Book Review: Fatal Embrace by Aris Whittier

Several years ago, Michael Craven gave up his career as a detective when his fiancé was killed and her killer never caught. Living with the guilt, he throws himself into his Montana ranch and his solitary existence. But, when a serial killer starts making his way through a nearby town, Michael is asked to come back and help a good friend and fellow detective, solve the crime. In doing so, he must hire someone to take his place on the ranch. 

When horse trainer, Jess Stanson shows up, it takes Michael by surprise. Jess turns out to be Jessica. Jessica convinces him to let her stay. Over time they establish a fragile friendship. Although, on the inside both feel more, but Michael's past prevents him from being anything but distant and serious.

Note: I have shortened the summary, taken from Goodreads, because it had some spoilers.

Release Date:  October 2, 2005
Publisher:  Five Star Trade
Age Group:  Adult 
Source: Review copy from author

This book is classified as a romantic suspense but it was heavier on the suspense than the romance.  I was pleasantly surprised at that---I am no great fan of pure romance novels.  They always feel too shallow to me.  I was so happy that Fatal Embrace was not an empty read.  It had romance and suspense in perfect balance.

I love books set on ranches.  I think it's because I've always wanted to ride a horse, so the idea of being around horses all the time appeals to me.  The appeal of ranches is definitely not the men in Wranglers and cowboy boots, because we have plenty of that here in southeast Texas!

Michael and Jessica start out as work associates and very slowly develop a friendship.  Michael is very distant and emotionally unavailable, because of events from his past.  Jessica is a hard worker and quickly earns the respect of the ranch-hands.  She has a good sense of humor and great self-esteem.  I love it when a female lead has those qualities.  The relationship between the two develops slowly, which I love.  I don't like it when relationships move too fast because I think it's not realistic.  I'm too practical to believe in falling in love at first sight, so I don't like reading about characters who jump into bed together too quickly or declare love within a couple of days of meeting.

The book moves at a good pace, not too slow or too fast.  I enjoyed the writing and the suspense.  I think that I would have liked Fatal Embrace even more if I had read it more quickly.  I started the book after I had my baby and it took me a couple of weeks to finish it.  I don't like taking that long to read a book because I tend to forget important events and plot points along the way.

I would recommend Fatal Embrace to fans of mysteries, suspense, and romance novels.  I would definitely read more from Aris Whittier in the future!

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