Overview from www.bn.com: U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he’d rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the cold-hearted workaholic haven’t warmed in the five years since she drove her husband–and Jake’s best friend–to despair . . . and possible suicide.
As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he’s forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life–and his heart–are in danger.
Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment launches a thrilling series featuring three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice.
This is not my usual type of story. It has a little more romance than I would like and although I occasionally like thrillers, they are not my favorite genre. This one, however, was exceptional.
The romance was not the main focus of the story nor was it too much. Also the thriller didn’t spell everything out for the reader, which I like. I don’t know why but I am always a little disappointed when I read a thriller that tells you right up front who the killer is. I guess I prefer having a little mystery to solve and this one didn’t disappoint me in that way. We don’t find out how the killer is until the characters do although, I did have my suspicions.
As characters go, I would say that for the most part, you can’t get much better than the ones we have here. I particularly like the female characters like Liz and Allison. I wasn’t as wild about Jake. Though I did like the Morettis, both of them. It was nice that the author had some Italian characters who were not mobsters or total idiots. And later, they play a crucial part in the plot.
I must also say that I related well to the idea of having a wrong impression about someone who you don’t know well. Like Jake, I too have come to the wrong conclusion about people I have known in the past and, well, quite frankly, its embarrassing. For him, however, it happened much more quickly than it has in my cases. As the author puts it:
“Five days ago when he’d walked through the doors of the ER at St. John’s, he couldn’t have cared less what Liz Michaels thought about he. Now he cared. A lot.” p. 104
Finally, I have to mention what I liked best about the novel, aside from the characters. I loved the way it touched on the subjects of God and faith. There is an underlining theme of trusting in God in bad times that comes through but, and this is what makes me love it all the more, it is not heavy-handed.
We have conversations between characters, and several forays into their minds to show us how they have trusted in God in the past but no Scripture verses are mentioned that I recall (though I wouldn’t have minded it as long as it wasn’t overdone). And, while the great female characters I mentioned before keep encouraging both Jake and his brother to turn back to God and the church, we don’t see them beating either one of them over the head with their Bibles. Thus, we the readers don’t feel beat over the head with it yet, we don’t feel ashamed to be thinking about trusting God during bad situations. Here’s an example where Liz talks to Jake about his feelings towards the Almighty:
“‘You’re not comfortable talking about faith, are you?’
“The knot in his stomach tightened. Maybe if he was honest she’d drop it. ‘No. It’s a very personal subject.’
“He held his breath. When the silence in the room lengthened, he released it, grateful she’d gotten the hint and…
“‘You mentioned once you’d stopped going to church after Jennifer died.’
“Shoving his hands in his pockets, he kept his back to her. And remained mute.” p. 128
Also, as part of the romantic angle of the story, we are privy to the thoughts of both Liz and Jake. Though there is no sexual relationship in this plot, since Jake must keep his relationship with Liz on a professional level if he is to protect her, we know that both Jake and Liz are physically attracted to one another but at the same time feel compelled to honor their devotion to God and duty. All of these things together make the story more realistic in my opinion. And I feel both safe and proud to recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.
Contains: some sexual innuendo, and violence.