One Step Away
Seven years ago Beth Denison was attacked by a killer named Chevy Bankes. Since then, she's created a new life for herself and her daughter, one far removed from the night that ended in an awful tragedy. But now Bankes is out of prison, and his chilling phone calls tell Beth he's coming for her.
One Breath Away
Ex-FBI agent Neil Sheridan is driven to investigate a chain of murders eerily similar to a disturbing case from his past. When the killer's trail dead-ends at Beth's doorstep, Neil finds a beautiful woman with a secret she'll do anything to keep. Yet even as Beth surrenders to Neil's protection -- and then his embrace -- she still refuses to tell him why Bankes hungers to hear her scream, and why she'll soon consider doing the unthinkable: face Bankes alone.
Dig me, sitting here, trying to think up a reasonable review when all I really want to do is scream at y'all and implore you to go out right now -- right this minute -- pick up the book and read it. Now. Pronto. Stat! If you love Karen Rose or Allison Brennan (in fact, she's quoted on this cover), then you've totally hit the jackpot with Kate Brady's debut. YES, debut -- and that alone shocked me. For every romantic suspense or suspense author I've read from first book on up, there's always been a trial in patience period for me until I feel that the author just totally clicks with this style of writing. That first book may be a bit hitchy, somewhat trite, or just over-the-top-scare-you-until-you-pee-your-pants, but I always feel like though the talent may be raw, it still shimmers. (Mariah Stewart comes to mind; love her books now, not so much when she first went straight-up RS.) ONE SCREAM AWAY is romantic with a hero who defines Alpha, but features one of the most sadistic baddies I've come across in a long time in fiction. God, I sound like a squeeing fangirl...
Maybe I can do this better in list format:
1. Ex-FBI agent Neil is not only out of the cop scene, but he's washed up, drunk, and constantly trying to outrun the mistakes he's made that have almost caused people's lives.
2. I hate baggage in real life, but I usually like my fictional heroes hefting their own overpacked Samsonite. Neil delivers in spades...
3. When Neil first meets Beth, he thinks hot!, but definitely into something up to her eyeballs.
4. Beth has carved out a life for herself and her adorably cute (but not in-your-face) daughter.
5. She's independent, strong, and totally armed to the teeth in case Chevy Bankes comes knocking again.
6. Chevy comes knocking again. But he does it in such an insidious, evil, intrepid way, that I vote him the best damned villain I've read this year.
7. (It seems I tend to judge my RS books by how malicious the villain is.)
8. Neil votes to take on Chevy by his damned self if he has to; Beth has other ideas and doesn't like to be left out of the loop in this investigation.
9. The author, in her intent to show just how unfeeling Chevy is, totally racked up points when she dared to go a way I never expected. Both in epilogue and in the action-packed scenes throughout the book. Kate Brady is not afraid to NOT play it safe...
10. I want to be Kate Brady when I go up...
11. Did I say that out loud?
Yeah, this book just totally worked for me on all levels, if you weren't able to tell. While the market may seem like it's flooded with urban fantasy, paranormals, and historical romances set in England (all of which I don't have a problem with), give me a straight-up, scare-the-pants-off-of-me romantic suspense (heavy on the suspense, thankyouverymuch), and I'm a happy girl.
Now, the bad news -- the next book, LAST TO DIE, doesn't come out until July of '10. Damnit.