Wednesday, May 26, 2010

DIK Challenge Review: Pursuit

Elizabeth Jennings
Romantic Suspense
Grand Central Publishing/April 2008

From the back cover ~


A shocking betray
al... her father's murder... and a life-threatening accusation... Heiress Charlotte Court has walked into a waking nightmare - one that sends her running from her wealthy home to anywhere she can hide.


Across the border in Mexico, Charlotte creates a new identity and finds refuge in the battle-torn arms of Navy SEAL Matt Sanders. Fleeing his past, Matt yearns to protect her and replace her pain with pleasure. But Charlotte can't trust anyone, not even someone she's starting to love. She knows she's a target - and out of sight, a soulless killer is zeroing in on his prey...

This month's book I picked from Katie's list. I was in the mood for a romantic suspense. Elizabeth Jennings is also known to romance readers as Lisa Marie Rice. I haven't read anything by Rice but have heard good things about her Midnight books. I do have a few on the TBR pile and hope to get to them soon.

The story begins with murder and ends with justice. What happens in between is focused on two scarred and battle weary people who, at the beginning, are just trying to survive. Pursuit was an easy book to get into. It starts off quickly with Charlotte on the run for her life. Meanwhile, Matt Sanders is busy falling on his face at a VA hospital, trying to recover from multiple gunshot wounds. Both Charlotte and Matt are thrown into very different worlds than what they are accustomed to. Charlotte goes from wealthy and privileged to desperate and terrified. Matt goes from unbeatable warrior to broken, lost and in pain. Charlotte and Matt are exactly what the other needs, they just don't know it yet.

Charlotte Court is extremely wealthy but she doesn't flaunt that wealth. Instead she uses her wealth to help others and pursue her love of painting. She was studying in Italy when her father's health began to decline. She loves her father very much and spends the next two years at his bedside, taking care of him. I liked that Charlotte had a good relationship with her father. Too often we see the hero/heroine having strained or distant relationships with their parents. While we only get to know her father through Charlotte's memories of him, it showed how important he was to her. Charlotte is a likable character who overcomes incredible odds and manages to get away from her father's murderer. She travels to Mexico where she meets a man pushing himself to survive and recover.

Matt Saunders was Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy. A highly trained SEAL who finds himself desperately trying to recover not only his physical abilities but his sense of purpose. He goes to Mexico to stay with a friend and try to figure out what to do with his life. I really felt for Matt. Here's a guy who had it all. He was in a position of authority that he had worked very hard for. His whole life was focused on being a SEAL. Then all his plans are gone and he's got to decide what to do with the rest of his life. It's got to be a big blow to the ego to go from being extremely physically fit to being too weak to walk. When he meets Charlotte he's just beginning to recover physically and is completely focused on that.

When Matt figures out that Charlotte is in danger and hiding out in Mexico, it gives him a purpose. He appoints himself as her protector and begins to earn her trust. Charlotte knows who Matt is but she's still very leery of anyone and she certainly doesn't want anyone to find out her real identity. They begin to spend time together and get to know each other. I liked that Matt didn't push Charlotte towards sex. He definitely wanted her but backed off when she said no. He understood that she had gone through something very traumatic and he needed to earn her trust. In someways, they were a normal couple, going on dates and getting to know each other. In other ways they were far from normal with Matt protecting Charlotte and rarely letting her out of his sight. She didn't seem to mind, instead taking comfort from his presence.

While I liked the premise of the story and the hero/heroine I had a couple of problems that kept me from being able to enjoy it. The first is Matt and his lack of money. He talks of how he's never been into designer clothes or fancy cars so you get the impression that he's responsible when it comes to spending his money, that he doesn't spend it freely. He also says that he had lived on the base in the BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters) while he was in the Navy. Matt was an officer, a Lieutenant Commander. That's an O4 pay grade with 10+ years of service. According to DFAS his basic monthly pay would be $5799.00 as of January 2008. That's not including allowances, hazardous duty pay, sea pay etc. that he would have gotten. So why does he only have $13,000? I just couldn't figure out what he did with his money. And it's mentioned a number of times that he doesn't have much money and owns very little. This may be nit picking but whenever his lack of money was mentioned it bugged the heck out of me. Whether this bugs other readers, IDK, but with my dh being retired Navy, I'm very familiar with Navy pay. Now I know how Kristie felt with the inaccurate baseball facts. :)

The other thing that got me was the mention of Matt's friend Tom, also a former SEAL, that now heads a security firm in San Diego. What? Did I somehow start reading a Troubleshooters book? I realize not everyone is familiar with Brockmann's series but still... weird.

I did find the antagonist an interesting character. Jennings got us into his head and I found it very cold and creepy how someone can look at murder as just a job. His musings on tracking his prey and getting into the mind of his prey was intriguing but I did think the final "battle" a bit weak.

There was one scene that I thought was so sweet and had such a feeling of contentment. It's a morning after scene with Matt and Charlotte cuddled up in bed. Charlotte is feeling very happy, waking with a smile on her face. Matt tells her "I can hear you smiling". I loved that line. They're both so happy and relaxed after being so stressed out for so long.

Charlotte and Matt's love story is sweet and genuine. I liked how they got to know each other and became a couple. Unfortunately, by the end of the book the problems I mentioned overshadowed the story for me. That and the ending felt too quick after the build up of the killer's abilities. I think I'll try one of the Lisa Marie Rice books next.

Rating: B-


  1. Excellent review, Leslie. I remember liking this one a lot. LMR, not so much though. Although if her formula works for you, it works. (Big strong over the top alhas and cirgin heroines who are immediately sex goddesses when they meet big strong hero. Sometimes it works, but odten it doesn't for me.

  2. Lori ~ the LMR books sound like I'll have to be in a certain mood for it which is ok since I seem to be into "mood" reading lately. :)

  3. That is so interesting about the money, that you noticed that. I think if I noticed, it would bug me, too. I haven't read this book, but it does look like a good one. Good point about the parental relationships. Why is it always so much easier to make characters be less close to their folks? I know I do it too.

  4. Nice review Leslie. Well I have no idea how much a navy guy makes, so I took it at face value... LOL, but I get why it would annoy you.

    I enjoyed this book. I like Matt and Charlotte and how they got to know each other :D

  5. Haven't read this one. It's a really great review... I see why the $$ would bug you, it would bug me too if I were aware of it.

  6. Great review Leslie. This isn't one that I would have probably read so it's nice to see your thoughts on it.

    The friend who becomes the security expert in SD would have made me laugh. How could you not if you've read the Troubleshooters novels?

    I personally wouldn't have been bothered by the SEAL pay thing and money issue. Well, I might have wondered how he could be a SEAL and an officer and not have any money but other than that - not so much. :)