In two days, Shiloh Walker, who I know as a paranormal romance author, is releasing The Missing. I wound up being one of the lucky bloggers to snag an ARC to review here. First, the back blurb:
Her psychic gift drove away the man she loved— and years later has drawn him back to her…
As a teenager, Taige Branch hated her psychic gift. No one could understand—except for Cullen Morgan, the boy who stole her heart. He did his best to accept her, until his mother was brutally murdered—and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing it.
Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragedy. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her. Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether—if they find his daughter in time—it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them…
As the first romantic suspense I’ve read by Walker, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was snared by the story in the first forty pages and wound up finishing it in two days (which is a big deal given my schedule). It wasn’t a story I’d read before–and considering how much romantic suspense I read, that’s a compliment. I liked the heroine Taige and how adversity shaped her into this really admirable woman. The hero, Cullen, was appealing and generally believable. Overall, I felt like it was a good read, worth the effort, though I had some reservations on a few fronts.
Spoilers follow in my more detailed review.
The front third of the book, up to the point where Cullen’s mother is killed and he can’t forgive Taige for not somehow stopping it, I had no beef. I felt like Walker did a good job setting the backstory foundation for this love story and of splitting the two of them up. Then we fast forward to present day where Taige is now working as a civilian consultant for the FBI to help find missing children. When Cullen’s daughter is kidnapped, he goes to find Taige. Their first meeting after 12 years was well done and suitably awkward. Then they go off to find the kid. There was room here for a lot more suspense, I felt, but the finding of the daughter feels way too easy and not stressful enough. Taige knows right where she is and they make it in time to rescue her before she’s actually injured by the bad guy (who is MIA at this stage in the story). I’d have dragged that out a couple more chapters with a few “we almost found her” kind of scenarios before they finally rescue the daughter (Jillian). I wonder if Walker shied away from hurting the kid because it would be controversial?
In any event, the finding of Jillian isn’t the end of the story. Some time later (because Taige won’t go anywhere near Cullen after they save his daughter), he goes to find Taige so that they can track down the killer and see that he can’t hurt anyone else. The reunion love scene I didn’t care for at all. I didn’t have any problem with the action or the heat level there, but words like cock and pussy seem very vulgar and unnecessary to me and fully pulled me out of an otherwise well done scene. This interlude gets interrupted by another flash by Taige (she keeps having these flashes of victims and in this case the killer), which starts them on the final trail of the killer. I found the identity of the killer extremely predictable, and I feel like he was underutilized. If the killer’s identity is obvious, embrace it and give us more from his perspective. Make him an actual character and make us understand his motivation.
Overall, I thought Walker did a good job with this book. My biggest criticism was that I felt it was too short for the suspense to reach full climactic potential. I’ll definitely check out other romantic suspense she puts out.
Thanks for the review~glad ya liked it for the most part. Sorry some of it didn’t work for you, though.
In regards to Jilly, I didn’t really shy away from the child being hurt-the story didn’t try to go down that path, although if it had tried, I probably would have fought it tooth and nail. Not for the sake of controversy, but because being a mom myself, this book had some aspects that made it difficult to write anyway. Anything that involves kids being hurt pushes a button for me.
Controversy isn’t an issue-if it was, I would have had to scrap the whole book just because the book had some deal-breakers-namely, Cullen having a child with somebody other than Taige.
Again, thank you!
Well, as I said, the stuff I didn’t like isn’t going to stop me from trying your next one out. You wrote very engaging characters, and that’s what keeps me reading.