Offensive content: some shots fired, some blood shed and some hot sex scenes.
This book is the definition of oldie but goodie. It was published in 2004 but reading it today like I did, you won't notice the 11-year difference. Everything is pretty much up to date. The only downside is that there is no Kindle version, so if you're buying through Amazon, you'll have to settle for a used paperback version.
The story starts with Adam Duval and Lyle McEdwin's prison break. Lyle is the youngest and belongs to a family of crooked criminals that have been on the most wanted lists of several enforcement agencies for years. Adam is clearly older and wiser and also clearly in charge. He's been in prison for three months, convicted for possession of stolen property, but after a few pages you realize he's really an undercover agent, bent on infiltrating Lyle's family to bring them to justice from the inside.
Right after they escape, things start to go wrong and Lyle ends up getting shot, which ultimately brings Adam to the doorsteps of the Bay Meadow Urgent Care Clinic in Durham, North Carolina, where Dr. Renata Curtis is working late to settle some paperwork. Adam forces her to treat Lyle, and while she's torn between her oath to save lives and saving the life of this particular criminal, she plays along to Adam's promise that she'll not be harmed and they'll leave as soon as Lyle is stable.
From then on, it's pretty much a roller coaster. Renata ends up being taken along by the two men, on orders from Lyle's older brother Nevin, which is helping them escape, and the twists and turns of the story kept me up late at night and almost made me miss my train stop on the way home on more than one day. Not all books are able to do that.
The end is pretty much predictable, and I liked the fact that Adam and Renata's romantic involvement begins when she still doesn't know the whole truth about who he his. She realizes he's different from Lyle and instinctively trusts him. The fact that despite their attraction she still tries to escape every chance she gets earns her points for credibility, and the fact that Adam tries to protect her the best he can without breaking his cover earns him points too. I also liked the fact that Adam is handsome but not physically perfect and how Renata faces and handles is scars.
Why I am not giving it five stars then? Because the last quarter of the book seems rushed. Too many conspiracies converge at the same time. You never really understand why Adam's FBI partner is attacked and ends up in the hospital. And then Zach, Adam's long lost brother enters the story. Zach has his own problems with the law, which stem from the two brothers' abusive childhood, but his appearance and his perfect role in helping Adam are...well, too perfect, too convenient, and not entirely believable. It's almost as if the author was trying to finish the story within a certain word count, but the end is certainly not as gripping as the beginning. I also didn't like the epilogue, but that's my personal opinion.
Still, it's a great summer or poolside read and even though I would have preferred a different ending, you'll never get bored reading this book.
Have a wonderful weekend!