[767]: Save Me From Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuk

I mentioned on my inaugural Listening Library post about how wonderful my Libby app has been. How it affords me the practice of perusing books, reading them, then buying a copy if I may so choose. This is one of those serendipitous occasions when I loved a book so much that I just had to get a copy.

I love a great whodunnit novel, but more so when it features a female detective. Nikki Griffin is one such character and more. She has this almost supernatural ability to stay level-headed during the most stressful situations. Even while she’s getting tortured and beaten to within an inch of her life. She has the strength and prowess of an MMA fighter and is probably the kind of person you would want in your corner if you happened to find yourself in an abusive relationship. In fact, besides being a bookstore owner, that’s exactly what she does: she hunts down violent, abusive men and give them a taste of their own medicine.

I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for a PI, but I’ve read a few of them whose traumatic dark pasts were the catalyst as to why they are in the profession. Nikki’s, however, seemed like the source of her superpower, so to speak. She has a brother who’s so far gone that she has no choice but enable his drug addiction. I also think that the guilt she carries of how he turned out plays a factor. She loves and cares too much for all the women she helped and the brother who is the source of both her strength and weakness.

It seems like I’ve only talked about Nikki and not about the case that is the crux of the novel. Basically, she was hired to follow an employee suspected of selling company secrets. But slowly but surely, she uncovers something far more sinister than what was let on. Allow me to be a bit of a nerd here for a moment. If you’ve seen Captain America: Winter Soldier, the premise of what Nikki uncovered was similar minus the super weapon that could target them The creation of a technology that will enable the government or any factions to eliminate suspected terrorists and supposed government enemies without due process.

The investigative part of this novel was done quite well. The twist was a surprise and didn’t feel like it was contrived. Overall, Save Me From Dangerous Men was a fantastic debut. A fast-paced, badass pulp fiction of a novel with an equally badass character. What’s more, she can freaking recommend a book on a dime. She’s well-read, fierce, and a kick ass vigilante/assassin who uses her smarts as much as she uses her muscle.

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[502]: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks

Avon | Kindle Edition, 307 pp.
Series: Slow Burn, #1
Published: October 7th, 2014
Adult Fiction | Suspense | Erotica | Thriller
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I picked up this book in part, because I wanted to join in the Valentine’s event hosted by The Bookish Groupies;¬†and also because I was in the mood for something spicy for Valentine’s. It was remiss of me to think that this book was going to be a romp in the sheets. I mean, sure it was hot. But because of the other dark themes in this book, I found myself unable to revel in all its erotic glory.

This book had me by the nose from the get go. It opens with Caleb barging in to Ramie’s hide out in the mountains. Caleb forces her to help him find his sister who was abducted by a depraved serial killer. Ramie has some abilities. I guess you can say they’re psychometric by nature. But while others can see the history of an object with a single touch, Ramie can only see through the eyes of one psychotic maniac.

The problem is, when Ramie touches the victim’s things, she also experiences every single torture that victim goes through. So, it’s pure hell for her every time. It’s the reason why she went into hiding in the first place. After she helped find Caleb’s sister, she took off again. A year later, the serial killer who was only biding his time until he can kill the one that got away, finds Ramie. Since she’d ran out of places to hide, she had no choice but to seek the protection that Caleb had offered her in the past.

As the serial killer gets closer to finding Ramie, the more she realizes that he has to be stopped. She has no choice but to use herself as the bait. Either way, the torture and the killings has to end. Even if it meant her inevitable, painful death.

I have read a few of Maya Banks’ books. She’s written a whole slew of them. If there is one thing that I’ve noticed about her stories, is that it takes .02 seconds for relationships (carnal or otherwise) to develop in her books. The same could be said for Caleb and Ramie. This was no slow burn. It took Caleb literally a few days before he realizes that he’s in love with Ramie. Now, I don’t blame the guy. I mean, if you were single-handedly the one person responsible for putting that woman in hell to save your sister, I think I can see why he would develop feelings for her quite easily. It’s a short trip from ardent admiration to lustful love.

Some of their interactions were a bit too sweet for my taste. Sometimes bordering on cheesy. It almost made me look forward to when the serial killer was in the throes of torturing his victim. And that’s saying a lot, because I’m typically a squeamish person.

I think that’s the only reason I’m rating this book three stars. Otherwise, it would’ve been a great read for romantic suspense fans. The best thriller reads are the ones that make a reader feel anxious to turn to the next page. I had sweaty palms, and my heartbeat was elevated while reading this book. A true testament to Ms. Banks’ success in creating the right environment for a suspenseful novel.


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