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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

May 1, 2020

Tactical Crime Division Series~ a Review

by MK French

Harlequinn Intrigue has a new series of romantic suspense. The four authors of the series know how to bring the tension, both with the crime the characters are investigating and the romance between the characters. Two books are already out and you won't have to wait long for books 3 and 4 as one is being release each month.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

48 Hours by Carla Cassidy (Book 1)

March 2020; Harlequin Intrigue; 978-1335136398
ebook, print (256 pages); romantic suspense
Agent Evan Duran insists on being part of the team negotiating with the armed men taking over a school in Tennessee after he finds out that his ex, Annalise Taylor, is one of the teachers caught inside with the students. He needs to use all of the TCD resources to save her and the children.

All of the books in the TCD series can be read in any order, and I actually read this one last. Here, Annalise is caught inside with the girls in one classroom, a wounded teacher and her student is in another, and there are dead bodies as well. It's a harrowing situation for Annalise to be caught in, and she keeps her cool as best as she can while there are armed men with volatile tempers there, as well as the leader's wife, who has an even shorter temper than the leader does. Outside of the school, Evan is dealing with the local police force being less than competent, difficulty finding a way to connect as the hostage negotiator when the men won't speak other than to threaten, and difficulty tracking down why or how the men even picked the school in the first place. There is continual tension all around, even after the school is emptied.

There is the sexual tension and rehashing of their past relationship once Evan and Annalise are together in person, which leads to more of an emotional conflict that they have to work through. On top of that is the work to get information about the group that took over the school, and to find the missing student. This adds further tension in the book until we get to the end. All questions are answered and the day is saved, just as we know it will be. It's getting there that will be the fun part for the reader.

Buy 48 Hour Lockdown at Amazon

Secret Investigation by Elizabeth Heiter (Book 2)

April 2020; Harlequin Intrigue; 978-1335136459
ebook, print (256 pages); romantic suspense
When the TCD is called to investigate the failure of tactical armor during a military training op overseas, Agent Davis Rogers asks to help go undercover. He had known one of the dead soldiers, and wants to get to the truth of what happened at Petrov Armor. The company's new CEO Leila Petrov is willing to help to keep her company's reputation intact, and their mutual attraction doesn't hurt. But is their joint effort enough to discover the truth?

Leila from the start is tough and determined, a good quality in a CEO. She ignores her own grief and the thought that she's too young to run the company, and pushes away any attraction she has to Davis. He also avoids the attraction to do his job, and the two of them do get along very well. They're serious about the investigation into the armor failure, and the other members of the team investigate from outside the company. The main suspects are all those that had worked with the company for years, adding betrayal to murder and greed. Leila confronts her fears as to who the actual traitor is, though it takes time to discover who that actually is. The chase in the final quarter of the novel heightens the tension until we get to the very end, which is a satisfying conclusion.

Buy Secret Investigation at Amazon

Midnight Abduction by Nichole Severn (Book 3)

May 2020; Harlequin Intrigue; 978-1335136527
ebook, print (256 pages); romantic suspense
Benning Reeves' twins are kidnapped in the middle of the night, and he requests the help of his ex, Agent Ana Sophia Ramirez of the Tactical Crime Division. She broke his heart years ago when she left abruptly to further her career, but he knows she is the one to help him. As for Ana, getting involved with him would make her lose focus, as it had on the case she couldn't solve before. But the two cases are tied together, and time is running out to discover how.

Children in danger can be a tricky plot hook because some people can't tolerate the thought of it and others are turned off by kids' presence entirely. Here, there is definitely a threat to the children, but they aren't harmed outright or tortured. Rest easy on that count. That doesn't mean there isn't action, because there is definitely plenty of that. Ana fights hard and continues even after shot, thrown through a window and struck on the head repeatedly. For that matter, Benning also continues to fight for his children as well and refuses to give up hope that he will find his son after his daughter was thrown out of a car and her safety was at risk.

The kids are clever for six years old, and Ana handles Olivia's trauma well. She's a fighter as well as Ana and Benning and tries her best to protect her family. That doesn't mean she was unaffected by the abduction and her brother, because she doesn't want to sleep alone at night and is comforted by others with her. It's a normal response to a traumatic situation, and also brings Ana and Benning back together. The clues sprinkled throughout the story at first seem like there are red herrings as well, but they do all wind up tying together at the end because Ana is clever as well. At the end, we get the closure we need as well, and it's a great way to close their story.

Buy Midnight Abduction at Amazon

Running Out of Time by Cindi Myers (Book 4)

June 2020; Harlequin Intrigue; 978-1335136589
ebook, print (256 pages); romantic suspense
Two TCD agents go undercover to investigate who tainted over the counter medication at a pharmaceutical company in Tennessee. Soon after Jace Cantrell and Laura Smith pose as a newly married couple applying for jobs, bombs are placed, upping the ante for the investigation.

Laura is the agent that prefers to follow the rules and get all the data first, while Jace is known as the agent that can wiggle around the rules a bit. Of course, they clash, and of course, that means there's an attraction between them as they go undercover. The fake marriage trope is well played here, complete with sharing a bathroom, cooking for each other, and driving to work together. This novel plays off small-town life and the secrets that the company owners and staffers keep. It was hard enough to investigate how some of the bottles of medication were tainted with ricin, but then the bombings begin, adding another layer to the investigation.

I really enjoyed this one, not just for the romantic tension, but for the multi-pronged investigation. I felt just as invested in that aspect of the story, and my guesses as to who did it was a little bit off. My guesses followed the TCD's investigation track, so at least I made the same connections they did! All of the characters have their own motivations and secrets, which made them more than one-dimensional caricatures. I appreciated that because it really felt as though there were consequences to the choices that the agents made within the community, and not just for their relationships.

Buy Running Out of Time at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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