|Berkley, 2008 (FictionDB)|
The topic of this month is More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile)
Genre: Contemporary / Romantic Suspense
My Rating: 4 stars
Part of a series: I-Team #3
In June we have to look for an author with more than one book in our TBR list.
It was in my TBR pile because I loved “First Strike” and Striking Distance, so I wanted to read more of her books. I bought several of her novels and some of them are still in my TBR pile.
I love romance and suspense, therefore romantic suspense is one of my favourite subgenres. Last year I discovered Pamela Clare, with the translation of Striking distance. I even read the very hot novella “First Strike”. Recently, someone has told me that she considered that the I-Team series was just marvellous, and the best one, this Unlawful Contact.
I understand why, because this is a perfect example of romantic suspense. Trigger warning: rape & violence in prison are some of its issues.
The beginning is very tender, with Sophie and Marc as two teenagers that have a very romantic night under the stars. They don’t meet again until Sophie, now a journalist, goes to prison to interview an inmate who is no other than Marc, although she does not recognize him at first. He wants to get away from prison in order to help his sister, who has disappeared with her baby.
Both Marc and Sophie are quite complex characters. None of their childhoods have been easy –especially, not Marc’s. Sophie has got a job she loves, and she has a lot of emotional support from her friends. Marc was in the army, fighting in Afghanistan and then he worked for the DEA, but he ended up in jail for killing another federal agent. It is difficult to connect with a hero convicted of murder. And this is truer when the first thing you see is him threatening Sophie’s life. But I think you accept it because you know that he is not willing to carry out his threat.
Nevertheless, a criminal hero is usually difficult to accept. So you are the entire book telling yourself that ‘this cannot be true’, ‘something must be wrong’, this is a romance novel so ‘he cannot be a bad gay’, ‘there was a mistake’ or ‘surely there was a good reason for that person to die’.
Marc’s sister has disappeared. Her life is in danger. Marc wants to find out where she is in order to protect her. Or, if he cannot achieve that, at least he wants to know who wants to kill her, and that way perhaps he can stop the bad guys. It will not be easy and very difficult if he’s alone, so in the end, perhaps he will need Sophie’s help. This, of course, means more danger for both of them.
The sexual tension between the main characters is superb. And when they have sex, it’s described in very detailed and explicit scenes. These moments are not always required by the plot, but who cares, they are really hot! This is of Pamela Clare’s strong points as a writer, isn't it?
The romantic - emotional part was a little bit more difficult for me to understand. I was quite confused and not very sure about their exact feelings when they were young or in which moment the fall in love. The circumstances were so difficult and out of the ordinary that they made me wonder whether they would be able to have a good relationship in the future in a common, day-to-day situation.
The suspense is very accomplished. It’s one of those books that pass the pick up/put down test with flying colours. A fast reading that I read in just one day. I couldn’t stop reading it. I needed to know what was going to happen next.
A very good thing about this book is how it describes the prison world. You see it from the perspective of an inmate, and it makes you think about things like human dignity, regardless of the crimes one could have committed. It makes you wonder, for instance, if female prisoners receive a good medical care. It is obvious that Pamela Clare knows what she’s talking about, that she has researched these issues, as she was a columnist and investigative reporter.
And the landscape is great. The Rocky mountains, a lot of snow, crystal clear skies, I loved it!
It’s not a perfect suspense novel. In the end, the plot was not too complex. At least if you've read enough suspense novels, romantic or not, you more or less have an idea of what happened in the past and who is the culprit. I always want surprising plot twists or unexpected revelations.
The end and particularly the epilogue, sounded awfully cheesy for my taste, with all that family happiness and many children here and there. And all that brotherly love? I really didn’t buy it. None of my brothers would be half so supportive and protective.
Another thing I was not very comfortable with was the fact that there were many secondary characters that had really nothing to do with the main plot. It was clear they were there just because they are the main characters of other I-Team books.
But those were very little and personal issues, because this was a great book that I enjoyed a lot. And if I cannot go into detail about more things about it it’s because it’s a suspense novel and I don’t want to reveal much of the plot.