30 November 2015

Review: Deadlock by DiAnn Mills

Unconvincing Romance but Excellent Suspense

Amazon Description

Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.

My Review

I’m a longtime fan of DiAnn Mills’s romantic suspense novels—I love her plots, her characters, the fast pace, and the way she weaves in the romance. After all, that’s a vital part of any romantic suspense novel!

The suspense plot in Deadlock was excellent, with a series of murders which might be a serial killer—or might be a copycat killer imitating a serial killer. The plot was fast-paced, with plenty of twists and turns, and an end which surprised me (no, I didn’t see that coming!) and pleased me (I actually don’t like working out whodunit halfway through).

What was less good was the relationship between Bethany and Thatcher, professional and personal. A lot was made about how they were opposite characters, but then they both did things which were out of character at some point in the story. But what I liked even less was the complete lack of romantic tension between the two.

In some of Mills’s novels, like Breach of Trust, the tension between the lead couple sizzled (without ever being inappropriate for a Christian novel), and as a reader I could almost feel the fireworks without a word being said on the page. In contrast, Deadlock felt like I was being told they were attracted to each other, but never really seeing it. In fact, at one point I questioned whether Thatcher was actually the Other Man, and I’d missed working out who the hero was. Oops.

Deadlock is the third book in the FBI Houston series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel (I actually thought it was the first in the series, even though I’ve actually read the first—Firewall—because none of the characters seemed familiar.) Read it as a pure thriller/suspense novel and you’ll probably think it’s great. Just don’t expect much from the romance.

Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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