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Book CoverSandy M’s review of Pretend You’re Safe (The Agency, Book 1) by Alexandra Ivy
Romantic Suspense published by Zebra 29 Aug 17

It’s been a while that I’ve read Alexandra Ivy. It’s the usual too many books and too little time, and I get behind in most series I read. So when I saw that she’s starting a new contemporary romantic suspense series, I thought maybe it’s time to read her work once again. Because I’ve had some bad luck trying to find a few good historicals to read lately, I figured I’d keep my successful string of contemp reading going with this book. I love it when I’m right.

The heavens have opened up on Heron, Missouri, and the banks of the Mississippi are overflowing, taking over crops and releasing hidden evil in the female body and unknown skull freely floating along with other debris. Gossip is widespread and the townsfolk are left with an uneasy feeling. Especially Jaci, because she’s the one in town who received an extra surprise – a bloodied locket at her front door, which is shades of her past she hoped was over. When she was sixteen, everyone patted her head and told her the lockets were a sick joke. Now there’s people in her life who realize they should have taken her more seriously all those years ago.

One of those is Rylan Cooper – the boy Jaci wanted with her young heart but who left her without a backward glance, though it took every ounce of effort he had to do so. Rylan had his reasons, of course, but he’s rethinking every one of them now that he’s home. He misses his father and he certainly would like to be part of Jaci’s life, if only she’d forgive him for being the young idiotic fool he was back then. Rylan now has the resources to help local sheriff Mike O’Brien track down the serial killer who is making life frightening for the women around town, including Jaci.

It’s a good thing they can put aside their competition when it comes to Jaci, because the villain they’re after is one sleazy psychopathic scumbag. Ms. Ivy does an excellent job of getting his joy of killing across to the reader in short chapters from his point of view. That’s about all you can taken of him. She also keeps you on edge with giving the killer the ability to keep one step ahead of Rylan, Jaci, and Mike as they try to stop the next death.

There are plenty of suspects and the author gives you a good look at each of them, keeping you guessing until just the right time to reveal all. Rylan takes protecting Jaci very seriously, doing his job in placing high-tech surveillance equipment around her farm. He also takes getting back in her good graces – and ending up in her bed – just as seriously. Something she definitely needs after so many years of being on the wrong end of her family after her mother remarries the rich dude in town and pops out a couple of spoiled brats. I like that Rylan doesn’t back down in the face of Jaci’s chilliness toward him. It’s worth the wait when they finally come together.

I had hoped to see the next book may be about Mike and his prickly heroine, but that’s not to be yet. At least I hope so. I’m not sure where the series name came from, nothing so far about an agency of any kind, unless I’m just thinking about it differently than meant. But I do know the next book will be just as good as this one – Ms. Ivy has quite an evil and diabolical imagination!

sandym-iconGrade: A


First came the floods. Then came the bodies. The victims—strangled, then buried along the shores of the Mississippi—have finally been unearthed, years after they disappeared. He remembers every satisfying kill… each woman’s terror and agony. But there’s only one he truly wanted. And fate has brought her within reach again…

Jaci Patterson was sixteen when she found the first golden locket on her porch. Inside were a few strands of hair wrapped around a scrap of bloodstained ribbon. Though the “gifts” kept arriving, no one believed her hunch that a serial killer was at work. Now Jaci has returned home… and the nightmare is starting once more.

Back then, Rylan Cooper was an arrogant deputy sheriff convinced that Jaci was just an attention-seeking teen. It was a fatal mistake. There’s a murderer in their midst, someone determined to settle old scores and keep playing a twisted game. And it won’t end until Jaci is his forever…

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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