Friday, October 12, 2007

Overkill - Linda Castillo


Overkill
Linda Castillo
Berkley Sensation

Romantic Suspense

Six months ago, Marty Hogan was a patrol officer in Chicago when her career imploded. Some fine citizen videotaped her beating a suspect during an arrest. That video was played, nonstop, on television. What no one saw, of course, was the dead child, killed by the suspect. Although the jury acquitted her, Marty clearly couldn’t stay in Chicago. The only police force that would have her was located in tiny Caprock Canyon, Texas.

The chief of that small department, Clay Settlemeyer, knew Marty’s background, but was willing to give her a second chance. From her first day in town, though, he begins to wonder if he’s made a mistake. Marty is showing all the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, both with suspects and with her fellow officers. When she radios in to say that she’s under fire in a remote canyon, officers respond, but can find no proof of her claim that there were two shooters. Marty knows what happened; Clay wants to believe her, for increasingly personal reasons.

The suspect in the video that killed Marty’s career was sent to jail for his crimes. Child-killers are the lowest form of life among prisoners, and he’s been abused to the point of needing his bowel reconstructed. His brother and sister, no strangers to killing, vow revenge for their brothers’ disgrace. They begin with Marty’s former partner, still on the beat in Chicago, then follow to her Texas, where they endanger everyone and everything important to Marty.

For readers of “sweet” romantic suspense, this one may be a little too raw. There’s language and violence, and none of it is sugarcoated. For readers who enjoy thrillers, with a bit of romance on the side, though, this is a real treat. Marty is a seriously conflicted character; she has internal issues that could destroy her and the people around her. The relationship between Marty and Clay is depicted, and rightly so, as incredibly problematic, from several perspectives. There’s the boss-subordinate problem; the fact that the relationship will most likely forever ruin Marty’s credibility with the other men on the force; and the problem that Marty is in no condition to start a relationship in any case.

The bad guys, introduced in the first few pages, along with their motives, are quite scary, but understandable in their own, twisted ways. From the first page, the author sets a fast pace that never flags. Recommended for readers of thrillers, mysteries, and those romantic suspense readers who like the ‘suspense’ element front and center.

Rating: 7 1/2
October 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21829-7 (paperback)

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