Monday, March 23, 2015

#13 [2015/CBR7] "Hush" by Karen Robards

I've read a lot of Karen Robards' books, so when I saw Hush (2014) on a bookstore shelf, I picked it up as soon as I could. Robards' contemporary work can usually be counted on for some suspense, violence, a buff protector-type, and long sex scenes. I've definitely enjoyed some of her books and hated one of her earlier works. Since this book was written recently, I began this one with relatively high expectations. So, I don't know if my recent reading of Courtney Milan's The Suffragette Scandal created unrealistic expectations for writing and character, but I was disappointed with this one.

In order for clarity and brevity, here is some of what Amazon has to say about this book:

When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband Jeff dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood—specifically someone Jeff’s father ripped off in one of the biggest financial fraud cases of all time. She suspects that someone is trying to send a message to Jeff’s father: Tell me where the money is, or everyone you care about will die.
Enter Finn Bradley, an FBI agent with a dangerous secret. He's after the money too, and Riley quickly becomes his chief suspect. But when someone tries to kill her, he has no choice but to protect her until he can uncover the truth. The question becomes, can they discover the killer’s identity in time, before he resurfaces—and strikes again?

Beware of spoilers below, as I go into detail about the things I didn't like.

I had a number of issues with this book, and I'm not sure if Robards has these problems in every book and my standards have changed or if this one just didn't work for me. First, and probably most importantly: the relationship between the two leads consisted of being attracted to each other and constantly bickering and lying to each other. They don't begin to be honest with each other until the book is almost over. Also, Finn is always making out with Riley at the most inappropriate times and places. He saves her when an assassin tries to kill her, but then drives her to her mother-in-law's house and kisses her in the backyard when she is suffering from a concussion. [And for the record, after someone gets a concussion and almost drowns, a paramedic is going to take her to a hospital--not leave her alone in her apartment]. Then he comes to her work to try to bully information out of her and they end up making out on the dance floor--of her work. Then, after Riley's seventeen year-old sister-in-law is brutally kidnapped and Riley gets hit in the head again, Finn takes her to his hotel room where they make out again--instead of immediately telling the teen's mother that her daughter is missing. Finn is also jealous and rude, and besides being smoking hot, not all that likable. So, there's that.

Unfortunately, the secondary characters are no help to poor, annoying Riley and Finn. There is Bax, the under-appreciated and geeky FBI agent, there is Riley's ex-mother-in-law and her ex-sister-in-law who are not fleshed out and make annoyingly stupid decisions. I never think of them as real people and I never care about them. In fact, after the teenager (I can't even remember her name) is kidnapped, we never even see her again. We eventually hear that she's okay and move on.

Finally, the plot doesn't make much sense, and even if you suspend your disbelief, which I am more than willing to do with a good book, the characters had no clear goal or villain to fight against. There's missing money and an unknown number of bad guys coming after it from all different walks of life. Apparently international mafia, governments, and others are all involved, but we have no idea how many there are, where they come from, or why they do what they're doing.

I was surprised by the many positive reviews on Amazon. However, I can't recommend this one.

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