Top critical review
Antagonist way too obvious, too soon in the book
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2012
Nerves of Steel (Hart and Drake #1)
Sleight of Hand (Hart and Drake #2)
Face to Face (Hart and Drake #3)
Novel. Romance. Book 1 of the series is the best of the three, I think. I bought these novels on the 99-cent daily deal for escapist reading, and am glad I only paid 99 for these ones. The first book did its job reasonably well, with a reasonable (although of course unbelievable) set of new characters. The big handsome tough homicide detective who second guesses himself all the time and gets confused because he can't handle or understand his romantic partner.
The second book had way, way too much self-doubt, fear, second-guessing, fight and make up, misread interpretations, and then more of the same, round after round of this cha-cha-cha -- pages and pages of it while the narrative and plot went nowhere. Hart is the beautiful ER doctor who can work miracles with mangled people, counselling their families, and doing detective work beyond the police force on the side, of course. But then she too does the self-doubt, self-denigrating, confused over love cha-cha-cha with the big detective -- page after page of it - ugh. This book was the worst of the three.
The third book was better than the second because it had a bit less cha-cha in it, and had a few new characters to move the plot forward. Unfortunately for this one, the antagonist shows up very early in the book, and is much, much too easily recognized, so you know the outcome of the book all the while that you're wading through the cha-cha stuff.
I think these books probably fulfill their purpose as romance novels, but I'm probably not the best judge. I've certainly read routine Harlequins that had narratives that progressed more smoothly with far less manufactured cha-cha. I might recommend the first one to a friend who liked romance novels with self-doubt in them, but probably would not recommend the second two.
I sure don't understand the 4 and 5 star rankings of other reviews, that's for sure. Maybe my own limitations, I don't know.