Top critical review
Half the length of her other installments
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 2, 2014
I have been a fan of this series since I read Dirty Little Secrets when it first came out and was rooting for JJ and Jack since day 1. Although I enjoyed what story we have here immensely, I couldn't help but be disappointed that this installment is about half the length of the first and third books and actually 1/3 the length of the second book, coming in at under 2200 kindle locations. It's more of a novella. With that, the story could have been so much more, but the end was seriously rushed and wrapped so fast that I got whiplash. There could have been at least a hundred more pages of mystery to go with it. With that out of the way, the other confusing issue is that the Amazon synopsis is pretty close to what is in the story, although there isn't any angst about blood money or missing bodies, but if you're on Ms. Hart's mailing list, like me, you received an email that has a completely inaccurate synopsis. There is no body buried under a rose garden with a note for JJ. Also, there's nothing in the story that comes close to the depiction on the cover. It's very likely this was supposed to be a much longer book with various components, but the book somehow got cut in half. Who knows?
JJ and Jack are three days away from their wedding and while JJ is juggling dress fittings, hair cuts, mani/pedis, and two funerals, she and Jack get pulled on a case of a house fire where five bodies are found burned to a crisp. After examination, JJ determines that it's a homicide and not the accident it was setup to look like. From there, we have a multitude of suspects, but no one stands out. Fold in connections to the department of defense and possible double spies, it's clear this case is going to take a lot longer than three days to solve and the question is, can JJ and Jack walk away from a case to walk down the aisle?
Everything leading up to what should have been the midway point, but turned out to be the near end, was absolutely fantastic, but like a switch that flipped, it all started unraveling from there pretty quickly. Jack and JJ have their first real fight and it's solution was handled with extreme economy considering Jack's PTSD. Then on their way to their rehearsal dinner, the whole thing gets wrapped up in a heartbeat... cut to prologue. I looked down at the page number and couldn't believe the story was over. Ms. Hart has a wonderful grasp of dialogue and the characters always put a smile on my face, but I was really hoping to actually see some of them. There's short moments of Jack's mom, Vaughn, and Carter, but no Dickie or Eddie here or in any of the last three books for that matter considering they were supposedly the five musketeers, and in general, Ms. Hart doesn't seem to read or keep tight notes on her characters in general from previous stories. One example is when Jack is described as skimming 6ft in the first book, but 6'5 in the second, and also in the first book JJ describes her only two sexual encounters before Brody as not particularly good, especially with Floyd Parker, but in this installment we have an old flame who returns to JJ's life and apparently they burned up the sheets together. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who falls hard for her characters and the little inconsistencies become annoying and I'm disappointed we didn't even get any mileage out of the fact an old flame came into JJ's life.
All in all, I look forward to future installments, but this story could have been so much more if we actually had a whole book.