BLOG TOUR - Danger in Numbers
DANGER IN NUMBERS
Harlequin MIRA have very kindly given me access to the ARC of Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham and invited me to participate in their official BLOG TOUR! It is out TODAY (23rd March) and I'll start by telling you all about the book and the author and then I'll dive in with my review.
This Spring, Heather Graham returns with a sultry and shocking standalone thriller about an FBI special agent trying to run from his past and a state police agent bent on solving a horrifying crime, even if it leads the two of them into the web of a vicious cult. Graham deepens the intrigue and raises the stakes in DANGER IN NUMBERS.
On the edge of the Everglades, a brutal murder and an eerie crime scene set off an investigation that sends two agents deep into a world of corrupted faith, greed and deadly secrets. A ritualistic murder on the side of a remote road brings in the Florida state police. Special Agent Amy Larson has never seen worse, and there are indications that this killing could be just the beginning. The crime draws the attention of the FBI in the form of Special Agent Hunter Forrest, a man with insider knowledge of how violent cults operate, and a man who might never be able to escape his own past. The rural community is devastated by the death in their midst, but people know more than they are saying. As Amy and Hunter join forces, every lead takes them further into the twisted beliefs of a dangerous group that will stop at nothing to see their will done.
Heather Graham is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author has written over two hundred novels and novellas, has been published in approximately twenty-five languages and with about 60 million books sold in print in the categories of romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. For more information, visit her at TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com.
For previous crime thrillers I have examined how a book manages to either steer clear or fall into the well-worn traps of the over-saturated crime genre. I will do the same with this cult-based crime thriller: Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham.
My first criteria is to have an intriguing and interesting crime. Here I believe Danger in Numbers passes with flying colours. There are two main crimes which have a biblical element and are suitably gory in nature. There’s also a progression based on the four horseman and Revelations with the agents knowing what might come next and acknowledgement that the interpretation could be taken in any direction.
The second potential pitfall is the main characters. I have often spoken about the trope of ‘DI OldSchool GrizzleMan and his partner DC Woman WithIssues’ and I was a little worried at the beginning of the story that this would be the case here. However, very early into the book ‘DI OldSchool GrizzleMan’ is swiftly replaced by ‘FBI Agent Hunk McHottie’. This was a nice plot twist and kept Amy Larson on her toes whilst working with someone new. I liked Hunter Forrest’s (what a name!) backstory which is slowly explored throughout the book and makes him interesting and driven. Amy however, is less a woman with issues as she is a woman with no personality. She is good at drawing, which was a nice feature, although she seemed to be over-talented with a realism that felt forced (being able to accurately guess what someone looked like with hardly anything to go on was done far too often for my taste). She’s also a strong female character who can hold her own in a fight, however she didn’t seem to have much of a personality or backstory other than ‘that FBI guy sure is hot’ which was a shame.
The third pitfall is giving the series somewhere to progress – just enjoying the crime or the characters isn’t always a guarantee that a reader will invest in future books. The book felt like it played its hand a little too early here with Amy and Hunter together from halfway through the book. This takes away the ‘will they, won’t they’ element which is popular in other crime novels and would have been nice to include in future books. The little twist at the end set up a sequel but seemed to come out of nowhere and left me a bit confused.
My next criteria is a new one that I have included for this novel and that is the plotting of the story itself and here I saw the book very much fall down. With crime thrillers I’m very used to there being a big twist, a betrayal and a few red herrings which makes everyone a suspect and really challenges you as a reader. About a quarter of the way through, a character suggests a suspect who we have never met and doesn’t seem to be linked to any of the crimes, and then… that wild assumption ends up being correct. We only meet him right towards the end and they even start referring to him as the bad guy from around halfway through the novel. This was such a simple solution and was really disappointing. There’s a slight betrayal from one character but it was someone we weren’t overly convinced was on our side anyway. There’s also a missed opportunity with a hint that someone in law enforcement was helping them which sadly went nowhere. I was very much expecting the younger member of the FBI who kept being pointedly referred to as enthusiastic and diligent to be revealed as a member of the cult. This would have been a really nice twist and was sadly not used. The author just telling us who probably did it without introducing the reader to them or giving us a chance to be suspicious of them for ourselves didn’t make for a fun read.
Overall, Danger in Numbers was an ok read for me; there’s a nice set of crimes but two dimensional characters and a linear, uncomplex plot. Thank you to NetGalley & Harlequin – MIRA for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
LINKS TO BUY