This was an ‘I love this author’s work and will read anything she publishes’ combined with ‘wow, she wrote a romantic suspense and I have to try that’. So yes, I might have been rarin’ to go when it came to Keep Her Safe.
Keep Her Safe is a standalone and, as I pointed out, its a romantic suspense. I had no trouble believing that this author could write it since she’s put some real breath-stealing twists in many of her earlier stories and she can develop a character so the reader knows them intimately. The book introduces two characters- Noah and Gracie. They are the children of two cops who had a falling out. Both cops are now dead- one to murder fourteen years before while supposedly being involved in a drug deal gone bad and the other one killing herself. Austin Police Chief committing suicide after hinting strongly at cover ups is what sets the ball rolling in this one.
Of course, a cover up, dirty cops, murder, and a suicide after confessing some startling statements had me riveted from the beginning. But I think Noah and Gracie’s road to the truth was more compelling than the actual mystery- which was very clever and twisting.
Noah was an incredible hero. Not because he’s handsome, charming, skilled, or anything that tangible. Though, yeah, he’s all those things. Don’t worry, he’s not too perfect to be believed. He’s a guy who goes through fire in this book. He has so many big, crucial choices to make. He was smart enough to hesitate and think about what he was doing and he’s in way over his head. He lies a few times by omission, mostly to give himself time to think through all the new disturbing things he’s learning even while he is hurt and grieving over his mom’s death and the way things are spinning out of control. He respected the heck out of two men and his mom. All three are pillars for him- and one dies looking corrupt, the second commits suicide after hinting she’s corrupt, and the third wants him to just leave it all alone. He’s on his own when he starts making decisions to do the right thing by Gracie and her mom, Dina. He keeps doing the right thing even when it nearly kills him and destroys everything he believed. Gah, I just cherished and loved this young guy to pieces.
Gracie, the daughter of a cop accused of being dirty, has lived a hardscrabble life as a result. Her mom’s a heroin addict after going to pieces following her husband’s death and never believing he was guilty, they live in an old rundown trailer with drug deals and violence going on within sight, and her life is going nowhere. She doesn’t even have it in her to dream of anything different or a future. Then Noah comes into her life and does all the right stuff. She treats him awfully and is suspicious of his every word because he’s just too good to be true. And she can tell he’s struggling with something he knows even after he explains that he’s just fulfilling his mom’s last wish. Grace doesn’t want someone’s guilty help; she wants the truth and she’s going to get it come hell or high water even if it destroys everything because she’s waited long enough for justice to come do, but she finds herself looking to Noah to help and be that sterling guy she can barely believe is for real.
The dynamics between this pair was something else. Noah keeps his cool in the face of Gracie’s fire and fury. She is a loose cannon, unapologetically, at that. She pushes Noah hard and rushes in and shoves questions and accusations in everyone’s faces even when its dangerous and someone’s already killed to keep their secrets safe. Subtle she is not and she wasn’t someone I could love, truth be told, because of how she bulldozed through everything even Noah’s grief and pain when she could have given him a minute now and then- its a fourteen year old case. I could respect where she’s coming from and could respect her resilience and even like her to a certain extent. Noah was the first person to treat her well and he stands beside her even though each new piece of evidence they uncover is a piercing and damning truth of his own mother’s culpability. I felt Gracie ran roughshod over things, but I had no difficulty enjoying how the author wrote her character. She’s just what I would have expected after the hard life she led and yet she’s good and feels compassion for Noah even if her actions at times say differently. They are such opposites and they balance each other.
A side character that really had me intrigued was FBI agent, Klein. What a wily and colorful character. Didn’t blame Noah for wanting to punch him; he has that affect when he’s riling folks up. And while I’m on the subject of side characters, Cyclops the stray dog was a hoot. He was a great character and had his own moments of heroics.
I haven’t said much about the suspense side and I won’t. It’s got some great twists and surprises and that is the treat in this otherwise darker, heavier story. Gracie and Noah piece things together and suss out what really went down fourteen years before and what happened in the present. I caught on to the truth and the culprits easily, but there are still some ‘whoa Nelly’ twists that I loved.
In summary, this was abso-fab and I was riveted. I did not want to set my book aside when I had other things to do. I was captured by the heart of this story and the characters. I can’t wait to see what comes next from this author and I hope its more romantic suspense. Do yourself a solid and give this book a go if you like romantic suspense.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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