Pursuit by Karen Robards


Pros: the reasonable premise that held promise

Cons: ridiculous romance angle

Starts out OK but quickly slides downhill.

I’m talking about Pursuit by Karen Robards.  This is the debut novel of the Jess Ford series.  It’s where we meet Jess and secret-service agent Mark.

When rookie lawyer Jess is given an assignment that includes meeting the First Lady, she’s thrilled.  This might just be the career-boost she’s been waiting for!  But things go terribly wrong that night.

Jess doesn’t remember too many details, but she remembers being in a car with the First Lady.  Now the car lays crumpled in a heap, and Jess is the only survivor.  While the American public is saddened by this terrible tragedy, Jess has a nagging suspicion that the crash was no accident.  Worse, anyone who might have a clue what happened that night is suddenly turning up dead.  Jess knows the only thing keeping her alive right now is her faulty memory. But if it should start coming back…

Well that’s where secret-service agent Mark comes in.  He’s trying to protect Jess from forces – known and unknown – who want to make sure the truth about that fateful night never comes out. But is Mark all he says he is?

The premise, itself, was fine.  I was definitely interested to find out what really happened that night. What was the First Lady doing just before the crash… And who benefits from her death?

But here’s the part of the story that annoys me.  Everyone who gets anywhere near Jess is turning up dead.  Clearly something huge is going on and Jess needs to be on alert.  So what does she do?  Jump into bed with the secret-service agent, of course.  Worse, declare 10 minutes later that she’s in love with him.  Yes, that’s right, the man she just met an hour ago is now her lover and “the love of her life”.

I get so tired of authors who think that every thriller requires a romance angle no matter how far-fetched its inclusion.  In this case, it was blatantly ridiculous for Jess to act as she did.  She wasn’t thinking straight, and it could have gotten her killed, not to mention causing harm and danger for others.

Once that happened, the book became tedious for me.  Jess fretting over how she looks, what she says, what he says, etc.  It was like reading a story from the point of view of a love-sick teenager.  And, I don’t mean to offend love-sick teenagers, but if I want to read a young adult novel, I’ll do so.  For me, I want my thrillers to thrill, and that’s it.

In the end, once we have all the pieces of the puzzle, the story was just OK for me.  It seemed to me that a lot of hassle ensued just because someone – somewhere – made some awfully dumb decisions.  The whole thing could have been avoided if common sense were just a bit more common.

So, no, I don’t recommend Pursuit.

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