For four years Kate O’Brian has lived a quiet life in the small town of Shelter Cove, Arkansas. Kate entered the Witness Protection Program after testifying against the man who attacked her and murdered her twin sister. When her attacker is released due to faulty evidence, Kate faces a subpoena calling her back to St. Louis to testify again. U. S. Marshal Tony Deluca, who guarded Kate during the first two trials, is sent to Shelter Cove to escort her back to St. Louis. When Kate’s attacker disappears, it becomes a race against the clock to keep Kate safe and stop the Blue-Eyed Serial Killer.
I recently discovered the Defenders of Justice series and I must admit that I am happy I did. This novel is the second installment in the Defenders of Justice series. In this story we have different main characters than we did in book one. There is Kate, a survivor of a vicious crime, and U.S. Marshal Tony Deluca, who helped her get through the original trials. Since the U. S. Marshals are involved in the Witness Protection Program I wasn’t surprised by the fact that Kate was in the program.
I found this novel to be well written and constructed, the characters are well developed and realistic, their struggles understandable and thought provoking. I also found the age gap between the two main characters to be interesting, and I enjoyed the fact that the character of Kate was around my own age.
The night that Kate was attacked, and her sister killed, was something straight out of “Criminal Minds,” though I was thankful that it was not overtly descriptive with all of the horrible things that happened to the two sisters. I love a good mystery, but, for me, the less blood and gore the better.
I live between St. Louis and Arkansas, so reading about the weather in this novel, as well as in book one, was interesting. Though I have not, and hope not to, live through the any mudslides caused by torrential downpours in Arkansas. I am well aware that this does, in fact, occur and can be extremely dangerous to anyone caught out in it. These details helped bring this book to life for me. I must admit though, when Batterson seemed unaware of the danger of the mudslide issue, I was surprised. I understand that the two locations are far apart, however, it struck me as odd.
As for the Blue-Eyed Killer, in the beginning of the novel, he did come off as a very realistic killer. The differences between previous cases and Kate’s attack are substantial, however, could easily be explained due to his own ignorance. Even the most careful killer is human and prone to mistakes.
By the end of the novel, the Blue-Eyed Killer had moved into an almost unrealistic, unbelievable realm. Though I suppose it is possible, it seems highly unlikely.
After reading book one, “Fatal Frost,” I had held some hope that my unanswered questions from that novel would be answered, in at least a small amount, in this novel but they were not, which was somewhat disappointing, though not unexpected. However, you do learn a little bit more about some of the characters in book one, and I hope the same thing will happen again in book three.
I would recommend this novel to fans of Christian romantic suspense.
I received my copy of this novel from the publishers at Bethany House through their book reviewer program for the sole purpose of providing an honest review. I also have permission from the publishers to use an image of the cover artwork above.
Mercy Brennan is a U. S. Marshal stationed in St. Louis Missouri. Her father is also a law enforcement officer, but he has been absent for most of her life, until now. After Mercy is shot in the line of duty, her father tries to reach out to her, neither of them realizing that by being in contact with her, her father has made her a target for the most dangerous gang in St. Louis. To protect her, her boss assigns her ex-boyfriend, U. S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent, and her best friend, Lieutenant Tally Williams, to get her away somewhere safe until they can stop those out to get her.
Brennan is kept in the dark about the danger she is in until an unexpected ice storm traps the three officers in an isolated location with no way to call for backup. There is a mole in the U. S. Marshals and Brennan’s location may have already been leaked. Can they make it through the worsening weather and ward off any enemy threats long enough for help to arrive?
This book left me feeling conflicted. Mercy Brennan is the kind of character you’d expect to see in real life. She has lived through tough times and came out a good and respectable person. She cares about other people and helping them but she is also human with fears and doubts.
Mark St. Laurent and Tally Williams are also strong characters. Laurent is kind and protective of everyone. He relies on his gut and God. Tally is a great cop and friend, and as a person, he is the kind of guy you want out there on the streets.
The threat against Mercy Brennan seems severe, that said, though I have lived in Missouri for some years now, I have yet to see St. Louis. The threat against her made me think more of New York and Chicago. I should not be surprised though, since I know in the back of my mind that St. Louis is a rather large city and therefore this level of threat makes sense and is believable.
By the end of this novel, I felt like something was missing and should have been explained. There is one character whose actions did not always fit the character that he was shown to be. At first I thought that this was great, a character who stood somewhere between good and bad, a realistic character facing an internal conflict. However, by the end of the novel I had many questions about the character and his motivations that were never answered and I hold little hope that they will be answered in the future novels to come. I really wish the author would have addressed these questions. It is because she didn’t that I have conflicting thoughts about this book.
All in all, I would say this was a good read and I enjoyed it for the most part.
I would recommend this novel to fans of Dee Henderson or Gilbert Morris.
I borrowed a copy of this novel from my local library and have permission from the publishers at Bethany House to use the image of the cover artwork featured above.
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