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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Guest Review: Reckless by Allison Brennan

I must confess that I’m generally not a big fan of novellas—especially in romance. While I recognize and admire the incredible amount of skill it takes to write a complete story with a plot and character development in a few thousand words, I generally finish these stories with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. And in romance novellas, I usually find the development of the hero and heroine’s relationship from “I barely know you” to “you’re the love of my life and I can’t live without you” incredibly rushed and unrealistic given the time frame.

But when Allison Brennan announced that she would be releasing a digital-only story in her incredibly successful (and deservedly so!) Lucy Kincaid series during the wait time between last October’s STALKED (the best in the series yet) and this June’s STOLEN, I was stoked to read it. Brennan is a master of dark romantic suspense and edgy romantic thrillers, writing both bone-chillingly depraved villains and the good guys who hunt and thwart them with equal depth of characterization, skill, and aplomb. Not for the faint of heart or for any reader uncomfortable with hard-hitting topics and the violence humans are capable of inflicting on each other, the Lucy Kincaid series is gritty and raw and the epitome of well-written dark romantic suspense. Lucy is the type of heroine I love to read about: rebuilding her life after a brutal assault whilst in high school, she is smart, tough, with an unfailing sense of right and wrong that often drives her to bend the rules, and the right amount of emotional baggage to make her a multi-layered, complex character that can carry her own series. Cyber-investigator extraordinaire Sean Rogan is her romantic counterpoint: laid-back, almost lackadaisical, with hints of a wild past and a distrust of authority, and a protective streak a mile wide when it comes to Lucy. He’s almost too perfect—seriously, there’s nothing the man can’t do!—but he works perfectly for Lucy, balancing out her darkness and bringing her outside of herself. When it comes to a multi-book series featuring the same couple, both the hero and heroine must grow individually and as a couple with each new book, and watching that growth is one of the most satisfying aspects of reading. Brennan manages it with Lucy and Sean almost as well as J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts does with Eve and Roarke in the IN DEATH books.

RECKLESS, the latest instalment in the series after 5 full-length novels, sees kickass heroine and FBI New Agent in Training Lucy Kincaid and her P.I. boyfriend Sean Rogan camping in the mountains during a much-needed weekend off together. Nothing is ever simple with these two, who manage to find trouble wherever they go, so their romantic getaway quickly turns into much more. Brennan manages to pack an incredible amount in under 100 pages, with a fast-paced plot that grabs you from page one and keeps you holding on for the ride until the very end, and Brennan’s trademark tight, crisp writing. With a relationship developed over the 5 previous books, the focus of this novella is more on the suspense than the romance, but we still get glimpses of the chemistry that makes Sean & Lucy such a compelling couple to read. Fans of the series will surely enjoy this short but enjoyable addition—and appreciate the humour in Sean and Lucy’s inability to go away for a holiday without murder and mayhem—but Brennan includes enough background information (without major spoilers) that it can be read as a standalone without feeling completely lost. Lucy Kincaid neophytes beware: because this is a novella featuring an established couple, the romance arc isn’t the same as in more traditional strangers-to-lovers romance novellas. If you’re looking for that traditional arc heavy on the romance, look elsewhere; but if you like your suspense with a dash of romance, you can’t do much better than an author who does short- and long-form romantic writing so well. I cannot wait until STOLEN (Sean’s story) in June, and if you like your romantic suspense dark and of the depraved-serial-killer variety, I cannot recommend this series (or any Allison Brennan book) enough!

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |


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