Batty Book Review: FATAL AFFAIR by Marie Force

Published July 28, 2016 by The Author

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other remuneration was received.



Author: Marie Force
ISBN: 9780373004157
Series: Fatal Series #1
Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada)/Carina Press
Category: Thriller/Mystery/Romance
Author’s Website
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Main Characters: Sam/Nick
Find It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million | iTunes | IndieBound


Source: ARC provided by NetGalley, ebook format


3.5 batty moons a fun 3 1/2 Batty Moons!


Walking the thin blue line…

Detective Sergeant Sam Holland of the Washington, DC, Metro Police needs a big win to salvage her career—and her confidence—after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford—especially when the bodies keep piling up.


Heather’s Review:


They had me at “Scandal” (Team Jake!) and “House of Cards.” I mean, “real” politics either bore or enrage me (do you ever hear the “Wah-wah-wah” voices of the Peanuts parents when politicians talk? No? Just me?), so I stay as far away from them as I can get. But fictional politics in a soap/thriller format with a nice infusion of steamy sex? YES PLEASE!

So I requested this at Netgalley, and got one of those “Wish Fulfilled” approvals. Yay!

I was immediately reminded why I like suspense/thrillers outside the straight police procedural kind. This one is romantic suspense, and the almost immediate infusion of romantic and sexual tension between the leads into the mystery is like an extra treat you give your pet to make them follow you to the carrier or leash for a trip to the vet. Only this book wasn’t at all like I imagine going to the vet must be like. (My cat howls like a werewolf all the way there, and immediately crams her fairly big body into the vet’s tiny sink. Where they proceed to give her care except when she needs to be weighed, which is nice. Sorry, my Crazy Cat Lady is showing.)

The crime itself was gruesome (let’s just say that while I’m a woman, it still made me wince) but fascinating. The list of suspects was long, and also interesting. Nobody completely obvious right off the bat–which I assume is a basic trait of a decent mystery. I liked the slow burn, both sexually and romantically, between Sam and the Nick. I very much appreciated that they had crossed paths (so to speak) in the past, and had just barely missed sharing much more, so we step around my big pet peeve, insta-love. I also found the conflicts between them interesting–they weren’t contrived (another common annoyance), they felt realistic and organic. Who wouldn’t like to think that that one guy you “went on a date with” that time DID try to call you, but your jerk friend didn’t give you the messages?

As the details of the murder victim’s life unfolds, it’s full of surprises that actually surprised me. Watching as the player’s solved the mystery was a lot of fun. It very much had the flavor of J.D. Robb’s IN DEATH series, but set in the present. And with no incredibly hot Irish kajillionaire or horrible childhood torture. Sadly, as sexy as Nick is, politician falls WAY down the list of hotness from Irish Kajillionaire with a dark and tragic past.

What really impressed me about the book were the relationships between the characters. Which, yeah, it’s romantic suspense, so duh. I’m not just talking about the romantic relationship between Sam and Nick, although that’s adorable AND steamy. I’m talking about the other relationships. The characters are wonderful in their own right, but the way they interacted was just so realistic, so right, that I felt almost like I was watching an episode of my beloved SVU mixed with a dash of IN DEATH with a pinch of Bones and a smidge of Scandal. Sam’s interactions with her partner, Freddie Cruz, is so Dallas/Peabody, but with a rhythm of their own, it was terrific. I hope Freddie gets more of a role in future books, because he is awesome–a refreshing character you don’t see much in cop books/TV shows. I enjoy that he was clearly a devout Christian without being one of those overblown caricatures that makes me want to set the book on fire.

Sam’s commander is like a second father, and is a surprisingly complex character for someone who’s almost tertiary. Her lieutenant, on the other hand, is a colossal jerk (I chose a much more foul–and apt–name to begin with), and still, you learn this easily in only a few appearances. Other secondaries with lives and flavor of their own include Sam’s dad and his caretaker/love. Even the parade of suspects felt very three-dimensional.Good job on characterization by Ms. Force!

Lessons learned this summer include that romantic and paranormal suspense work for me, but traditional suspense in general leaves me in the very dry dust. FATAL AFFAIR, like the IN DEATH series, left me wanting more (but without about 50 stories to catch up on!)

— someday, I might even get to read the rest!

I was thoroughly entertained by FATAL AFFAIR, so I give it

3.5 batty moons 3 1/2 BATTY MOONS!


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