Final Exit, by Laurie Breton

>> Wednesday, July 16, 2003

My next read was Final Exit, by Laurie Breton. I got the Australian edition, a trade paperback. I hate the trend of books being published as TPB, basicall because they're much more expensive to buy (and to ship, always a consideration in my case), but I can't deny they're aesthetically much more pleasing. If only I had the money to buy everything hard-back or TPB!

Ten years ago tragedy tore them apart . . . But when FBI special agent Carolyn Monahan walks back into the life of homicide lieutenant Conor Rafferty, the sizzle is undeniable. They are back together, albeit reluctantly, to find the serial killer who is terrorizing Boston.

Caro has made a successful career of putting homicidal maniacs behind bars, and Rafferty is a good cop who's been handed the case of a lifetime. Amid bureaucratic red tape and a mounting body count, they uncover evidence that points to a decade-old unsolved homicide. The tension escalates when the killer develops a psychotic preoccupation with Caro herself.

As the pressure builds to solve the murders, so does the attraction between Caro and Rafferty. But the question remains: Who will get to Caro first, the killer or the cop?
This was a B+. It was "one of those serial killer books". I've mentioned I don't tend to like even the suspense subplots in straight-ish romance, but, nevertheless, I sometimes go for a romantic suspense with a good balance of romance and suspense.

Final Exit wasn't particularly original or ground-breaking, but it was extremely well put-together and I enjoyed it. The author really had me going in the exact direction she wanted me to with the mystery, completely convinced the murderer was a certain character -let's call him A-, and that the little signs pointing to character B were just red herrings. But no, it was character B all along, and I can't very well complain about anything because all the clues were right there. I was just to enamoured of my original theory, apparently ;-)

The mystery was excellent and the characters and romance were good, too. The author managed a large cast very well, making an excellent job of the characterization.

I liked both protagonists, as well. I liked the fact that they had a history, because this made it much more believable that a significant relationship would develop in the midst of a stressful investigation. Both Carolyn and Conor were likeable and their relationship was sweet.

Why not an A-range grade? Two reasons. First, the book didn't have that special zing. You know, the thing that has you reading with a clenched stomach, not necessarily for the suspense, but because you feel what you're reading in your gut. Second, at times I had a nagging sense that I'd read this before, especially some dialogue.

Still, a very enjoyable book from a new-to-me author. Will be looking for her backlist and anticipating her next.

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