If you ever watched the movie, The Fast and Furious, you know that those cars are stripped down to the bare essentials and then loaded up with nitro to give the vehicle an extra boost. This is how I feel about Rebecca Zanetti’s latest romantic suspense, Lethal Lies, book 2 in the Blood Brothers series. From the first chapter, I declare that I am “all in” for this book. This story is streamlined to fuel the pace, amp the drama, and let the romance burn hot.
To bring you up to speed: Blood Brothers is a spinoff series from the author’s popular Sin Brothers books. These seven men are genetically engineered to be the ultimate soldier with enhanced abilities and specialized training. The Sin Brothers meet and are raised in a highly secret training facility. Each step of their evolution is monitored and noted for research. The three Jones brothers, aka Blood Brothers, meet in a boys’ home after being orphaned. These men are not necessarily genetically related (although we find out that Shane and Heath are from the same genetic line) but forge a brotherhood by the blood they shed. They also have one other thing in common – Dr. Isobel Madison. She is the scientific mastermind behind these engineered men. Both sets of brothers escape Dr. Madison’s madhouse lab. The Jones brothers set up shop in Washington. Their Lost Bastards Investigative Services is in hot pursuit of the Copper Killer. This is a carryover story from the first book, Deadly Silence. The search for the serial killer is the central storyline in which our couple, Heath Jones and Anya Best, meet.
Anya loses her FBI Agent sister, Loretta, to the Copper Killer. He takes red-headed women who are related to law enforcement officers. Trying to solve the case on her own, Loretta falls prey. Anya in her grief and desolation is determined to find the killer herself. She is joined by Heath Jones, who has worked with Loretta on this case in the recent past. As the net closes on the serial killer, Anya and Heath must negotiate the feelings for one another and decide whether they can overcome their personal obstacles to be together.
When I say that this story is stripped down to the essentials, I mean that there is rawness of emotions that lives on the surface. With Loretta’s death, Anya is now an orphan and although Loretta was her half-sister, Anya always had a connection with her. She is mourning her death and feeling guilty because she put this killer on Loretta’s radar. Heath is the middle Jones brother. As a young boy, he watched his mother die at the hands of another bad boyfriend. He carries the guilt of not being able to help her. As an adult, it is easy to feel his overwhelming sense of protectiveness for the weak and abused. When it is revealed that the Copper Killer is fixated on Anya, her situation hits all his trigger points. In her words, he is “dark, deadly and sexy as hell.”
Often with romantic suspense, I find myself measuring the strength of the romance against the suspense elements. There should be a good balance of both. Characters are in highly stressful situations and it is easy to fall into adrenaline-fueled lust. Tah-dah, insta-love reigns. But does the couple have what it takes to successfully navigate a relationship for the long run? What draws the couple together? With overprotective alphas like Heath, many times they do not feel worthy of a deep, meaningful relationship and frankly, they do not have the lifestyle for it. So there has to be something compelling about the heroine to make the hero pause and reevaluate his life. This author does a fine job integrating all those elements. Anya is kind, giving, smart, and has plenty of moxie. She throws caution to the wind and takes a chance on this enigma, Heath Jones. She is the yin to his yang.
If you are not a fan of long, dragged out mysteries, do not fear. The storyline with the serial killer that began in Deadly Silence is completed in Lethal Lies. However, not all the questions are answered and there is still the menace of Dr. Isobel Madison. We are also introduced to her super, super-soldier, Daniel. He oozes danger and peril. He is surely a character to note for future books. Undoubtedly, we have lots of good reading ahead in the Blood Brothers series.
Hugs,Tags: 4 stars, Blood Brothers series, rebecca zanetti, romantic suspense, Sunny