Friday, April 1, 2011

Five Umbrella Friday: Fatal Justice by Marie Force

My pick of the week last week was for the first book in Marie Force's awesome Fatal series, Fatal Affair. This week I bring you Fatal Justice, and I highly recommend that you read the series in order for maximum enjoyment. Unlike many sequels, Fatal Justice is just as good as, if not better than Book 1 as it feels like Force is really hitting her stride here. And I know I'm probably breaking all sorts of blogging "rules" by making the same author my pick two weeks in a row, but I truly love this series!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you read Fatal Affair? No? Go do so right now. It's impossible to write a review of Fatal Justice that doesn't contain at least some spoilers for Fatal Affair. While Fatal Justice can stand on its own, it's best enjoyed as part of the Fatal series, and Fatal Affair really enhances reader enjoyment of this title. Marie Force is trying to do something really unique with this series as she showcases the evolution of a relationship over the course of a RS series. In my review of Fatal Affair, I compared her style to Julia Spencer-Fleming and Suzanne Brockmann, and she shares a number of features with the top RS authors, but what sets her apart is that she answers the question for reads, "What happens next?"

Like many RS novels, Fatal Affair takes place over less than week with our complex, independent heroine falling for rising-star politician Nick Cappauano and heading for what appears to be a standard HEA. And like with many RS HEA's readers are left going "Yes, but . . ." because the logistics of two strong individuals with complicated lives carving out a life together aren't easy. And this is where Forces differs from pretty much every other RS series because instead of glossing over all of that and giving us a "everything is all better and peachy and here's a baby to prove it" epilogue, she gives readers Book 2, Fatal Justice, where we see our committed couple trying to work out the details of that HEA.

As they navigate through media interest in their affair and trying to juggle two 24/7 careers, Sam lands another case that involves poor Nick--the Supreme Court nominee that they had dinner with the night before has been found dead. And like with Fatal Affair there are some really great twists and turns that I absolutely don't want to spoil for anyone. Brilliant foreshadowing and complex, complicated persons of interest in this go around make the murder mystery more than just window dressing for the relationship drama.

The relationship struggles are nicely woven into the progress with the case, and in keeping with the unique vibe of this series, Force manages to showcase just how hard it is to build a life with someone without making the reader doubt in the HEA. And I suppose there are some who would argue that a *true* HEA shouldn't be work at all, but I think there are a lot of married readers like myself out there who understand that no one hands you a HEA--you have to EARN it and work for it. True love doesn't resolve roommate issues like one person being a neatnik or schedule issues or different coping styles. Some people are simply harder to love and live with than others. That's the real work of relationships that we almost never see represented in the romance genre (we see it plenty in the literary fiction and women's fiction isles but there's often a depressing undercurrent of long-suffering issues that's missing here).

The secondary characters get a lot more play in this book, and that's what makes it a five star read for me. Force continues carving out her very own subgenre by shifting the series to more of an ensemble drama. If you love West Wing, Castle, Bones, et al, you will LOVE what she's doing here. Freddie, Sam's rookie partner, gets a nice romantic subplot and character arc here, and he's easily my favorite character of the series. Sam's father returns and the mystery surrounding the shooting that disabled him gets new developments. Other secondary characters step up and the book feels like the midpoint of an awesome season 1 of a future Emmy winning series. You know that point where you had a handle on who was who and just knew who should be with whom? Long before sharks were jumped and countless seasons wasted? That moment when you KNEW you were watching something special and started planning your week around the next episode? Fatal Justice is the literary equivalent of that moment, and it's one you won't want to miss. I recommend getting both Fatal Affair and Fatal Justice at the same time--reading them back to back was awesome--just like a marathon of my favorite shows.

1 comment:

  1. I was just over at the Carina site and they've got Fatal Consequences listed as a July release. I know I'll be pre-ordering that one. I'd really like to see how (or if) Marie resolves Sam's dad's shooting.