine…
The last thing I needed was a call from my old precinct letting me know my knucklehead nephew had been picked up for skipping class. Still, I figured it would be an in-and-out visit. Quick. Simple. But the moment I heard her voice, I should’ve known it would be anything but easy.
I wasn’t expecting the feelings that came roaring back the moment I laid eyes on the saucy detective with the gorgeous smile, but I probably should’ve seen it coming. Our history is one for the books, and it’s a page-scorcher. And now here she is, standing in my way, and I can’t seem to remember why I ever let her leave my side.
It looks like the sparks between me and Detective Danita Moralez are as intense as ever, but she’s also more guarded than before. Two years ago, she walked out of my life because she wasn’t willing to reveal the dangerous truth about her undercover work. This time, she’s not going to get away so easily.
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