Monday, January 23, 2012
If You See Her by Shiloh Walker
Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.
Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.
Thank you to Shiloh Walker for sending me an advance copy of this book. At the end of If You Hear Her, Hope and Law had been attacked and Hope was thought to have done it as an attempted murder-suicide. Remy feels terrible pursuing this, but as the DA, he has to. Once Hope is exonerated, the action truly begins.
I liked Hope and Remy. They were both put in untenable situations. I really wanted to hate Remy at first for simply believing Hope's ex-husband without any corroboration, but he redeemed himself when as soon as evidence appears to clear Hope, he immediately accepts it, clears her, and moves on. He defended her as well, against the townsfolk who wouldn't/couldn't accept her innocence. I liked Remy's protective streak, and that he kept it in check as much as he possibly could, knowing that Hope had to move forward and do some things on her own. Even though it about killed him, LOL.
I liked that while Hope was a battered woman, over the curse of the past two books she learned how to be independent and make decisions that were good for her. The haircut scene was particularly well done. I liked that she pushed herself to stand up for herself, and to try new things on her own. She had an inner strength that she needed to discover for herself, and did.
The suspense. Very well done, as in the previous book. Tight. And I still haven't figured it out, although I have my suspicions.
The emotions. One place where Walker excels, no matter what genre she's writing, is conveying the emotions f her characters. A Walker book is always highly emotional. Though this one did veer toward angsty, I didn't feel that it was overdone. Just strong, heartfelt emotion.
I like that we get to see the previous couple, and that they in no way overshadow the main romance, but are still integral to the story. This is a tight-knit group of friends living in a small town – it stands to reason they would be featured.
And Law. Hmmm… I really can't wait for his story. Watching him try to rationalize to Hope his reaction to Nia, when it simply couldn't be done, was rather amusing. Except when he put Nia above Hope, his best friend. And then I wanted to kick his ass. The next book is his story, and I know he'll get a good come-uppance. The redeeming piece of this was that he was destroyed over hurting his best friend, and the idea that they may not get back to where they were was killing him.
One other note, and that is that Walker conveyed the Kentucky accent of the characters without stereotyping it or making it irritating. She nailed it. As she lives in Kentucky, I would have expected her to, and was gratified to be able to feel the local flavor and not have it detract from the story at all as ocerdone. Accents are my pet peeve, and Walker very subtly lets the dialect come through without hitting the reader over the head with accents.
The one thing I didn't care for, really, was that Hope's ex-husband seemed to be a bit overblown. Although as an abuser, the things he did to Hope seemed in line, and scary to boot, but as he went on, he seemed to get over the top. Perhaps it was because he simply knew there was nothing left to lose, but I was definitely waiting for his character to lose face time. That's for sure.
Anyway, to sum it up, this 2nd in the Ash trilogy was a wonderfully written, tightly drawn suspense thriller. The romance balances out the suspense beautifully, and vice-versa. I really do adore Walker's suspense. Can't wait to read #3, If You Know Her.