Sharon Sala's new romantic suspense is light on both romance and suspense, but two of her characters stand out with amazing depth. Jade, the lead of the story, and Raphael, her friend, share a convincing, complex relationship, built by the bonds of their past. If the lead character of Luke Kelly had been as carefully drawn as Raphael, and if his interaction with Jade has been as deep, it might be believable that the two end up together. As it is, her healing happens much too quickly to be believable, and there's so little substance to Luke that one wonders what she possibly sees in him.
Their relationship is improbable, at best. By page 142, Luke is falling in love with Jade, despite hardly knowing her. So far, she's been alternately clingy and prickly--not much of a basis for a relationship. At this point in the book, she can't even stand for him to touch her, so what makes his heart pitter-patter for her?
Despite its flaws, this book has memorable sections. Ms. Sala confronts head-on a topic one doesn't generally find in women's fiction. She handles child sexual abuse, lingering fear, and trying to heal all with grace, class, and sensitivity. Some passages of the book made me teary-eyed.
I'd say this book might have been better as a straight suspense, rather than augmenting it with a romance, but that side of the plot falls flat too. The villains are predictable, the tension is non-existent, and the threads are woven together with too much coincidence to be plausible. One thing that really bothered me was the scenes where Luke confronts the antagonists. Regardless of his past as a cop, no police station would have let him interrogate the men.
All in all, this is an average read, but lacking some of the componenents that would make it a fantastic book. Sadly, Ms. Sala seems to have joined the assembly line of authors producing romantic suspense, simply because it's popular, and not because it showcases her talent. Look for her older books if you want to see her shine.