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Really great story, well developed and engaging throughout. The only big downer is it is very long. I listened to the audiobook which is pretty much 20 hours. While the story and characters are interesting and entertaining, you really do feel the length. But I honestly can't say that I would have cut any of the parts.
There is a lot going on in this story from the get go. It has a non-linear feel as flashbacks are interspersed with the present day story. They are pieced out through the book to give snippets of back-story. This helps add drama and intrigue to the past events. It was a really well used device that helped move the story along and the flashbacks were perfectly placed.
I love the relationship between Phoebe and Ian, they are my favorite combo, geeky girl and bad boy!! Sigh, it is always delicious to read those pairings! It felt the relationship progressed quickly, but I am willing to forgive that because it was well developed. I felt the build of attraction and even buy into the way feelings are enhanced by extreme circumstances.
The steam is delicious!! Plenty of yummy detail but not as far as an erotic romance. They are a touch combustible and once they give in to the attraction, HOLY HANNAH!! These two really can burn up some sheets!!
It is a mixed narrative, mostly Phoebe and Ian's POVs but plenty of the supporting cast as well. Each character gives insight to the overall dynamic and allows the reader a unique side perspective. I loved seeing how they all fit together. Ian and Phoebe are not the only romantic connection, although they are the only ones who get intimate in the story.
The supporting cast is varied and all have great sub-plots. I will admit to crying more than once over Aaron and Shel, Francine and even Berto. Each character had trials to overcome, some turned out happier than others. It was amazing to see how one incident in their youth became a defining moment for all of them. It was rather heartbreaking. By the end I wanted redemption and healing for all of them.
I really liked the lawyer Martel and had hopes he would find romance with FBI gal Deb, maybe that can be the next book? They had a nice banter and there was definitely a connection there.
There are many things going on throughout the story both in the past and present. I thought Ms. Brockmann did a wonderful job of juggling them all and keeping the story moving at a steady pace. Plenty of climactic moments mixed throughout help add to the movement of the story and general feeling of suspense. It went a long way in lessening the long feel of the novel.
This audiobook was unique for me as it is a first that I have listened to with two narrators. It was a touch disconcerting at first. I will admit I did not fully pay attention before starting and was surprised by the first sudden change in voice. I eventually grew accustomed to it and by the end really liked the difference. Patrick Lawlor voiced all the male POVs, each voice was distinct and easily identified. I really liked the deep timber to his voice. He put some serious energy into the smexy scene, definitely warms a gal up!! Melanie Ewbank did all the women's POVs, she also did a great job of making each lady sound unique and stayed consistent. She had nice energy throughout the read. They each had a great reading pace that lent itself to the flow of the book. Perhaps a touch more energy in the action sequences, but overall very nice reads.
This is my first book by Ms Brockmann, but certainly not my last. I may have to check out her Troubleshooters series as it was referenced a bit in this book. Perhaps that is where I will see Martel get his HEA. I am also eager to see what is next in this series!
Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for am honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.