The Takedown by Carlie Walker
10/3/2023 by Berkley
Review by Angela
Well, this was fun. Part contemporary romance, part romantic suspense, and maybe a little comedy thrown in there for good measure, The Takedown is a unique debut that kept me turning pages.
Sydney Swift is a CIA agent who hasn’t been home in quite a while. She loves her sister and grandmother but enjoys the distance and anonymity her job provides. Then she finds out that her sister is newly engaged to an alleged crime lord, and the FBI wants her to go undercover and get all the details on an assumed upcoming heist. So she heads home for Christmas, determined to save her sister and take down Johnny Jones and his family. Only she meets Nick, Johnny’s oldest friend and bodyguard, and he’s not what she expects.
This was such a fun book; mystery, suspense, and romance are all set amidst a small town. Sydney hasn’t been home in several years, but that’s not because she doesn’t love her family. She KNOWS that her law-abiding, straitlaced sister isn’t involved in her fiancee’s crimes, and she sets out to prove it while gathering evidence against Johnnie. Her love interest is Nick, Johnnie’s best friend and bodyguard, and they have chemistry right from the beginning. She is fully aware he’s probably a bad guy, and she’s not about to get caught up in his charms. I will be honest, I wondered just how the romance part of this novel would work out, especially at the beginning as Sydney is finding her footing, trying to seduce Nick for information, and sneaking around spying on pretty much everyone.
I think you’ll be surprised at how it works out.
There is a mix of tropes here- forced proximity, small town, slow-burn, holiday romance. The plot is well thought out and the action/suspense is balanced with the romance. Nick and Syndey make a good duo, I enjoyed the getting-to-know-you part of their relationship and appreciated the open-door love scenes. There are some challenging family dynamics, as you would assume, but it wasn’t too angsty. Basically, this book is just an entertaining, fast-paced romance with heat and the occasional shenanigans. And everything turns out right in the end.
Looking forward to more books by this author.
Final grade- B