"Cold Midnight," Joyce Lamb

Pros: Great mystery & suspense
Cons: Romance feels forced
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Ten years ago, Kylie McKay’s rising tennis career—and her knee—were shattered by a brutal attack. The culprits were never found, and she fled town and the people she loved. Now she’s back to rebuild her life, but someone is vandalizing her construction site, and it just might be connected to her attack. Detective Chase Manning loved Kylie in high school, but he never forgave her for running away. Now he’s determined to protect her, find her attackers, and win back her heart.

 

I loved the suspense/thriller aspects of Joyce Lamb’s Cold Midnight. The utter brutality of Kylie’s attack immediately elicits the reader’s sympathy, and the idea that after ten years her horror might not be over is exactly the kind of mystery that begs to be solved! Chase is absolutely determined to finally close this cold case, and it seems that the return of Kylie’s attackers is just what he needs, as horrible as that seems. There are plenty of red herrings in this mess to keep you guessing until the end, and when you figure out whodunnit, it’ll only add to the tension.

Unfortunately, the romance didn’t measure up to the suspense, nor did some of the other character aspects of the book. There are a couple of side characters who show up early on and then vanish except for one or two tiny appearances later on, which felt odd. Kylie’s tightly-controlled and closed-off emotions might have been realistic given her circumstances, but they were drawn out through SO many details and scenes that they got seriously old. It also seemed to be used solely as an excuse to allow Chase to be sexually/romantically pushy and bruising, treating Kaylie’s “no” as “yes” because he believed it was for her own good. Ugh.

As suspense and mystery stories go, I really enjoyed this one. But I just didn’t find the romance particularly engrossing, believable, or enjoyable—if anything it detracted from the rest of the story.

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