Monday, March 3, 2014

ARC Review: The Prosecutor by Adrienne Giordano

I admit it: I’ve spent many years (okay, at least a decade) snubbing category romances because, as a fairly fast reader, a book shorter than 300 pages never felt sufficiently meaty. Now that life gets in the way of my reading, I’ve developed a love affair with Harlequin’s suspense line of category romances: Intrigue for a larger dose of suspense layered over romance and Romantic Suspense for that extra shot of romance to go with the pulse-pounding suspense. These two lines have become my romance crack: short enough that I can read them over a couple of visits to the gym or during my (rare) down time, but substantial enough to deliver a satisfying and complete story. And it doesn’t hurt that some of my favourite long-form romantic suspense authors also publish with these lines: more of what I love all around! That was the case with Adrienne Giordano’s THE PROSECUTOR: having thoroughly enjoyed her Private Protectors and Justice Team novels, I jumped at the chance to read her first Harlequin Intrigue—and was rewarded with a page-turner that has it all: murder, corruption, a swoon-worthy hero, a kickass heroine, and hilarious sibling banter.

THE PROSECUTOR starts off with rising Chicago Assistant State’s Attorney Zac Hennings being handed a potentially career-making case: ensuring the convicted murderer of a Chicago cop’s daughter remains behind bars in the face of new evidence. Enter first-year law student and sister of said convicted murderer Emma Sinclair, who’s made it her life’s mission to prove her brother’s innocence and hold her crumbling world together. One face-to-face meeting in Zac’s office and both he and Emma are sunk—and what's more rife with drama and angst than falling for the prosecutor in your brother’s murder case or sleeping with the sister of the man you’re tasked with keeping locked up? I loved Zac and Emma together and how they perfectly complemented each other: the chaos of her life to the orderliness of his and his willingness to share any burden to her aching aloneness. Watching them struggle with what they should do (stay away from each other) and what they want to do (jump each other any chance they get) is equal parts hilarious and poignant, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their relationship evolve and rooting for their HEA—even with the accelerated pace of the category length and the backseat the romance takes to the suspense plot.

Much of my enjoyment of Zac and Emma as a couple stems from liking them so much individually. Ms. Giordano does an excellent job portraying Emma as an incredibly strong woman who’s taken entirely too many knocks in life and gotten back up every time in a way that inspires genuine empathy without overdoing it and making her unrealistic. Her incredible drive is a defence mechanism against endless hurts, her philosophical take on her family’s crappy luck is refreshing, and her bad, bad thoughts involving one sexy prosecutor are hilarious—in short, she’s real and I want to be her friend. And, oh, Zac—the ultimate good guy with a heart of gold who waits in the rain to follow the girl that dumped him home to ensure her safety slays me every time. Aside from that inevitable man moment (which he makes up for in spades), he is just about perfect in a way that’s endearing and will make you want to take him home and snuggle him. I loved how he started out focused on upholding that conviction but had no qualms about ensuring that justice (rather than a political agenda) prevailed as his investigation revealed huge holes and improprieties in the case. And his banter and good-natured ribbing with his sister Penny—the defence attorney working Emma’s case pro bono—is a hoot. Ms. Giordano has a knack for witty repartee, and the laid-back, approachable prose really made it shine.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed THE PROSECUTOR. The fast-paced, action-packed storyline kept me engrossed and eager to turn pages and the well-crafted and loveable characters made it an even more memorable read. I cannot wait to read Popsicle Penny’s (who should absolutely be my BFF) story in June! Definitely recommended for Adrienne Giordano fans or anyone looking for a quick romantic suspense read weighted toward the suspense but with enough romance (and a scrumptious lawyer hero) to keep it firmly in the romance camp.

**ARC provided by Author**

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