"Deadly Intent," Kylie Brant

Pros: Fascinating thriller; interesting characters
Cons: As good as these books are, they’re too formulaic after four of them
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Macy Reid, forensic linguist, is an expert on kidnappings and ransom notes. She works as a consultant with Adam Raiker, and this time they’ve been called in not by the local law enforcement, but by the family of a girl who’s been kidnapped. After all, this is the second time she’s been kidnapped, and the first time around Adam was the one who found her. Her parents are hoping for a miracle again. Unfortunately, the kidnappers the first time had reason to keep her alive, as horrible as those reasons were. This time, they’re after money—and people held for ransom don’t always make it out alive.

Macy is teamed with Kellan Burke, an investigator of Raiker’s who just loves getting on her nerves—and who’s very good at it. The two of them couldn’t be more stylistically different; Macy is obsessively neat and orderly, and Kell is a rule-breaker. They also shared a rather intimate night some months ago that both of them have tried, and failed, to forget. All of this just makes the investigation that much more challenging.


 

The Good: Kylie Brant does a wonderful job of establishing tension. Deadly Intent is definitely a page-turner! She also did a skillful job of constantly keeping me uncertain of who was responsible for what. As usual, her characters are strong, individualistic, and three-dimensional, and her couple did have chemistry. If it weren’t for the next part, this book would have gotten a 4.5.

The Bad: After four novels, elements that seemed fresh and interesting at first have become formulaic and frustrating. Brant’s heroines always have some deep-seated trauma in their past that relates to their current case. They always end up clashing, personality-wise, with a handsome man whose help they need on their current case. And of course they have psychology- and forensics-related skills that will make or break the case they’re working on. Some of this an author can get away with, but when the formula is this strong, it beggars belief and starts to feel ridiculous with each additional book—especially in a genre that relies pretty heavily on feeling factual and down-to-earth in how it carries out its plot. Just once I’d like to see one of her heroines come from a halfway-stable background. I’d like to see the man and woman hit it off early on and have something other than a personality clash delay the consummation of their relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy these books. Individually, or taken one or two at a time, they’re great. Unfortunately, since we get small reminders in each book of the previous couples since they all work for Raiker, it just reinforces the ridiculousness of the situation. You’d think the man is deliberately running his workplace as a matchmaking service for traumatized women—which frankly, would be more than a little creepy. It’s primarily the interesting mysteries that keep me reading, as well as the desire to hopefully someday meet the patient saint of a woman who could put up with Raiker.

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