Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice #1) by Toni Anderson

Book coverA Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice #1) by Toni Anderson
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame

Justice isn’t always black or white. Sometimes it’s cold and dark.

Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for The Gateway Project, a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn’t enjoy killing, but he’s damn good at it. He’s good at dodging the law, too—until a beautiful rookie agent has him wondering what it might be like to get caught.

FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there’s a vigilante operating outside the law. She has no choice but to take him down, because murder isn’t justice. Is it?

When Mallory starts asking questions, The Gateway Project management starts to sweat, and orders Alex to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex’s life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target, and Alex must reveal his true identity to save the woman he loves.

I will admit this right up front. I bought this book because I wanted to listen to Eric Dove narrate another book since I'm completely besotted with his voice. I saw this was a romantic suspense and decided it sounded decent enough that I would give it a shot.

The short of it is I love listening to Eric narrate but the story is a little too graphic and gruesome for me.

It's very difficult to tell you how I feel about the two main characters in the story as this is one of those romantic suspense stories which focuses more on the suspense than the romance and building the relationship between the hero and heroine, though there are a number of rather sizzling encounters between them. Throughout the story, I had a hard time trying to come to terms with who Mallory and Alex were as people.

Mallory is an FBI agent and she's suffered a terrible loss in her childhood which she is still trying to solve. These two things define her and because of it, she is single-minded, driven and married to her work. She lived for the sole purpose of solving the mystery of her sister's disappearance. To me, those things do not give her character enough depth for me to connect with her and get to know her. I found this made her a very single dimensional character for me. I would have liked her to have been more multi dimensional but I also understand that was what drove her and made her who she was.

I adore Alex. He's so many things. Soldier, war hero, prisoner of war, security consultant, friend, assassin, lover and protector. He's so troubled and honorable at the same time. He is conflicted about what he has to do and while he's not crazy about what he has to do, he's honest about it and he's honest with himself. I loved that he was so protective and caring of Mallory, right from the beginning. He was a man marking time until Mallory came into his life, then caring for someone change the meaning of his life and even when things got crazy and he was in an untenable situation, he was strong enough to do what was right for Mallory first and foremost. That made him a hero for me.

Here is a favorite moment of mine in the story:

Her mouth went dry. How could she not fall for a guy who went out of his way to protect her while also giving her the space she needed to do her job? Just looking at him made her ache. “Tell me you aren’t as perfect as you seem, Alex.” “Not even close to perfect.” His blue- gray eyes darkened. “Not a complete asshole either.”

The suspense aspect of the story is very well researched and written. In fact, some of it is so graphically described it makes me sick to my stomach. Certain things happen in the story that leave me feeling rather unpleasant, one of which to Mallory when she gets interrogated by a distrustful colleague, to cite one of the milder instances.

Listening to this story being narrated to be, even with listening to Eric's wonderful voice, left me feeling slightly nauseated. This story should have come with a warning label that says "Warning: Graphic content. This story contains scenes that some people may find disturbing!"

I would have liked to have seen some more time spent on developing the relationship between Alex and Mallory rather than the detail in describing some of the dead bodies they were finding at crime scenes.

I would also have liked better insights into Mallory as a person which gave her character greater depth. It would also have made the romance much more credible if they spent more time together in order for their relationship to develop as they got to know each other. This didn't happen till a good way into the second part of the story and then it felt rushed. As it was, the story spent most of its time jumping between both characters, most of which with them spent apart. How can you build a relationship when you spent more than 60% of the story apart?

If you like a really good romantic suspense, heavy on the suspense, you will enjoy this. There were parts of it that were thoroughly heart pounding.

I think I will wait a while before tackling the other books in the series just for a bit of a breather from the excitement, even if they are all narrated by Eric. I'll move on to some other things he's narrated and take a break from the gruesome.

View all my reviews

About the author

au*Start reading Toni's award-winning, bestselling Cold Justice Series with A COLD DARK PLACE currently free on Amazon. You can sign up for her newsletter at*

New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble's Nook store, Top 10 in the Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo stores. Her novels have won many awards, and she's been nominated for the prestigious Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award.

A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.

Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She's addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.

If you want to know when Toni's next book will be out, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that during winter is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook.

Toni donates 15% of her royalties from EDGE OF SURVIVAL to diabetes research--to find out why, read the book!

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

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