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If You See Her by Shiloh WalkerLaura C’s review of If You See Her (Ash Trilogy, Book 2) by Shiloh Walker
Romantic Suspense published by Ballantine 31 Jan 12

First things first: if you haven’t already read the first book in this series—If You Hear Her—you should run out and do so before you pick this up. The books are tied much more closely together than the usual trilogy. In fact, you may find the beginning of this a bit confusing if you haven’t read the first one. You’ll adjust quickly though, so if you find yourself a bit lost, just forge ahead; the rest will definitely be worth your while!

Hope Carson has the kind of past that should make me shudder as a reader. I’ve mentioned before how overdone I think the “abused wife running for her life” thing is. But Shiloh Walker doesn’t follow the formula here. Sure, Hope is an abuse survivor. But she’s not hiding from her ex, even though he went so far as to have her committed to an asylum to keep control over her. As anyone would, Hope has moments where she doubts her own sanity, and more where she doubts her own worth. But she’s not self-pitying about it.

“So it doesn’t bother you that I was hospitalized?” she said, tossing it out like a challenge.

Carefully, Remy laid the knife down. Then, not trusting himself to speak just yet, he reached for his wine, but he didn’t go for sipping it. He tossed it back, but it didn’t do a damn thing to cool the rage burning inside, He’d be doing better if it was tequila. Or whiskey—straight, burning a path down to his stomach, and maybe burning through the fog of rage in his brain.

Looking at her, he bit off, “Oh, hell, yes it bothers me. But not for the reasons you think. You didn’t belong in there and we both know it. That bastard you were married to somehow managed to manipulate the system to put you in there and keep you in there and that pisses me off in more ways that you can imagine. Yeah, it bothers me. But not like you think.”

“Thank you.” She glanced down at her glass and then back up at him.

“Don’t thank me.” He reached for his knife and went to work on the rest of the vegetables, chopping up red bell peppers with a vengeance. “Don’t thank me, okay?”

It seemed kind of weird, but as he stood there, the sleeves of his blue dress shirt rolled up, the silver knife flashing as he cut up the vegetables, Hope felt her heart flutter.

Remy’s fury is doubled because Hope’s ex used the system—a system he, as a prosecutor, is an integral part of—to abuse her. If this book has one weakness it is that we don’t get to see enough of Remy’s personality away from Hope. He’s a great guy, no doubt about it, and he’s obviously just what Hope needs, but I didn’t feel as if I quite knew him the way I wanted to.

The romance progresses very slowly, as one would expect for a character like Hope, and the suspense is a slow build, too. There are double villains at work, both the serial killer who haunts the whole trilogy and another criminal specific to this book. But even with the dual threats, if I were going to categorize this book in some way, I would say that it’s more about Hope’s growth and self-realization than it is about either the mystery or the romance. That is possibly a function of this being the middle book in the trilogy—like the middle child, it finds its way in the shadow of the one before, which was strongly romance-centered (I didn’t review that here, but it’s one of very few books I’d give an A), and the final book, which I suspect will be villain-focused since the killer has escaped detection in the first two books.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s plenty to fear here and plenty of emotion. The relationship between Hope and her friend Law (who will be the hero of the third book) is gut-wrenching in and of itself, even before you add in her romance with Remy. So settle back in front of a roaring fire and read the first two books of this series. Then you can wait along with me for the third!

Grade: B+


Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.

Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.

Other books in this series:

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