I received an ARC copy from the gracious Jaci Burton. Gasp…it is a paperback…I haven’t read a paperback in well I guess a year. But that didn’t slow me down, I immediately opened it up and started reading. Unfortunately, I put it down about 100 pages into it having lost some interest. About a week later I picked it up again and started reading. Again, I put it down about page 200. I found myself struggling to make myself finish the book. It wasn’t that it was bad, it just wasn’t holding my interest the way her other books have in the past. I am a huge fan of Jaci Burton, but this book left me feeling disappointed in her new series.
When the book starts, I was instantly intrigued. Four foster brothers, Dante, Gabe, Jeff and Roman, come into the ice cream shop that Anna works in. Anna is the daughter of a police officer and instantly takes on a protective role for the brothers, but she only has the heart for one: Dante. While the boys are eating their ice cream, Anna takes out the trash and is brutally assaulted. When Anna takes too long, the brothers go to check on her. Finding her under attack, they instantly defend her and attack the perpetrator back. When I say attack, I mean they kick the holy living shit out of him. This causes the conflict of the book.
Two of the boys leave town, Dante and Gabe, but they don’t know the other one did and the other two make the best out of a bad situation. Dante doesn’t even tell Anna he is leaving and never contacts her in the twelve years he is gone. There is a cover up of what happens, so Anna has to internalize all the anguish she feels since she can’t tell the events of the attack without giving away what actually happened.
Now twelve years later, Special Forces Dante Renaldi comes back home for the anniversary party of his foster parents. No sooner than he lands and starts driving he gets a call that his foster-father hasn’t come home. This leads to a crime scene that is eerily similar to the assault they were all apart of twelve years ago.
There were several problems that kept me from getting into this book. The biggest one I think that may have made this a little more engaging would have been to see inside the killer as he perpetrated the crimes. You just don’t feel the total evil that should be there each time the find a new body.
As each body is found, there is detachment in the characters. They are people both Dante and Anna know, so you should be feeling more anguish from them than what is expressed. I just couldn’t feel the emotion of what was going on. The deaths are mostly used to continue on the hunted feel, but you never get to feel the depth of emotions of losing these people.
While you know why Dante lies, well maybe not totally, it feels like a lie instead of keeping secret what he does. But then Roman lies, and Gabe lies and then Anna dad lies (not necessarily in any order). Everyone is lying to each other causing so many rifts and mistrust. And most of them are open that they are lying. It just got old after a while.
I loved Anna’s character to a point. She was a strong woman who suffers from PTSD which she hides from everyone. But I also felt she was too close to the case to be assigned to even if no one knows of the past and she needed to realize it. This made her “dumb” in some aspects. Dante, I just never came to like him. He wasn’t a bad guy, just you never really felt like he told you the truth and you could grow to like him.
Mostly, this wasn’t Jaci Burton’s usual writing style. I have been a fan, I just can’t say I was a fan of this book. I will continue to read her books, but this one just isn’t in my re-read pile.