Thursday, August 17, 2023

Her Colton P.I.

Her Colton P.I.
by Amelia Autin
Recommended Ages: 18+

I figured Harlequin's "Romantic Suspense" department would be somewhat similar to its "Intrigue" series, a title of which I read back here. You know, with more weight on the suspense and mystery and maybe lighter on the graphic sex. Whoops. Was I ever wrong. I've actually been holding off on reviewing this book for a few weeks, thinking I'd pull another one of those gimmicks like "one graphic novel and two (cough) graphic novels," but nothing else materialized to pair it with. So with apologies for not making it cute, here's my quick and (ahem) dirty take on this smutty thriller.

Chris Colton is the P.I. mentioned in the title. He actually owns a multi-office detective agency in Texas. He comes from a family of (mostly) lawmen and -women, at least as far as his siblings are concerned – despite the fact that they were pulled in all different directions as kids when their father turned out to be a serial killer and their mother, one of his victims. Nasty baggage this guy is carrying. But that's just the appetizer. He also built a house for his beautiful wife, Laura, only to lose her and their unborn child in a tragedy from which his heart still hasn't healed.

Now Chris has been hired to track down a couple's widowed daughter-in-law, who is preventing them from seeing their adorable twin grandsons. Chris is quick to realize that his clients are actually trying to kill Holly McCay so they can take custody of the boys and control their dead dad's money. Chris recruits a couple of his cop siblings to help him set up a sting to catch the McCays in their murderous plot – while, at the same time, they're working an ongoing serial killer case that dredges up foul memories of their father.

There's a lot of plot points in play in this book, including a dying serial killer dad (now on death row) who holds the secret of where he hid their mother's body over his grown-up kids' heads; a female killer whose alphabetized victims all represent a single, hated person in her mind; a missing youngest sibling who disappeared, quite possibly after klling a drug dealer related to her adoptive parents; and a bouncing baby addition to the wider Colton family.

There is absolutely an Adult Content Advisory in effect concerning this book. Despite the vividly specific depiction of the hero couple's lovemaking, however, it's also very pointedly a romance between two people who have never been with anyone else besides their respective, deceased spouses and the moment they meet each other, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a lifelong thing. They just have to get over some personal hang-ups to realize it for themselves – a process that may provoke the reader's impatience at times.

As for the mystery-suspense-thriller subplots circling around the romantic core, this book resolves some of them but leaves others dangling for a future book. This is, after all, the fifth installment of a 12-book, multi-author series called "The Coltons of Texas" which, I guess, is paced to give the alphabet killer time to cover the whole alphabet. The series starts with Colton Copycat Killer by Marie Ferrarella and includes such titles as A Baby for Agent Colton, The Pregnant Colton Bride and Runaway Colton. Meanwhile, Amelia Autin is the author of the companion books Reilly's Return and Cody Walker's Woman, the nine-book "Man on a Mission" series (also under Harlequin's Romantic Suspense label), and an installment (book 18 of 48) in the "Marry Me, Cowboy" series titled Gideon's Bride.

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