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Review of Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han

Caught in the Crosshair is an inviting blend of tension-filled romance and suspense between Lauren and Jaden whose romance blossoms in the midst of a dangerous situation revolving around a South American Cartel, a rescue attempt, an island hurricane, and escapes from a constant barrage of bullets. Hans pulled me into the book quickly and easily by starting off with adrenaline-packed action that is practically non-stop in the first half of the book. I initially had a difficult time finding a stopping place to take a break and was actually quite surprised at how quickly I finished the book.

After learning that her brother Max has been kidnapped by a cartel he was once associated with, Lauren is determined to do whatever is necessary to rescue Max, trusting that it will be as simple as handing over cash in exchange for her brother’s release. Unfortunately, Lauren’s arrival on the island of Antigua brings her even more trouble until Jaden Dean comes to her rescue, and Lauren finds herself increasingly relying upon Jaden’s expertise and protective nature to keep her safe and locate Max. Jaden and his operatives are on a mission to bring down this vicious cartel, and Jaden has a personal interest in the takedown since the cartel goons have already killed several of his team members. Perilous circumstances bring Jaden and Lauren together, and they bond in their quest to survive.

The couple’s journey is teeming with conflict and drama. The villains they face are one-dimensional clichéd “bad guys” except for the major antagonist whose identity isn’t revealed until very close to the end. However, Hans provides enough clues along the way so that it is wasn’t too difficult for me to figure out the final enemy. People aren’t the only external conflicts in the book. Jaden and Lauren also get caught in a terrifying hurricane and the obstacles they encounter are vividly described and suspenseful, making this my favorite part of the book.

Hans does a very good job of putting Lauren and Jaden’s romantic relationship at the heart of the story and effectively weaving it into the dramatic suspense that is a major component in the unfolding plot. The couple’s growing intimacy is strongly connected to the decisions they each make, increasing the tension of the suspense and furthering the plot. The attraction and chemistry between them emerges very early in the book and as the story progresses their interest in each other feels genuine. They offer a warmth and support to each other that neither realized had been lacking in their lives.  This isn’t an insta-love relationship, but it’s awfully close. I do have to keep in mind, though, the length of the book which doesn’t allow time for a long-drawn out process of falling in love.

The story really centers on the protagonists’ romance and rescue of Max, and, overall, Hans has developed this part of the plot very well. However, I think the broader scope and backstory of Jaden and his team’s history with the cartel could have been fleshed out more. Hans offers enough information to give you the gist of what has happened to explain some of the characters’ motivations, but, the details are too vague for my satisfaction.  I also found two of the most anticipated events, the rescue of Max and the climatic showdown to be much less dramatic than I expected.

While Jaden’s and Lauren’s characters are well-rounded, I was surprised that the supporting characters, those part of Jaden’s team are minimally developed, so I felt no emotional connection to any of them.  I am keeping in mind, however, that this book is not part of a series, and these secondary characters are not going to become featured in future books. Hans has plenty of material to work with, though, if she decides to expand this novel into a series.

If you are looking for a fast-paced romantic suspense with a tidy ending, then check out this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating 3.5

Link to Review

http://sunmountainreviews.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/book-tour-review...

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