13 September 2013

Review: Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantiore

Police Office Brinna Caruso is a dog handler in Long Beach (it’s a strange name, but the character does tell us the origin of the name, which illustrates a lot about her relationship with her parents). Her passion is finding kidnapped children—because she once was a kidnap victim. But Brinna’s role is placed under review when an arrest goes wrong, a suspect ends up dead and her name is plastered all over the newspapers.

She is partnered with Detective Jack O’Reilly, coming back to work for the first time since his wife died a year ago. He can’t face homicide—he can barely face life—so he is put out on patrol with Brinna. They are both initially uncertain about their new partners, as their reputations have preceeded them, but they will have to work out how to work together.

The first couple of chapters of Critical Pursuit are a bit slow, but the pace soon picks up when the reader realises that Brinna’s kidnapper is back in Long Beach, and is searching for his next ‘Special Girl’ to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Brinna’s rescue. We can see what is going to happen, but Brinna, Jack and the rest of the police force are oblivious, as records show the culprit died ten years ago. They think the messages left for Brinna at crime scenes are from a copycat killer, or perhaps a local paedophile who knows about Brinna’s Wall of Slime… This was a really good technique, as it really ramped up the tension and made the second half of the book a real page-turner.

Critical Pursuit is Christian fiction, and while it’s more gritty than most, it still manages to convey the damage done to Brinna all those years ago without getting into detail, and I appreciated that. The characters were strong, the writing was excellent, and the Christian aspects of the story were handled well. Recommended for those who enjoy a good thriller. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what’s next in store for Brinna and Jack.

Critical Pursuit was first published by OakTara as The Kevlar Heart in 2007. Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Janice Cantore at her website.

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