Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley
Florida state prosecutor Gail Malloy may have a death wish, but she has no idea how close she is to having it fulfilled. In charge of the case against a notorious drug lord, she’s become the target of everyone on the man’s payroll—and corruption has permeated the highest ranks. Fortunately for Gail, a stranger is keeping watch…
Haunted by tragedy and seeking revenge, business tycoon Jason Hawke joined the Justice Hunters, a secret organization dedicated to maintaining law and order. He’ll do everything in his power to make sure Gail stays alive long enough to put the crime boss away for good. Even if it means keeping her with him day and night…
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
***Even though the blurb says Justice Hunters the book calls the organization Justice Alliance.*** I was browsing NetGalley when I came across this book and I liked the look of the blurb. It spoke of a trope that I have enjoyed in the past so I was interested in seeing how Ms Stephenson handled it. Her take included secret organizations, drug lords, massively corrupt members of the judiciary system, explosions, vanishing evidence, motorcycles, a rather large subplot and lots of dead bodies. In my opinion that combination provided me with a bit too much to completely enjoy.
Gail Malloy was very honest and dedicated to her job. Her evidence against the drug lord kept mysteriously disappearing leading her to suspect that something wasn’t right with the Florida State Attorney’s Office so she joined the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s covert investigation into them. When Gail arrived for a meeting with a snitch who had video evidence of murder against the drug lord, she instead entered a trap. She escaped being raped and killed by the oh so fortuitous arrival of a man dressed all in black. They share some moments of instant physical attraction, and Gail finds out that he is watching to keep her alive so she can bring down the drug lord. This mysterious man then vanishes into the shadows and Gail’s troubles really get started. She figures out rather quickly that Jason Hawke was the man all in black, but since she is dealing with some unexpected turns, and she would prefer to live, she goes along with his assistance.
Jason is a member of the Justice Alliance, which is a group of vigilantes that are not supposed to mete out justice but rather provide information to honest cops and prosecutors so justice can be served. He is struggling with that limitation and would much rather take direct action against the murderers of his wife and unborn child along with the police who protected them, but he abides by their code. However not all of the members of the Justice Alliance feel the same way and some of those individuals didn’t mind making some very questionable deals to achieve their own goals. Some of those deals included providing opportunities for the drug lord to remove Gail and Jason from the picture.
While all of the various conspiracies seem fascinating they suffered in the execution. The identity of the traitor from the Justice Alliance wasn’t revealed until late in the book but I figured out who it was about a quarter of the way into the story so I kept wondering why the main characters didn’t see some of the coincidences were just too perfect. I also found that while I could buy the physical attraction and lust between the hero and heroine as a result of their several close brushes with death, I didn’t quite see their emotional attachment. I also got the sense that if a character was not a member of the Justice Alliance then the character was certainly a bad guy or was going to die rather quickly. Granted not that being a member guaranteed that the character was a good guy but there was a better chance. My major pet peeve is under the spoiler tag. [spoiler]The traitor to the Justice Alliance got away cleanly![/spoiler] Given the extent of corruption in the Florida Justice system and the several threads that were not completely tied off, I am guessing that Ms Stephenson is going to continue to write in this world. I am interested in seeing what comes next with that organization.
I give Her Dark Protector a B-