Series: Cold Justice #8
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
ASAC Steve (Mac) McKenzie is out to prove himself by leading a task force investigating a series of murders in the heart of Washington, DC. His undercover work in an antigovernment compound twenty years earlier is related—as is the sweet, innocent girl he befriended back then. Now that girl is a beautiful woman, and she has something to hide.
Tess Fallon spent a lifetime trying to outrun her family’s brand of bigotry, but someone is threatening her anonymity by using the anniversary of her father’s death to carry out evil crimes and she’s terrified her younger brother is involved. She sets out to find the truth and comes face-to-face with a man she once idolized, a man she thought long dead. As the crimes escalate it becomes obvious the killer has an agenda, and Tess and Mac are running out of time to stop him.
Will the perpetrator use a decades-old dream of revolution to attack the federal government? And will the fact that Tess and Mac have fallen hard for each other give a cold-hearted killer the power to destroy them both?
To say I was disturbed by the subject matter of this book is a huge understatement and it’s taken me a bit to time to sort out my feelings about this story. Ms. Anderson is without a doubt an amazing writer and every one of her books that I’ve read shows her dedication to her writing, especially the attention to details and the research that makes her stories so authentic. COLD MALICE is filled with suspense and intrigue, so well written that it blurs the lines between fact and fiction, and will leave you pondering which came first. Personally, this is one book that had me caught between wanting to finish a really well written story and not wanting to dive deeper into the dark subject matter.
In a previous life, Tess Fallon was the daughter of a white supremacist extremist, raised on a steady diet of hate and anti-government sentiments. Luckily for Tess, she was a curious little girl who was resistant to the extreme messaging and coupled with a guardian angel in the form of a new recruit to her father’s group, she escaped the battle between the group and the government with little physical harm. However, she grew up determined to hide her past and give her baby brother a chance to grow up untainted by their history, which she did but Tess may have underestimated the fervor of her father’s disciples because twenty years later, her father’s vile ideology is being brought to life and she finds herself being drawn back into the horror she escaped so long ago.
Enter FBI agent Steve ‘Mac’ McKenzie. Mac was the long-ago recruit who became Tess’s guardian angel and was instrumental to taking down the extremists, and with the new events so closely reflecting that ideology, it would be remiss of him not to check into what Tess has been up to since he last saw her. Only, he does not expect that the ten-year old who was more mature than her age so long ago would grow up to become a woman who could bring him to his knees so easily.
An upwardly mobile senior FBI agent and the daughter of an extremist are not a very good combo (an understatement, I know) if one plans to have a career with the agency, but their shared past and the new feelings are too powerful to ignore. I would have like Mac a little more if he hadn’t gotten involved with Tess in the middle of this investigation and I think that using their connection to further his goals was really low for that reason only, especially with her past and using her trust in him so carelessly.
Tess got a bad deal all around and it’s a testament to her character that she she was the person she grew up to become: strong, loyal and protective in spite of a history that would make her a pariah if it became public.
The author touched on some real stuff. Is redemption real? Do the sins of the father haunt the child forever? Can a person really rise above their past? COLD MALICE was a thrilling read and only leaves me excited for more from Ms. Anderson. My only complaints are that the romance between Mac and Tess wasn’t as well-developed as the suspense part of the story and that Mac didn’t get to grovel as much as he should have.