Sunday, March 28, 2010

ARC Review: Naked Edge

Naked Edge
Pamela Clare
Romantic Suspense
I-Team series/Book 4
Berkley/March 2010
ARC won from DA

From the author's website ~

What do you do when desire drives you to the very brink?

The day Navajo journalist Katherine James met Gabriel Rossiter, the earth literally moved beneath her feet. Nearly killed in a rock slide while hiking, she found her life in the tall park ranger's hands. Although she can't forget him she thinks she'll never see him again. She is crushed when she recognizes her rescuer among the law enforcement officers raiding a sweat lodge ceremony one night, throwing her and her friends off Mesa Butte, land they consider sacred.

Gabe long ago swore he would never again lose himself to a woman not even one with long dark hair and big eyes that seem to see right through him. But from the moment he first sees Kat, the attraction he feels is undeniable. Appalled by what he has been ordered to do, he's determined to get to the bottom of recent events at Mesa Butte and to keep Kat safe.

But asking questions can be dangerous almost as dangerous as risking one's heart. And soon Kat and Gabe's passion for the truth and each other makes them targets for those who would do anything, even kill, to keep Native Americans off their sacred land.

First off I want to say that I've enjoyed the previous books in Ms. Clare's I-Team series and was looking forward to Kat's story. We knew just the basics about her from previous books but that was enough to snare my interest. Unfortunately, my interest in Kat slowly dissipated as Naked Edge progressed. And Gabe Rossiter, well, lets just say I had some issues with him to. But I'll get into those later.

The story starts out with Kat heading north to do some hiking. She heads to Eldorado Canyon State Park where hero Gabe Rossiter works as a ranger. After Kat's close brush with death and Gabe's rescuing her they both go their separate ways. Kat back to Denver and her job as an environmental investigative report with the prestigious I-Team and Gabe with his ranger duties.

Move forward three months later and Kat is at Mesa Butte, participating in a Navajo ceremony when it's violently broken up by the local police. Gabe is called in because the area is part of the Mountain Parks jurisdiction. What he finds are some women and an old man not bothering anyone but being treated like criminals. I liked the Native American aspects of the story. I thought Clare worked them well into the plot and made them an interesting part of Kat's heritage.

Gabe is stunned to see Kat again. He hasn't forgotten her from when he rescued her from the rock slide. But Gabe is not a one woman man and for Kat, that's all she wants. The dynamics of Kat and Gabe's relationship were polar opposites when it came to their sexual needs. Gabe wants to fuck. Period. In fact, I got to thinking that was his favorite word since he used it so much. Kat was a 26 year old virgin with very little experience with any type of physical intimacy. I liked the fact that she stayed true to her beliefs. She was strongly attracted to Gabe but let him know that she was a virgin and planned to stay that way. Talk about being shocked! That part I thought was funny. Gabe couldn't believe gorgeous Kat James was a virgin. For a guy as experienced as Gabe, Kat was out of his realm of experience. :)

Gabe's past history with woman is front and center in his present views of women. It's not that he is disrespectful towards them, it's just that he only wants no strings sex from them. The problem I had with Gabe's outlook is that he was a smart man but couldn't see that not everyone woman was destined to treat him like crap. Kat was so different from Gabe's previous lover that I had a hard time buying into his trust issues with her (Kat). Once he got to know Kat, there is no way he could have expected her to treat him with anything other than honesty. I think it would have been easier from me to believe that his attitude about sex came from being self-centered rather than having trust issues.

Kat started out fine but slowly got on my nerves. Kat is this young woman with a very important, stressful job that most journalist would kill for. It wasn't that I had a hard time believing in her writing skills or her intelligence but her ability to deal with stressful situations became hard to believe. To put it bluntly, she turned into a cry baby. Seriously, she just seem to cry all the time. At one point, I thought "what is she, pregnant?", then I remember she was a virgin. And her need to be rescued, repeatedly. It just go to be too much.

The suspense aspect of the plot was engaging. It did run fairly smoothly until near the end. Then I pretty much had to suspend all disbelief to take in the dramatic cliff-hanger of an ending. Up until that point, I thought the development of the mystery of Mesa Butte fairly well done. I do think some of my favorite scenes were at the newspaper. Seeing the workings of a big city newspaper, that's where Clare shows her stuff. She lends her experience as a journalist to the story and gives the reader the feel that they are right there in the newsroom with the I-Team.

So, not my favorite story in the series but there were certain parts that I did enjoy. Most of the reviews I've read for Naked Edge have been very positive, so I'm chalking this one up to personal preference and that it just didn't live up to my expectations. I did take a peak at the excerpt for the next book in the series. If the excerpt is any indication, it looks to be a good one. Even with the little bump in the road that was Naked Edge, I still like Clare's writing and will continue with this series.

Rating: C+


  1. Wow. Imust be a more forgiving reader than you. Although I thought Gabe could have let go of his issues a bit earlier, I loved both him and Kat. I loved that he was a man-whore and had absolutely no clue what to make of a woman like Kat. But that even though he had his issues, he never (k, almost never) treated her with anything other than respect.

    And I loved the ending, although I did think Gabe took it too easily.

  2. Wow, from me too. I did not have the same impressions of Naked Edge as you, but that is the nature of reviews, they are subjective :)

    I never found Gabe unlikable, even from his very horn-dog beginnings I understood the genesis of his mistrust of women and his daredevil, adrenaline lifestyle.

    I did not see Kat as a crybaby at all, in fact I don't even recall her crying all that much. I read her as a character full of dignity and exhibited a realistic goodness.

    The ending got me. It tore at my heart strings and shocked me a bit to be honest. Naked Edge was my first I-Team book and an A+ read for me.

    I have subsequently read Hard Evidence (book 2) but it did not surpass NE in my opinion.

  3. Lori ~ I didn't think Gabe was disrespectful towards Kat, I even mentioned that in the review. He just didn't want anything more than sex from her.

    Scorpio M. ~ I figured I'd be in the minority with this review. I wish I could have liked it more because I do like this series a bunch. Sadly, it just didn't work for me.

  4. Leslie, I also love some of the books in this series & I love the way Clare puts together a romantic/suspense book. She can really integrate both well & she writes some pretty erotic/hot scenes. However, you and I agree with a lot of the issues in this book.

    For me it wasn't so much Gabe's character (although I had some issues with him) as Kat's. I didn't and couldn't see her as a strong character in this story. She was either crying or getting rescued every other chapter... and I hardly recognized her in this book. I didn't think she was the tough journalist, or even aggressive enough to know how to go after the details of the story on her own.

    I also thought the ending was overly dramatic, unbelievable & didn't buy a lot of it. But as you say, it all comes down to a question of personal taste there. :)

  5. I just wrote up my review of this one and it should be up tomorrow. I liked it more than you did to :-} though Unlawful Contact is still my favourite.

  6. Hils ~ you’re right, Clare does mesh the romance/suspense well. For me it came down to the h/h – I just had too many issues with them.

    Kristie ~ I really wanted to like it more. I’ve enjoyed Pamela’s contemps and historicals but I guess I can’t love every one. Hard Evidence and Julian are still my favorite. :)