Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hunted - Cynthia Eden (HI #1719 - July 2017)

Series: Killer Instinct (Book 3)

Josh Duvane's SEAL training not only hardened his body, but also his mind. Though his latest investigation as part of the FBI's Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team is pushing him to his limits. The Sandy Shore killer taunts local police as Josh recovers his victims off the coast of Florida. Of all the women taken, only Casey Quinn has survived. As this unrelenting psychopath stalks her every move, Josh is all that stands between her and certain death. Now it's time for him to turn the tables and use every ounce of training to stop the killer from having the last laugh…

Good book with good, fast-paced suspense. The tiny town of Hope is suffering through the attacks of a second serial killer in the space of a few weeks. Josh is a former SEAL who now works for the FBI using his skills to find evidence underwater. The story opens as Josh has found the killer's third victim and the frustration hits him hard. It doesn't help to be accosted by reporters as soon as the team returns to shore. One reporter, in particular, rubs him the wrong way. Casey has a reputation for being relentless when she covers stories such as this. Having been on the receiving end of similar publicity, she is determined to give a voice to the victims.

Though their first meeting is contentious, with Josh quite clear on his opinion of reporters, he is also able to see that there is more to his anger than can be blamed on Casey. I liked the fact that he was able to see it, apologize, and try to make her see why. Even in those circumstances, his protectiveness is obvious as he tries to show her that she could be feeding the beast and putting herself in harm's way. Beneath the antagonism, there is also a simmering attraction that flares between them. Finding her skulking in the dark outside the sheriff's office brings that attraction to the surface as he once again chides her for recklessness, and escorts her back to her hotel.

What neither knows is that the killer has indeed decided on his next victim and is waiting to pounce. Casey isn't ready to die, however, and fights back, managing to escape. Josh is determined to keep Casey safe from the killer who seems determined to finish what he started. He takes her into protective custody, where the sparks between them really begin to fly. I loved seeing a connection deeper than just the physical as they worked together to find the killer. Each of them is surprised to find that they want more from each other. Josh initially tries to deny it, but both of his friends, Hayden and Tucker, see it and call him on it. It was pretty sweet to see two strong characters like Josh and Casey become so protective of each other.

The suspense of the story was really good. From the first attack on Casey to the end, the action was fast and intense. Occasional glimpses into the perp's point of view added to the suspense of when he would strike next. Casey's determination to help, rather than remain protected in the safe house, increased the sense of impending danger. As their investigation progressed, twists and turns kept me guessing as to which of several possibilities was the killer. While the killer turned out to be one of my top suspects, there was a twist that I hadn't seen coming. The final confrontation was intense and had me glued to the pages until it was over.

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