10 January 2009

REVIEW: JEANNE ADAMS - DARK AND DANGEROUS

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (June 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420104292
ISBN-13: 978-1420104295



Summary:
NOWHERE TO HIDE
Dana Markham is up against a cold-blooded killer who knows her all too well: Donovan Walker. Wanted for drug trafficking, armed and dangerous—he’s also her ex-husband. What she knows about him could land him behind bars forever…or put her and her young son in an early grave if Donovan finds them first. Dana’s one chance lies with a man she barely knows at all.

Tall and darkly sensual, Caine Bradley is an undercover FBI agent who’s been posing as Walker’s henchman. Compelled to work with Caine to lure her ex out of hiding, Dana must fight against her own raw, urgent needs. But is he who he says he is? Her passionate desire for him could be her salvation—or her greatest mistake…

Review:
This debut novel of Jeanne Adams proves to be more of a suspense novel with romantic undertones than an amplification of one another, heightening the overall impact of the story. From the first page I was thrown into the centre of all the action as mobster Donovan Walker sends out a team to recapture his ex-wife and son. The sole reason of his attention is his son, his heir, his legacy and he will leave nothing unused to get him back. Unfortunately, Dana and Xavier see it differently and entered WitSec (witness security) after Dana testified against him.

After years of a somewhat peaceful existence Dana and Xavier are attacked in their own home and Dana automatically shifts into a flight-or-fight mode. After activating her defense mechanism around the house she wants to bolt out of there like a bat out of hell with her precious son. But instead she stumbles onto one of the attackers and she points a gun into his face, only, he turns out to be an infiltrated FBI agent to unmask Donovan Walker.

From that point on Dana Markham, Xavier and Caine Bradley are on the run from a man bend on possessing the one thing that matters to him….a ten year old boy named Xavier. The theme of a mother and a child on the run from their enemies is one I like to read about, it highlights the resilience of a woman and the instincts of a mother going the distance for her child. Dark And Dangerous draws this picture with a high-risk chase as man, woman and child need to take it all with a tenacity to remain alive at the end of the road. The accent of this novel thrives on the suspense, the author gradually builds this up and raises the stakes a bit higher with every chapter I read. Adams adds and deducts my suspicion of certain enemies when Donovan Walker takes the lead. He is everything a criminal on a power-rush is meant to be. He has everyone cowering before him, making his presumption of being all powerful even greater. He has the money to back it all up and the evil intent to walk over bodies to get what he wants. Instantly I disliked him and the more I read, the more I wanted him behind bars or dead for all that mattered. An ideal antithesis for Caine and his dark knight persona, he is an FBI agent who has not all that much to lose which makes him dangerous to deal with.

While the suspicion is raised, a secret hide-a-way is revealed and a woman who has more than her share of experience in these situations has her son’s happiness at stake here. Dana possesses an attitude and sass to cope with a very perilous situation that could take a turn for the worse at any moment. The intimate relationship between Xavier and Dane is laced with love, humor and a bond that is hard to grasp as it comes from being in a high-tense situation for all those years together. It is done with both a feel for the angst and danger as it emphasizes on the unconditional love between a mother and a son.

Bit by bit the suspense got to me and succumbed me into a story where survival becomes an essential. There is also a budding attraction going on with a flavor for trust issues to work out. It never delves very deep into the emotional background and remains flirtatious until the last third of this tale. While I regret the loss of more in-depth emotions or body heat between Caine and Dana it did contain a common sense. Their safety comes first before the leading couple can honestly give into their feelings. There is an air of self constraint between them resulting from the knowledge they cannot let their guards down. Instead of the attraction bursting from the pages it is more of a poised attraction that is only released on one or two occasions.

Xavier is just as much a leading character as Dana or Caine is for that matter. He is street smart and holds his own in threatening situations when at the same time something can happen that shows he is just a kid hungering for safety. There are a lot of supportive characters though not many pop out, I enjoyed Chaz and TJ from the B&B along with Agent Sears and Trevain leading the FBI case against Donovan Walker. They are functional, they add their purpose without distracting the reader from the essential story. Everything came together in the last third of this novel, keeping me bound to the pages in a battle for ultimate freedom.

I was entertained and taken by the suspense in Dark And Dangerous but simultaneously the romance fell short for me and didn’t give me that intense satisfaction I crave as a romance reader. Even if the expectations for this novel weren’t entirely met, Dark And Dangerous is a nice, well-plotted, well-paced and a well-written story that contains hours of enjoyable reading.

Quote Dana:
“All I really have to do is live, love my son, protect him if I can, and die, Agent. I’d rather that be in a hundred years with a pack of grandchildren mourning my passing, but I’ll put myself on the line to save my son.”

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