Review: Secure Target by Rebecca Crowley

secure targetSecure Target by Rebecca Crowley
Released: March 4, 2014
Romantic Suspense

Reviewed by Mandi

Blurb: South African hostage rescue operative Bronnik Mason has been chasing a serial killer around the globe for over a year. Four women have already died, and has sworn there won’t be a fifth. Even if, this time, he has to offer up more than a few pints of his own blood.

But when it comes to safeguarding the killer s next target, Bronnik realizes this case could put his professional boundaries to the test.

Having grown up in the shadow of two delinquent brothers, dental receptionist Lacey Cross is impeccably well-behaved, dutiful, hard working and bored. Until Bronnik storms into the office to sweep her into protective custody. Suddenly, her nondescript life just got a lot more interesting.

Racing against a blizzard, dodging uncannily accurate bullets, Bronnik finds his concentration getting blown all to hell. Before he realizes Lacey s slipped under his skin, she becomes more than just a body he s sworn to protect. She is the woman he will risk his own life to save whether she likes it or not.

I’ll just start by saying I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like how the suspense and romance played out. To briefly set it up, there is a serial killer named Hardley, that has killed four women in the past year. He goes all over the world and the victims have all been brunettes with green eyes who work at the front desks in medical and dental practices. Lacey fits this description and she was featured in her local newspaper for her charity work, which is why the police assume this killer targets her. Let me also note this killer is from Cape Town South Africa.

The hero is Bronnik, also from Cape Town and part of the Special Task Force of the South African Police. He has been hunting Hardley for a long time, almost getting him when he killed his last victim. The killer’s schtick is to call the victim and tell her she has three days – he then stalks her for two days and kills her on the third. Lacey gets a call – Bronnik and his partner along with the FBI move in.

The set-up worked for me and we meet the serial killer in the prologue and he is a creepy dude. All signs point to keep reading. Except it goes downhill fast. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know a lot about police procedure in a serial killer case – and as a reader I don’t think I should be expected to – but when I read romantic suspense books, I do expect common sense. I felt like that was missing in this book.

When Lacey is targeted, Bronnik and his partner take her into protective custody right in her hometown. They decide they want to lure the killer out of the shadows (they assume he is stalking her) so they take her to a mall to pretend to be shopping for protective custody supplies in hopes the killer will make an appearance. In a crowded public mall. With the victim right there. And he does! And starts shooting in this crowded mall. Does this make sense? At all? And to top it off – Lacey – who is set to die in two days has this reaction after the killer shoots at her in the mall:

“Yet you’ve handled the threat against your life like a seasoned professional. I have colleagues who couldn’t face down this situation as calmly as you have. In my mind, that means there’s quite a lot to you.”

Her lips curled into a barely perceptible smile. “Would it be weird to say I’m almost having fun?”

Um – yes Lacey. That would be weird. Since you know – a serial killer is targeting you.

Next, Bronnik thinks it would be fun to take Lacey to a shooting range. You know – a little fun outing while they are being stalked by a serial killer. They get a call from the FBI that the killer is in the vents of the shooting range building and they are coming as backup – so guess who falls out of the ceiling vents? The killer. The FBI come. Instead of surrounding the place and securing it (isn’t that the first thing you do?) they storm in with smoke bomb things and Hardley escapes. Most likely through the ceiling vents he just fell out of. HUH??? Say again? Meanwhile, right after this, Bronnik is all smiles for Lacey in the parking lot. Except the serial killer you have devoted your life to catching just got away – again.

After this, they go back to the hotel where Lacey gets pouty because Bronnik almost sleeps with her but then decides against it.

The best part is this  – spoiler.

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They actually catch Hardlye the night he is to kill Lacey – day three. They shoot him in the shoulder and he is arrested by the FBI. BUT HE ESCAPES. And Bronnik very nonchalantly says darn, and decides to head back to Cape Town South Africa – where he assumes Hardly is headed because that is where he lives. AND HE TAKES LACEY WITH HIM. Because he is in love and also the only one that can truly protect her, even though the FBI have offered their services in the US. You know – on the opposite side of the world where Hardly is. But Lacey gladly goes. Cheerful even.

At this point I didn’t even care anymore. I totally knew where this was headed – another confrontation with Hardley. I don’t care. They both deserved to be caught by Hardly at this point.

Rating: F

I enjoyed two previous books by Rebecca Crowley quite a bit. Striker’s Chance (soccer hero) and Hero’s Homecoming (military hero)

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