Deadly Pursuit (Guardians of Justice #2)
By: Irene Hannon
About the book:
Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children. But now it seems she needs protecting. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements - her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.
Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.
Following the crippling car accident that left her with a metal rod in one leg, traumatic internal injuries, and a broken engagement, Alison Taylor threw herself into the work of regaining her independence. With two protective older brothers in law enforcement, keeping their stifling, if well-intentioned, hovering at bay could be as much of a challenge as dealing with the dark loneliness that overwhelms her when she least expected it. Mitch Morgan, a newly-arrived transfer to the St. Louis Police Department, couldn't be more surprised when his partner - Alison's brother Cole - sets the two up on a blind date and sparks fly. The lovely but reserved Alison is an enigma Mitch is determined to decipher and make a permanent part of his new life. But that promising future is threatened when the disturbing calls Alison's been receiving - "inconveniences" she strove to handle on her own - increase. And when the calls escalate to disturbing, very personal "gifts," it's clear that someone has Alison in their sights. With Alison the prize in a sick game of chance, Mitch is in a race against time to save the woman who has given him hope for the future.
Deadly Pursuit is the second novel in Hannon's Guardians of Justice series, and focuses on the sole female member of the Taylor siblings trio, Alison. I've had friends who work in Child Protective Services, and based on my second-hand knowledge of what social workers deal with in their jobs I can tell you Hannon did her homework. The stress and pressure Alison deals with on the job, and the overwhelming pull to become personally involved in heart-breaking cases that victimize the most vulnerable among us, and the potential dangers in those cases is spot-on accurate. Alison quickly became one of my favorite Hannon heroines - she is a beautifully realized, fully-dimensional character whose weaknesses are balanced with a deep-seated strength that can only stem from a faith refined and purified by fire. I could really relate to her struggles to find her place in her very-involved family, and I appreciated how Hannon worked through Alison's tensions with her brothers in a very realistic way. Family relationships can be among the stickiest of all, and its refreshing to see honest frustrations expressed and dealt with in a productive fashion. And I loved Mitch and Alison's relationship. Mitch is one of my favorite Hannon heroes, the alpha male in him balanced with a sensitivity and understanding for Alison's relationship-related reticence that is heart-rendingly sweet.
I really don't know how Irene Hannon does it, but she keeps surpassing herself with each new release. While it is possible I'm suffering from "most recent novel is my favorite" syndrome, I am going to go out on a limb here and declare that Deadly Pursuit has tied with, if not surpassed, In Harm's Way as my favorite Hannon novel yet. Hannon's ability to keep ratcheting up the suspense and tension is unparalleled, a marvel even more so when you consider that, knowing her history, she's going to deliver a "happy ending." But when you have that expectation and you're still breathlessly turning pages, your heart in your throat -- that is a suspense novel penned with masterful skill. Mixed with a heart-stopping, swoon-worthy romance, that despite the novel's short timeframe still manages to feel genuine and authentic, is the recipe for a romantic suspense winner. Hannon is without question my go-to author for sizzling romantic tension mixed with chilling moments of danger. Deadly Pursuit exhibits her writing skills at their finest, with pacing worthy of the best television crime procedural, heart-pounding tension, swoon-worthy romance, and a subtle thread of faith - a heady, addictive mix that will leave you eager for her next release!