Joan Swan wrote this RITA® Reader Challenge review. This novel finaled in the Romantic Suspense category.
Plot Summary: FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She’s walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can’t ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses.
Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease . . . professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they’re reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims’ deepest, darkest fears for sport – but their investigative skills aren’t enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secrets from their past, the ones that terrify them the most, if they are to have a future together.
And here is Joan’s review:
I’m a sucker for a reunion story, so I was predisposed to enjoy the love story between Luke and Monica in DEADLY FEAR. But I’m also a very critical reader, and not just any reunion story will suffice. So I was thrilled when the reconnection between this hero and heroine proved intense, passionate and powerful. Not only does their relationship weave effortlessly into the quick-paced serial killer plot, but it fuses with the story in such a way that if either plot line were removed, the story wouldn’t hold together: the mark of a finely crafted romantic suspense.
Luke is strong, cunning, and so damn sexy I’m surprised I didn’t drool on the pages. (Maybe I did and didn’t notice.) Monica is strong and smart, but haunted, which keeps her at an emotional distance. When Monica’s darkest secret is exposed, one related to both the serial killer and her emotional scars, she and Luke have the opportunity to deepen their connection, now with a new understanding, trust and love—an artfully designed vulnerability and growth moment for both of them.
The external plot element that sets this serial killer premise apart from so many others is the way Eden creates a truly vicious criminal who uses each victim’s worst fear as the method by which he kills them. Simply brilliant conflict.
DEADLY FEAR is a quick-paced, deeply crafted, sexy, sexy, sexy, psychologically challenging read. Did I mention sizzling sexy? A tight, fast, must-turn-the-page, stay-up-all-night read.