Romantic suspense is a genre that I often find lacking. Either the romance takes a backseat to the suspense or the suspense overshadows the romance. Very few authors can make me completely happy on both.
From the opening scene of If You Hear Her
, I felt Shiloh Walker might be able surpass my high expectations. She doesn't shy away from the tough stuff. Instead, the book begins with the Big Bad, raping and killing his latest victim. By the third page I was in tears reading this powerful passage... He raped her again.
Her voice gave out long before she was able to escape inside herself.
This time, though, her escape was final. She had retreated somewhere deep inside herself -- somewhere where pain didn't exist, where terror didn't exist.
When he ended her life, she never even knew -- she was already gone.
Those words ripped at my heart because I know the kind of place one must escape to in order to survive -- or in her case, die. I'm sharing this with you because some of you reading may have experienced similar trauma in your life. There are scenes of rape and violence that can be triggering, so please read with that knowledge.
As if Ms. Walker didn't already have enough on her plate telling an engaging romantic suspense, she further intrigues me with the heroine, Lena Riddle. Lena is a chef at the local inn. She is confident, strong, capable, funny, and blind. Nothing holds this woman back! Lena lives a full life; one she's worked hard for and doesn't take for granted.
I love the build-up in the story between Lena and her hero, Ezra King. Ezra comes to Ash to heal both physically and mentally. He knows he isn't ready for a relationship, but the powerful attraction and overwhelming feeling of rightness won't let him stay away from Lena. Poor Ezra is a tortured hero, and he's honest with her from the start. I love how he never once views Lena as anything other than an attractive, smart, and wonderful woman he could fall for.
There's a lot of head-hopping in this book. We see insight from every main character, and a lot of the secondary ones. Normally that would bug me, but in this story it only intensified the suspense and helped me to try and piece together what was going on. We get to know the heroes and heroines in the upcoming books pretty well. I'm not sure it will be possible to read this series out of order, and I'm not even sure why someone would want to! You learn an amazing amount of info in this book. And I'm pretty certain Lena's dog, Puck, knows who the killer is! I even think I may know, but Ms. Walker does such a good job of surprising me a few times that I could be wrong.
One of my favorite Puck-related quotes between Lena and Ezra: "You still insist on going to work?"
"Shit." Nudging her off his lap, he said, "Fine. I'm driving you. I'm picking you up. If anybody says one wrong thing to you, tell Puck to eat him."
I'm glad I waited closer to the release date for books 2 and 3 (If You See Her, If You Know Her) before reading this. The ending of If You Hear Her
is a plot cliffhanger! That would have irked me something fierce if not for the perfect way our hero and heroine's relationship is settled. I feel satisfied they will have their happily ever-after!
On a side-note: Am I the only one thinking this series would make a GREAT movie?! lol