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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ARC Review: Dancing with Detective Danger by Lynn Crandall

I’ve been on a big dark romantic suspense reading binge lately, so I was looking forward to reading some RS-lite: a couple of guns, a pinch of danger, and a hot cop, but nary a serial killer or a whiff of human trafficking. Crimson Romance author Lynn Crandall’s debut, DANCING WITH DETECTIVE DANGER, seemed to fit the bill: a reunion romance with a touch of mystery and the inherent angst and drama of second-chance stories. While I had issues with the heroine and her motivations, it was an enjoyable enough, quick read written in an easy-to-read style that was a nice change of pace from my recent darker reads.

Heroine Sterling Aegar is a former police officer that left the force and the love of her life, Detective Ben Kirby, after the deaths of her father and brother-in-law in the line of duty for a “safer” life as a private investigator. As cops, she and Ben relished the adrenaline rush of living on the edge… but having grown up witnessing her mother’s grief as a cop’s widow and seeing the devastation of losing a husband on her sister’s life, Sterling decides she’s not willing to risk her heart like that and leaves Ben and the police department behind. That conviction that loving Ben will inevitably lead to heartbreak WHEN (not if) he dies in the line of duty and her refusal to risk it even though she is clearly still in love with him is an integral part of Sterling’s character and the source of the majority of the emotional conflict in the novel. Personally, that unwavering conviction and the way she turns off her emotions whenever Ben gets close made me unable to really connect with—or like—Sterling as a character, and I repeatedly found myself wanting to shake some sense into her. Especially since Ben is such a delightful hero, if perhaps a bit condescending about PIs not being ‘real’ investigators. In the two years since the breakup, Ben has curbed his reckless undercover cop ways and carries the guilt of his partner’s career-ending injury, which gives him his share of angst. He’s still desperately in love with Sterling and is willing to lay it all on the line and do anything to get her back, which made for an interesting dynamic since I didn’t think she was really worth the trouble! From the moment the two of them lay eyes on each other after two years when Sterling discovers a dead body on an infidelity case, the chemistry between them sizzles and makes for some delightfully passionate encounters.

The fast-moving (if at times overly ambitious) plot boasts plenty of action and twists written in a tight, approachable style that will keep you turning the pages to uncover the mystery and watch the villains get their comeuppance. The tragedy of Sterling’s sister Lacey’s loss of her cop husband Nick adds another layer of emotion and complexity and results in feel-good ‘love conquers all’ vibes that are a great counterpoint to Sterling’s fears, but I personally could have done without the Patrick Swayze & Demi Moore in ‘Ghost’ aspect of it, which I found detracted from the poignancy.

Overall, DANCING WITH DETECTIVE DANGER has all the elements of a good light romantic suspense story: an interesting mystery with plenty of twists, the right length to balance sufficient story and character development with a quick pace that allows it to be read in one sitting, a loveable hero, and enough heat to keep things interesting. My inability to truly connect with the heroine detracted from my enjoyment of the novel, but Lynn Crandall is an author I will be keeping my eye on.

**ARC provided by Tasty Book Tours**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |


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