Summary from BN.com: U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward Liz haven't warmed in the five years since she lost her husband--and Jake's best friend--to possible suicide. How can Jake be expected to care for the coldhearted workaholic who drove his friend to despair? As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, his feelings slowly start to change. When it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in mortal danger.
I have enjoyed Irene Hannon's books in the romantic suspense genre because I feel that they give me more of what I want: suspense over romance. I want the story to focus more on the action and adventure while having the romance be a secondary subplot. It can be there but I would rather see the couple engage in the suspense than actually getting engaged.
This book is packed with suspense right from the beginning. The reader is taken on a thrilling ride as what looked to be a domestic related shooting turns into a whole lot more. As a federal judge, Liz's life is in danger and the assassin is unknown. Hannon however shows the reader the assassin and we see things from his point of view. I found reading about to be more interesting than Liz and Jake's escapades. Learning his back story didn't really make me more sympathetic for him. I found it sad at the way he chose to focus his attentions on. The details of the type of government that was presented were quite scary as I know that there are actual groups out there that do believe in that sort of thing.
While reading this book, I was eerily reminded of the events in the book and the tragic shooting involving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon. The situation there was taking place during the exact time frame that I was reading the book so it was a bit scary to see so many parallels between the two situations. Both featured an citizen who was angry with the government, interesting in radical movements and ultimately decided to take things into their own hands in an extremely violent way. While I don't like seeing what I read come to life, at the same time it's strangely exciting to see a book written in such a true to life way.
This is one of the reasons why I do love Hannon's books over other Christian romantic suspense writers. Her books are well researched and actually show real situations and not focus on just the love story. As for the love story itself, I felt it was believable and while maybe just a tad rushed, I felt that I could buy it. Unlikely most couples in Christian fiction, Jake and Liz have a history together and a past that they share. This allows for more development because they have something to build on and aren't just meeting for the first time and falling in love 3 days later. It's a more mature relationship that has issues that must be dealt with first.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The suspense is top notch, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel. All the characters in the book are very intriguing and well developed. Even Martin's sister, who I thought wasn't going to be a big deal in the story, ended up surprising me with the depth of her character. This is another winner from Hannon and I wish more romantic suspense authors who write in this field would take notes from her. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon is published by Revell (2011)
This review copy was provided by the publisher