WHO WILL BE NEXT?
Former FBI Special Agent Sloane Burbank has survived a life-threatening injury sustained in the line of duty, only to face leaving a job she loves in order to recuperate. As an independent consultant, she now uses her specialized skills to train law enforcement and private organizations in crisis resolution. But when one of her closest childhood friends mysteriously disappears, and the woman’s devastated parents beg for her help, Sloane takes the case even though her ex-lover Derek Parker is the FBI agent in charge.
Special Agent Derek Parker, now assigned to the Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force in the FBI’s New York Field Office, has no time to spare for a year-old case he sees as a dead end especially since it would mean working with a woman he never expected to see again. He’s pursuing the leader of a Chinese gang and trying to solve a series of grizzly murders in Chinatown, so he initially offers Sloane the case files and minimal cooperation.
But as more women disappear and others turn up brutally murdered, Derek’s priorities shift, and he and Sloane come to the sickening realization that these random crimes are linked to the same crazed killer. No one can anticipate when he will strike again, but when Sloane becomes the target of his twisted obsession, it becomes clear that his ultimate fantasy is even more psychotic than either of them ever imagined.
Sloan Burbank is a former FBI agent who left the Agency after a serious injury, which impeded her from carrying out her job in the field as a crisis negotiator. She has been making a living a consultant in the private sector now. When her childhood friend’s parents hire her after their daughter has gone missing and the FBI comes up with nothing, Sloan is forced to pair up with the agent in charge of the case who happens to be her former lover, Derek Parker. While working on the case, which comes closer to home for Sloan than anticipated, they also discover that the issues between them that were left unresolved did not lessen the emotional pull they have on each other.
Both Sloan and Derek are stubborn, proud and strong-willed. Their relationship ended badly and working together again causes tension between them. Derek is direct, uncompromising, charismatic and confident skirting on the edge of arrogance. Sloan is determined, tenacious and headstrong. When she sets her mind to something, it’s very hard to make her see things differently. She doesn’t let anything or anyone deter her from the goals she sets for herself and she doesn’t take the easy way out of difficult or hard situations.
The chemistry between Sloan and Derek is sizzling; the fierce attraction between them is off the charts and never far from the surface. They take verbal sparring to another level because true to their personalities neither is willing to be inferior to the other. This leads to snappy dialogues that are perfect counterparts to the technical, law enforcement talks about the case.
When I started reading and first stumbled upon an elaborate acknowledgement from the author stating all the FBI professionals who helped her with her research, it immediately had my attention. The flow chart and definition list sealed the deal and I knew I was going to appreciate this book even before I read the first chapter.
I must admit that it took me quite some chapters to get into the book, the first part is slow paced and while reading I felt like I was crawling along with the world building and the character introductions. I like romantic suspense and thrillers to be fast-paced and action-packed, topped of by chilling suspense and the first part did not quite deliver this to me. This does not mean I did not like TWISTED. I absolutely did because with it Andrea Kane has written a thorough, realistic and amazing book that, despite the slow pace, kept me reading long after bedtime.
Reading this book showed me that it is not easy to provide the perfect balance between a good and realistic representation of law enforcement and keeping it action-packed and fast-paced. Even though this balance was not entirely there in the beginning, soon the developments in the plot showed me Andrea Kane knowing what she was writing about and using her research in a way that was informative but not overwhelming. The world building, character development and plotting are immaculate and extensive. She doesn’t cut corners and although this influences the pace and takes away from the action a bit, it also makes it an excellently written book. The way Andrea Kane let’s the reader into the mind of a disturbed villain and still makes it believable and acceptable is uncanny.
Despite the slow start, from the moment I suspected who the unsub was and when Derek and Sloan began to put the pieces of the puzzle together, I was given what I had been expecting: a fast-paced story that grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go until I finished it.
With TWISTED Andrea Kane gave me a story that is intense and no breezy, light read. She accurately combined elements of law enforcement, Greek mythology and romance and poured them into a book worth reading for every fan of compelling suspense and believable romance.
For me this book was Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Standoff and Numbers all rolled into one and mixed with the romantic story line it provided me with a romantic suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Derek and Sloan
“Ah, I sense I am being used.”
“Maybe a little. Then again, if you come through for me, I could arrange to use you in ways you’ll really, really like.”
Sloan could almost hear Derek’s body react. “Now, that got my attention,” he announced.
“Although, you do know that you’re blackmailing and sexual harassing a federal agent.”
“True. But I am also giving him an amazing fantasy to savor. And, trust me, the reality will far exceed it.”
“Then I’m putty in your hands.”
Sloan to Derek
“Life is a gift. It’s also fleeting, so emotional self-protection is a waste of time. And life gives us choices. So I choose you, even if you do push every one of my buttons, and drive me bonkers.”