We’re diversifying on the blog today as I welcome back my wonderful guest reviewer Christine with her thoughts on this romantic suspense.
Author : Reily Garrett
Title : Digital Velocity
Series : McAllister Justice #1
Pages : 272
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : July 10, 2017
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a friend is threatened, Lexi’s anonymous message sends police into a firefight, leading to a wounded cop.
Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle indicating the identity of the next murder victim.
The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs bearing equal talent.
Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.
Well, it was time to go outside the box again, and for this go around I selected a romantic suspense novel, Digital Velocity, which is book #1 in the new McAllister Justice series. It is also a police procedural, my favorite genre of all, so, OK, I cheated a bit. In any event, I had a good time with Digital Velocity.
Just prior to digging into this one, I read the prequel novella to the series, Tender Echoes. The prequel introduces us to hacker extraordinaire Lexi, who plays a big role in book #1, and briefly introduces us to the five McAllister brothers. Four are members of the police, and one is a PI. There is also a sister who is an attorney. The McAllister brothers are tightly knit and love to banter and kiddingly insult each other. Ethan McAllister, a police detective and fourth brother, takes center stage in Digital Velocity, along with Lexi.
I really liked these characters. The brotherly ribbing is on the corny side, but that’s OK. Ethan’s partner Larrick, a bit of a cowboy type, is a good add to the mix. We get to know Ethan, and especially Lexi, really well, which is a big plus in my book. Both Ethan and Lexi have dogs, Diego and Hoover.
The plot is a good one, though pretty straightforward in that there are not a lot of threads to resolve. Lexi is anonymously feeding cybertips to Ethan in hopes that he can use the info to crack the case of a repeat killer. Eventually, necessity brings Lexi and Ethan together. At that point we get a slow buildup to a highly suspenseful and thrilling climax. In fact, the whole last half of the book had me on needles. The characters at a late point in the story were in such a predicament I saw no way out; that kept the pages turning pretty darn fast!
Ms. Garrett obviously put a lot of time into researching cutting edge technology and the dark web, which are heavily featured here (in a very readable way). As an aside, as I was reading this story, it struck me how technology has partnered with evil to create a much more frightening and violent world than just a few decades ago. A very sad state of affairs in my opinion. It makes one wonder if the marvels of technology are really worth it.
There are two areas where I am in disagreement with most of the readers who have already posted reviews. The majority loved the descriptive passages and Ms. Garrett’s writing style. To me there is a little too much description, and the flow suffers on occasion from cumbersome phraseology. On the other hand, several readers found the first half of the book too slow. I actually really enjoyed the build up of the plot and the time taken to develop the two main characters.
I thought the romance arc was exceptionally well done (though I don’t have much to compare it with other than the one erotica book I read) with the emphasis on the feelings between Ethan and Lexi rather than pure lust. The sex scenes sizzle in an emotional way.
Overall, I enjoyed my foray into romantic suspense. I highly recommend that Tender Echoes, a fast read, be read prior to Digital Velocity as it provides an excellent introduction to Lexi and her cyber connection with Ethan. I’m very curious to see where Ms. Garrett goes with the next story—perhaps she will feature one of the other McAllister cops?
I recommend Digital Velocity for all fans of romantic suspense.
Digital Velocity was published on July 17.