Pros: Wonderful mystery; intense romance; fantastic characters
Rating: 5 out of 5
The best-laid plans of mice and reviewers… That is to say, I fully intended to write a review yesterday. However, the arrival of a copy of Leslie Parrish’s Black at Heart, the final novel in her Black CATs trilogy, triggered a full day of reading from which I couldn’t emerge until I reached the end. I loved the first two books in the series, Fade to Black and Pitch Black, and couldn’t wait to find out where things went next. Now I just hope we get to see more books about this team of FBI agents!
Wyatt Blackstone is in charge of the Cyber Action Team at the FBI, a team of agents tasked with solving internet-related murders. He’s smart, smooth, handsome, and a great leader—but he has a past that keeps catching up with him. He turned in some of his fellow agents for corruption, and ever since then he’s been caught between the folks who laud his actions and those who hate him. Add to that a childhood that’s left him cold and isolated, and while he cares deeply about his team, he’s never gotten particularly close to them—with one exception. The death of agent Lily Fletcher hit him so very hard. She was a beloved member of his team, obsessed with tracking down a pedophile, and she was killed during another department’s botched operation. The pervert who killed her was never caught.
Now Wyatt has heard about a new string of murders, with clues that seem to point back to Lily. The victims are all pedophiles, and the names of the “children” used to lure them are the names of Lily’s deceased family members.
Black at Heart has a different focus than the first two books. Those were more serialized, with both romance plots and serial killer plots that start fresh. The third novel in the series is definitely the capper on a trilogy, bringing us a relationship for Wyatt—a character we’ve only touched the surface of before now—and closure for the hunt for “lovesprettyboys,” the pedophile that appeared in the very first novel.
Both of these things are carried out a bit differently than in Fade to Black and Pitch Black. Wyatt is very different from his team members, and a stereotypical relationship isn’t in the cards for him. He’s always kept himself distant from others, and it’s going to be difficult for him to let go and accept someone into his life.
As for the serial killer plot, Leslie certainly fulfills her reputation (well, okay, her reputation with me, since the series comes out starting next month) for intelligent plotting, surprises, and wonderful complications! I was constantly surprised at the turns the plot took: who was behind what, who’s carrying out “the Lily murders,” and more. And even if I’d somehow managed to predict everything, I think there still would have been enough action and excitement to keep me occupied and more than happy! As always, I never felt like Leslie cheated, as is a worry in mysteries; all of the plot developments made sense in hindsight.
I don’t want to go into much about Wyatt for fear of plot spoilers, but suffice it to say that I think readers of the series won’t be disappointed by the romance at all! It’s both sweet and hot, and the slow buildup to the adult material makes it all the spicier for the wait. We don’t see quite as much of the rest of the team this time, but they make enough of an appearance to satisfy.
If you enjoy romances and mystery/thriller novels, I can’t recommend Leslie Parrish’s “Black CAT” trilogy highly enough!