Author: Andrea Kane
Publisher: Mira Books, a division of Harlequin
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Hardcover, 400 pages
ISBN 10: 0778329844
ISBN 13: 9780778329848
The Book Depository / Amazon
If she'd only turned her head, she would have seen the car containing her daughter, struggling to escape her kidnapper. Despite years determining the fates of families, family court judge Hope Willis couldn't save her own. Now she's grasping at any hope for Krissy's rescue. She calls Casey Woods and her team of investigators, Forensic Instincts.
A behaviorist. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A former Navy SEAL. Unconventional operatives. All with unique talents and reasons for joining Casey's group.
Able to accurately read people after the briefest encounter, Casey picks up signs of a nervous spouse, a guilty conscience, a nanny that hides on her cell. She watches as secrets creep into the open.
But time is running out, and the authorities are bound by the legal system. Not Casey's team. For they know that the difference between Krissy coming back alive and disappearing forever could be as small as a suspect's rapid breathing, or as deep as Hope's dark family history.
FIRST SENTENCE: When six-year-old Felicity Akerman went to bed that night, she had no idea that life as she knew it was about to change forever.
Felicity Akerman was 6 years old when someone came into her room at night where she and her twin sister Hope were sleeping. When they left, they took Felicity with them. Felicity has never been found.
Hope Willis, nee Akerman, is now a Family Court judge who lives in Armonk, NY with her husband Edward, a defense attorney with a prestigious firm, and her five-year-old daughter Krissy, who is in kindergarten. She returns home one evening and her nanny, Ashley, tells her that the children at the school said that Hope picked Krissy up from school already. But she didn't. Krissy is missing and her favorite bear is missing from her bedroom as well.
After calling the police, Hope also calls Casey Woods, an independent profiler. Her Forensic Instincts team includes Ryan (techno-wizard, gym rat, mountain bike pro, and ultramarathon runner), and Marc (former Navy SEAL, former FBI agent including a stint in the Behavioral Analysis Unit, base jumper). Together, the team is formidable. Working with the FBI, an intuitive named Claire Hedgleigh, a former FBI agent named Patrick Lynch who was the special agent when Felicity was kidnapped, and a human scent evidence bloodhound named Hero - Casey's latest present from her beau, they push hard to find Krissy before it's too late.
What a good book! There's a bit of everything - decent character development, a little bit of romance, secrets, tons of suspects, affairs, duplicity, a little bit of Mafia action .. all of the things that make a reader want to keep on reading all the way through to the end, which is sad and surprising, although I did have the kidnapper figured out much earlier; I just wasn't sure how it would all play out. Realistic? Maybe not so; I really can't imagine the FBI being so free and loose with information to a civilian group. Interesting? Definitely. The dialogue was a bit weak here and there, but the action more than made up for it. A couple of times I found myself biting my lip, waiting to see what the next turn would be. Would I recommend it? Certainly, especially for a warm-weather read when you don't want something necessarily light and fluffy.
Sensitive Reader: I really didn't see much in here that would put a sensitive reader off. There IS some violence, and some of what might be considered mild profanity.
QUOTES (from an ARC: may be different in final copy):
". . . I"ll hack into the little girl's computer. Casey, you can run down the list of suspects, interrogate the right ones. Marc can beat the crap out of the scumbag who did this. Then you'll size up his reactions until we figure out where he hid the poor kid. And Krissy Willis will be safe in her own bed before the miserable prick who took her can do his worst. After that, we can all go home and crash."
No matter how he played this, he was screwed. If he spilled his guts, he'd go to jail. And, if he kept his mouth shut, there was no way the mob would believe he hadn't talked. So the options were being locked up or being killed.
"And the option you picked is something you don't plan on sharing with the task force. Which means you're coloring outside the lines again."
"Coloring outside the lines?" Casey had to grin at his choice of words. "Does that mean you're going to tell on me?"
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 3.5 out of 5 starsReading Immersion: 4 out 5 stars
BOOK RATING: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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ELIGIBILITY: Open to US/CANADA
End Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST
This book is included in my list for the 2011 ARC Reading Challenge
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from Meryl Moss Media Relations to facilitate my review. Prior to receiving a hard copy, I also received an eGalley through Net Galley. No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.