Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vile ~ Debra Webb (Faces of Evil #8)

You can find the author here and the book here or at any major retailer. (I probably should state that the links to Amazon are not affiliate links, but I do prefer Amazon to just about everything).

Vile Debra Webb Cover

Deputy Chief Jess Harris knows her time is running out. Somehow she must protect the people she loves and any more innocent victims from the serial killer obsessed with her.

Is sacrificing herself the only way to stop this evil?

The Faces of Evil series by Debra Webb is one of the most engrossing, addicting series of romantic thrillers I have ever read.  I received the first four novels at once, for review, and devoured them in something like three weeks.  I was hooked long before I received books five and six in the mail. 

2013-07-19 16.31.34

So, okay.  Yes, there’s that.  Every time I open my ‘book closet’ I’m greeted by this pile of brightly colored books.  It’s a happy experience.  (Well, until you see the state of my book closet, but we’re not going there today.)

As with every book in this series, Vile picks up immediately where Vicious left off.  Meaning, each and every novel so far has ended in an ‘holy guacamole you did not just stop right there’ sort of way.  Although cliffhangers like these can be extremely difficult to deal with, it makes picking up the next in line so much easier to do.  There’s no set up, no gentle easing into the story – nope – you’re grabbed by one arm and drug right back into the middle of the action.  Vile isn’t any exception. 

Vile is, to date, the most intense installment in this series.  Not only does Jess have her usual issues to deal with – internal strife at work, dead bodies, her family, etc. – but also an entirely new set of issues arise in the form of a pregnancy, someone trying to frame Dan, and oh, yeah: Eric Spears’ newfound following of nuts.  Vile finally starts to bring together some of the bits and pieces Ms. Webb planted in earlier novels, helping to draw the strings just a bit tighter. 

I’ve mentioned this in other reviews, but truly the thing that makes these books so readable is the big bad: Eric Spears.  Why?  I’m not entirely certain, but my theory is this: he seems so normal.  Not like the crazies you see on Criminal Minds or other shows like that, the kind that you can see coming a mile away.  No, The Player is handsome, he’s smart, he’s charming and he’s rich.  He’s that reclusive businessman that no one gives a second thought to because he’s ‘just a little eccentric’.  Oops – we mean he’s a serial killer, sorry. 

I know that in the end, Jess, Dan, and the Birmingham Police Department are going to bring him down, and I’ll be sad when it happens.  Partly because some tiny bit of me wants to see him thumb his nose at the world, but the biggest part of me screams, “There’ll be no more books once they do!”

On the flip side, book nine – Heinous – releases on my birthday. 

Side note: If you’re wondering where the reviews for the first seven books and the prequel are, I reviewed them for another online site so I can’t post them here.  The are here, however.  Feel free to check them out as well as all the other amazing reviews posted over that way.

Disclaimer: I bought and paid for this e-book with my own hard-earned money because I’m a tiny bit addicted to this series. And maybe Eric Spears, too. Just a little though.

The Last O’Keefe: A Cassandra’s Cop Collectanea ~ Crystal Brewton (Part 2) ~ To Protect, Serve and Love

You can find the author here.  The anthology isn’t out yet, but check back as I’ll be sure to let you know when it is.

The Last OKeeffee Collectanea
To Protect, Serve and Love ~ Cassandra’s Cop was the first of Crystal Brewton’s books I ever read.  I’m still not entirely sure how I even stumbled across her (although back in those days, it was more than likely The Romance Studio’s Book-a-Day Giveaway, which is how I ‘met’ and fell in love with many authors).  Addled mind or not, I’m thankful that I did. 

Chicago is a city where murder, rape, assault and other heinous crimes are an every day occurrence. It is a place where most people can hear a scream and ignore it completely. Apathy reigns and all hope seems lost. Despite the appearance of a city entering the bowels of Hell itself, some of Chicago's citizens still care. Some people will still call the police when they hear a woman scream!

Chicago police officer John O'Keeffe and his partner get called to investigate a woman screaming. The call turns out to be a 14-Nora, a false alarm, but the alleged victim was John's favorite erotic fiction author, whom he'd been corresponding with through email for a year but had never expected to meet in person. He is glad to see she is not being attacked, disappointed that she is with another man, and excited by her nudity during the short false alarm call.

When his shift ends, John meets the strange woman as she is coming from his District station. She invites him for coffee and before the day is out, they fall in love. This story is about their first year together after their unique introduction.

And so begins John and Cass’ story.  From the very beginning, To Protect, Serve, and Love was different from any other erotic romance I’d read (which, at that point, hadn’t been many, but it still holds true today).  From the way they meet to the experiences they endure, it was all so very new to me.  Added bonus: it takes place in Chicago, a city very near and dear to my heart.  Double bonus: John’s a redhead and so is my husband. 

John starts out as a bit of a stereotype – redheaded Irishman from a large family who becomes a cop.  That’s also about where the stereotype ends, as well.  John O’Keefe is a kind-hearted, loving man with a passion for justice and his woman.  That he can be both strong and caring is something that a lot of romance authors forget.  The hero doesn’t have to be a raging alpha male to be effective and protective.  He can have ‘feeeelings’ (to quote the King of Hell) and still be macho, manly, and desirable.  John is all of that and more.

Cassandra, on the other hand, wasn’t anything close to your usual heroine.  A self-employed erotic romance author, she took care of what needed to be done on her own – and did it with style.  However, even though she was as independent as it got, you didn’t have to wade through all of this ‘I don’t need no man’ baloney that too many heroines spew before fainting delicately into the hero’s embrace.  I know, that’s a bit harsh, but back in 2005-ish when I first started reading romance, that’s about all I seemed to find.  (Admittedly, I might have simply been picking the wrong books.)  Today, it’s different, but again, Cassandra Houston still holds up on her own as a unique heroine worthy of recognition.  A woman who can stand on her own but also knows when to lean on her man is a rare thing. 

To Protect, Serve, and Love sets the stage for the next three major Cassandra’s Cops novels, introducing you to John and Cass, as well as their friends, family, and the world they live in.  The story only gets better – and more passionate – from here on out. 

And, because I’m an ├╝ber dork (and just watched the Supernatural finale last night), I can’t resist.  This is for John:

feelings - crowley

Note: I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.