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Monday, July 21, 2014

ARC Review: Cheating Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

I’m a fan of RS authors Adrienne Giordano and Misty Evans individually, so having them collaborate on a series is a treat. After thoroughly enjoying the first book in The Justice Team series, I jumped at the chance to read its follow-up, CHEATING JUSTICE. Who doesn’t love the pairing up of a renegade ex-FBI agent on the lam, a strait-laced FBI SWAT sniper on administrative leave, and an ex-ATF-agent-turned-government-watchdog-blogger on a mission to expose a government cover-up? Genius, and Ms. Giordano and Ms. Evans deliver with compelling characters, a gripping plot, witty dialogue, and searing sexual chemistry.

CHEATING JUSTICE starts off with a bang, with fugitive hero Mitch Monroe—on the run for the past year after assaulting his superior in the FBI for trying to sweep a politically-sensitive case under the rug—clandestinely meeting up with a childhood friend and current presidential aide to get info on the suspicious death of their other best friend, FBI Special Agent Tommy Nusco, during an ATF-FBI gun-running investigation… only to discover his friend murdered and himself the #1 suspect the next morning. That kicks Mitch’s investigation onto what went down to end with Tommy dead and labelled dirty—and how high up the government hierarchy the conspiracy to cover up the case goes—into high gear, and he seeks out one-time fling, former colleague under the same boss he assaulted (and whose career he nearly wrecked), and badass sniper Special Agent Caroline Foster. Initially, Caroline wants nothing to do with Mitch or his career-suicide mission, but classified case files and a dressing down from her superior for trying to access them changes her mind, and the two of them—plus a blogger they pick up along the way—embark on a quest for the truth that gets more complex and surprising with every lead they uncover.

The fast-paced and superbly-written suspense plot drew me in, but what really kept me turning the pages and rooting for the clearing of Tommy’s name were the characters. We met Mitch in the first book, STEALING JUSTICE, and got glimpses of his charm, loyalty, and act-now-think-later personality. The murders of his two closest friends force him out of hiding to investigate—with the FBI after him for murder in addition to insubordination & assault—and right back to the fellow agent he shared an unbelievable night of passion with. One he hoped would be the start of something but that Caroline ran scared from (but has never forgotten) before his Bureau career imploded and nearly incinerated hers. Mitch is an all-around good guy who doesn’t see himself that way and doesn’t let people in, a protector loyal to a fault, and single-minded in his pursuit of the truth and justice for his friends—even at the (potential) cost of his own freedom. The burn-the-book renegade attitude that made him a fugitive in the first place adds an edge to his charm and flirtatious banter… and those T-shirts: Bad Cop never looked so good! It’s refreshing that he’s the one wanting more, being upfront about it, and putting the brakes on something purely physical (again) with Caroline. More importantly, he’s the perfect counterpoint to Caroline’s control-freak and meticulous by-the-book personality, and the push-pull of their relationship and their prior history make for some entertaining banter and situations as Mitch coaxes her over to the dark side. Ms. Giordano and Ms. Evans do an excellent job creating a heroine that is completely kickass—a female sniper!—without compromising her femininity, and watching her finally learn to let go enough to admit her feelings for Mitch was very rewarding.

CHEATING JUSTICE is an excellent continuation of The Justice Team series and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable page-turning read. Looking forward to seeing what these talented authors have in store next for the motley Justice Team crew!

**ARC provided by Authors**

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  1. I'm looking forwarding to reading this book. Especially since each other took on either the hero or heroine to write!!!!