Reading Selena Montgomery’s latest romantic suspense has got to be one of the more bizarre reading experiences I’ve had in recent memory. It has a compelling premise, good characterizations, and an interesting suspense thread that kept me eagerly flipping the pages. Then I got to the end and I got very, very angry.
Fresh out of high school Kell Jameson, with friends Fin and Julia, find themselves outside of an abandoned warehouse engulfed in flames, carrying a backpack with $300,000 inside. They’re three black girls, with dubious reputations, all living in the same foster home – so needless to say, they aren’t terribly keen on running to the cops. So the girls split the money and hit the road, vowing to never speak of the night again and only having contact with each other a couple of times a year.
Fast-forward 16 years and her foster mother Mrs. Faraday has called Kell home to Hallden, Georgia. Clay Griffin, a local drug dealer and all around scumbag, has been found murdered, and circumstantial evidence points directly to Mrs. Faraday. Still taking care of foster children, the woman is panicked and calls Kell to help her out. Now a well-known, celebrity defense attorney (think Johnnie Cochran with a better figure and prettier face), Kell does not hesitate to return to Hallden to help Mrs. Faraday, even though going back to the scene of that ill-fated night makes her skin crawl.
Kell quickly runs into Sheriff Luke Calder, who takes one look at her and falls head over heels. He’s smitten, although he’s smart enough to know that Kell is hiding something. She’s a puzzle he’d love to solve, but first he has to find Clay’s killer, and deal with the two skeletons they just dug up at the site of the old warehouse.
I was immediately sucked into this story thanks to the mystery of Clay’s murder, although the romance is extremely problematic. Kell is a consummate liar. Either by omission or straight to your face, it doesn’t matter. She spends this whole story lying. And when she’s confronted by her lies? She clams up and refuses to tell Luke anything. The poor guy practically begs her to be honest with him over the course of the entire story, and yet she still holds back. Call me skeptical, but when there is no trust, how am I as the reader supposed to believe in the romance?
However, I was willing to overlook this. Normally a lying main character is a big issue for me in romance novels, but Montgomery’s writing is compelling; not to mention Luke is a major hunk. I was rolling with it. Then the ending shows up and shreds what remaining goodwill I had left for this book.
There is no ending! Want to know who murders Clay? Want to know what really happened the night of the warehouse fire? Yeah, so do I! The author leaves the reader hanging. In fact, nothing is resolved. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Reckless is literally Part I of a three-part saga. I’m amazed it doesn’t say “To Be Continued” at the end of the final chapter.
To say I’m annoyed is a huge understatement. Not only do I not get any closure to the story, but I also feel manipulated into reading the next two books in this series. Essentially, Reckless is 370+ pages of set-up. Nothing is resolved and nothing is finished; which just irritates the hell out of me. I liked this story. I really did. I also understand that writing a series arc that will fit into a trilogy means that some story lines will carry over. I can understand if the author wanted to keep the warehouse fire up in the air for the next two books, but to not solve the murder? To leave the ending so open that the reader is actually left with more unanswered questions? Yeah, no thanks. I’m done.
Independent, stunning, and smart, Kell Jameson has the life she’s always dreamed about. A partner at a tony Atlanta law firm that represents famous—if guilty—clients, she’s far from her days as a lonely orphan in rural Georgia. But one frantic phone call will bring her back to the place she’s spent years trying to escape. The head of her childhood orphanage has been accused of murder, and Kell is her only hope for freedom.
From the first moment Kell meets Sheriff Luke Calder, tempers and attraction flare. Ruggedly handsome and a stickler for law and order, Luke finds Kell compelling. Unfortunately, she represents his prime suspect. Forced to work together, they dig deep into the town’s scandals . . . but Kell has a secret of her own. She trusts Luke enough to fall in love—but does she trust him enough to reveal the reckless past she’s worked so hard to keep hidden?