Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

Title: Hell on Wheels
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Series: Black Knights, Book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 7 August 2012

He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted...

Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.

She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length...

Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?

Sexy black-ops operatives on motorcycles – I was sold! And the premise lives up to the promise, absolutely.

Unfortunately my problems have overshadowed the enjoyment I was hoping to get out of this book. The largest one was Nate’s dialect. His mashing of several words together into a single word not on was irritating to read, it was an effort in translation every time it happened – which was at least once a page. I know people talk with dialects, I hear them in my head clearly, but I don’t need every single word typed with the lost ending if the goal is a southern accent. If typed out Scottish brogues irritate you, this is a warning that I found it much more distracting and irritating than that.

The second issue was a few logical fallacies that didn’t work for me. There is a lot of emphasis, throughout the book, put on how super-secret these guys are, and their work for the government is way off the books. They literally live in their compound, which is their cover as a custom motorcycle shop with all the accompanying surveillance and security. But let Ali walk up to the gate and ask to be let in, and she’s shown right in. Not just in the compound but in the building where they start wanding down her luggage – searching for bugs – she sees the computers that any NSA agent would die to have, and there in the corner is a fully equipped Blackhawk helicopter. Yeah, all that doesn’t raise any suspicions what-so-ever that they’re not what they seem.

And that leads me to my final problem. While Ali never truly strays into TSTL – to-stupid-to-live – territory, she comes very close. With all that evidence she still isn’t really sure until someone tells her that they’re black-ops.

One of the things I loved though was how it handled the ‘brother’s best friend’ trope. This is one of my favorite storylines – the friend in love with his best friend’s little sister, warned off, etcetera. This is really where Ali shined for me. She really gave it her all to get Nate to realize that they’re perfect together. While I’m not quite sure how their relationship is going to work in the future with her being a school teacher, and he still being in the Black Knights group, I do believe that they’ll find a way to do it.

Hell on Wheels is the sexy new start of a series, which has a whole host of characters to choose from for subsequent books. It did spend a decent amount of time on setting up future books, and I admit to curiousity on how some of these storylines tie up. If you’re looking for a quick, easy romantic suspense, Hell on Wheels might just hit the spot.

Grade: C-

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