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Drawing Fire

 
 
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Pros


Each time I feared things might devolve into sugary banalities, Abby manages to surprise me.

Cons


Starts off a bit slow; Serial killer's crimes don't come across as particularly heinous.


Bottom Line

“Drawing Fire” is a decent introduction to a new series by a seasoned fiction author.

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Posted January 21, 2016 by

 
Full Review
 
 

One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart.

With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her―one Luke is interested in as well.

As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

 

 I generally don’t go for Christian romance. It’s the top selling genre in Christian fiction (and mainstream fiction for that matter) and is generally full of saccharine sentimentality and a desire for the “good ole days.” Thankfully, this novel doesn’t take place during the Victorian era or on the Scottish highland plains. Drawing Fire, Book One in the “Cold Case Justice” series takes place right here in the present. Add to that the fact that it has more in common with Law & Order, COLD Case, and Chicago P.D. than it does to Little House on the Prairie or a Christian version of Pride & Prejudice, and a guy like me is more willing to take a chance on it.

Janice Cantore has written a page-turner here. Abby Hart, the story’s protagonist, is a strong female lead. Despite romance being a part of the mix, she does not come across as pathetic and needy. She’s strong-willed, determined, and dogged. Each time I feared things might devolve into sugary banalities, Abby manages to surprise me. As a guy, I appreciated this. Luke Murphy acts as a solid foil for Abby, constantly irritating her whilst also serving as a perfect partner, even if reluctantly so.

The book is not without its issues, however. For starters, it starts out interminably slow. I know this isn’t young adult fiction, so I shouldn’t expect to be dropped right into the action. But, Drawing Fire takes a little bit of time to get the main characters introduced and seems to plod along. Once the action and suspense start, though, things move along at a reasonable clip. Another gripe I have with the title is that the serial killer that Abby and Luke are hunting isn’t particularly gruesome. I’m not looking for details to tantalize and shock, per se. Perhaps the fact they are targeting senior citizens ought to be considered heinous enough. But, I feel like the lead up doesn’t always match the payoff. I constantly felt like the crimes Cantore directs us toward left me thinking, “Oh. Well, that’s really not all that bad.” Basically, what ought to be gruesome is sanitized. This may be the plight of writing fiction for a Christian female audience—generally speaking—but I still hoped for more realism.

Despite the title’s missteps, Drawing Fire is a decent introduction to a new series by a seasoned fiction author. Cantore writes believable characters, doesn’t always tie things up with a tidy bow, and keeps the reader guessing along the way. Definitely worth a read.


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