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This review is for the first book in the series, Steele Intent.
Detective Jasmine Steele’s life is complicated. When her fiancée Frankie, a forensic psychologist, moves in with her, she is as happy as she has ever been in her life. Then the unthinkable happens: her brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car crash, and Jasmine becomes the guardian of her 7-year-old nephew Chase. Overwhelmed with the responsibility, but unable to ask for help, she pushes Frankie away, and the woman finally leaves, broken-hearted and angry.
Now Jasmine struggles to balance the demands of her job and the needs of the little boy she has come to love profoundly. Her latest homicide case, a serial killer preying on young women, threatens to overcome that tenuous balance.
The good news: the relationships in the book are described in ways that are sympathetic, compelling, and authentic. We believe the two women continue to love each other, despite the fury and heartache that simmer just below the surface. We believe that “Jazz” is trying desperately to be a good “single parent” to Chase, even though she would have never chosen such a role for herself.
The bad news: the resolution of the murder case strained my willing suspension of disbelief. The trope of the police officer rushing into lethal danger without calling for backup is not courageous or “bad-ass,” but abysmally poor judgment. (Thankfully, in this instance, Frankie reams her lover a new one for her stupidity!)
My biggest complaint, however, is the editing. Conversations are incorrectly punctuated throughout the novel. Words are missing or swapped for homophones. And to call the business end of a gun the “nozzle” instead of the “muzzle” is unforgivable in a crime thriller.
I know it’s hard for an author to revisit a book when they’ve moved on to other projects, but Ms. Amato’s novel would greatly benefit from better editing.
Good stories. A good cast of characters. Violent themes but not graphic. Strong female leads. Jasmine seems to be rooted in the past. With good reason but it was just a bit repetitive. With the kind of support the author surrounded her with she didn't need to be so tortured?