Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: I never forgot the gun anymore.
Secret McQueen is in a dark, dark place. Still dealing with the psychological and physical damage from her capture and subsequent torture, she finds herself unable to catch even the slightest of breaks as she is tasked with recapturing Alexander Peyton. Secret’s investigation points her towards Paris so with the Tribunals’ reluctant approval, she and Desmond fly to the city of l’amour to take down the notorious vampire once and for all.
Secret’s not out of the woods yet though. Sig makes some astonishing comments before Secret departs, making her wonder if her life has ever been truly her own. Add in some postcards she’s been receiving that vaguely threaten her grandmere’s life and that HUGE favor she still owes and Secret is slowly finding out that sometimes in life, the predator becomes the prey.
Once again, Secret is pulled through the emotional and physical ringer in Sierra Dean’s seventh installment of her wickedly inventive urban fantasy- Cold Hard Secret. Violence and humor go hand in hand as our heroine attempts to do the right thing when and where she can. Secret is so tired and you can physically feel that in here. She has fought and bled to get to this point. Born a hybrid (half vampire and half werewolf) Secret has gone from being a lowly rogue vampire hunter to serving on the illustrious vampire Tribunal and becoming the Queen of the Werewolves. That’s not to say her life has gotten easier because of all that. She has made plenty of enemies in both supernatural camps and some days it seems there are lines forming around the block to take her out of the picture completely.
Ms. Dean continues to build and expand her world, deepening her character dynamics and slowly beginning to tie together all the loose threads in this second to last installment. Our feisty heroine, paired with some sexy supernaturals, and an action filled plot that twists and turns, keeps you off balance. Smooth writing coupled with a fast pace kept the storyline from dragging. The dialogue is engaging with Dean’s trademark zingers and snark; allowing some humor to keep the storyline from straying too far into the abyss. There is a strong emotional base that underwrites the story as Secret finally admits some harsh truths about herself and the way she has been handling certain situations. Combined with the events from book six she is unsure of herself. Though there are no easy answers in here, Secret buries her pain and takes care of business once and for all.
I haven’t always been Secret’s biggest fan but I admire the strength and resiliency Dean extracts from her. She is steel wrapped in vulnerable velvet. Her choices or lack there of weren’t always pretty or easy but she dealt with the fall out. In this installment we finally see Secret back to reacting with her head instead of her heart. Secret has certainly grown from the impetuousness bounty hunter we met in the beginning. Dragged almost unwillingly into the supernatural forefront, as the series progressed and her childhood was revealed, you understood her actions better even if you didn’t agree with them.
I have expressed my displeasure at the romance multiple times to which Dean has tsk-tsked me and told me to keep the faith. Being in love with three men can’t be easy; especially when you aren’t sure if it’s actually your feelings or a mystical bond that seems to manifest at the most inopportune moments. Secret has reached an impasse of sorts with her love life. Lucas is pretty much out of the picture though she is still technically married to him. Desmond and Holden are with Secret in a faux menage but the events in book six have left all three of them unsure of the direction this relationship this is heading. Fans of the series will be pleased to see Secret take that bull by the horns and admit some hard truths to herself and those involved.
Multiple storylines and subplots intertwine and resolve as Dean deftly maneuvers us to the end of the installment and the end of this series. Secrets are being spilled; secrets that place our fearless heroine in even more of a precarious position than before. Everything that Secret has been warned that could happen is beginning to bear fruit. The ending is a series of dramatic outcomes that leaves everyone wondering…