Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Broken (Apostles #1), by Shelley Coriell

Forever, ISBN 9781455528493, April 2014

Kate Johnson is in hiding.

Three years ago, her brother tried to kill her, and tried again after she left the hospital. Kate Johnson is a new name. She's gone from broadcast journalist to home health aide and online jewelry maker. For the last several months, she's been working for old soldier Smokey Joe, who is happy to run her online business in exchange for having someone who is patient and competent with his PTSD, and who doesn't think he's helpless because he's blind.

But the idyll is coming to an end. Someone has been killing women broadcast journalists, every four weeks, with the exact MO that Kate's brother Jason used when he tried to kill her. The killer has been dubbed the Broadcaster Butcher, and there's no doubt in Kate's mind that he's trying to force her out of hiding so that he can finish the job of killing her.

And FBI Special Agent Hayden Reed is on the trail of the Butcher, and has connected the unsuccessful attack on Katrina Erickson--Kate's former name--to the Butcher.

Kate is smart and tough and leads with her feelings. As a Reno tv journalist, she was famous for her "Justice for All" segments. Hayden is smart and tough and leads with logic, but the feelings are there, deep and powerful, even though locked down. They are both grownups. At no point is Kate a mere damsel in distress, and at no point is Hayden an off-the-shelf Knight in Shining Armor. They are both strong characters with their own strengths and weaknesses, and both major players in what happens.

The plot is nicely complex, with multiple very neatly laid red herrings to distract the reader from noticing the real Butcher. The secondary characters--Hatch, Evie, Smokey Joe, Maeve--are very well done, and Lottie is an absolute delight.

There are times when Coriell seems to be dragging the information out a bit slowly, but if you want a nicely exciting suspense story with good characters and good relationship building, this is it.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.