Thursday, January 19, 2017

Law and Disorder

Law and Disorder (The Finnegan Connection) by [Graham, Heather]

Law and Disorder- Heather Graham
Harlequin Intrigue
Release Date: January 17, 2017

Rating (out of 5):

Synopsis: Desperate to escape her kidnappers, Kody Cameron can turn to only one man…and he's holding a gun. Outnumbered and trapped in the deadly Everglades, she has little recourse, but something in this captor's eyes makes her believe she can trust him. Does she dare to take the risk? 

Undercover agent Nick Connolly has met Kody before and knows she might very well blow his cover. Though determined to maintain his facade, he can't let Kody die. He won't. And his decision to change his own rules of law and order are about to make all hell break loose. 

Law and Disorder jumps straight into a manic hostage situation and search for buried treasure.  Kody Cameron and a group of others are taken hostage by a gang who want to use her knowledge of gangster history to find the buried treasure of mobster Anthony Green.  The treasure has been hidden for decades and head bad guy "Dillinger" thinks Kody can find it where so many others have failed.  She turns to "Barrow", one of the gang, for help.  He seems familiar but she can't figure out why.  Turns out Barrow is really Nick Connolly, undercover FBI agent who once briefly met Kody in a bar in NY.  In an amazingly short period of time the FBI have negotiated for the release of hostages, met the bad guys' demands for motor boats and Dillinger, Barrow, and Kody are heading into the Everglades to find where she thinks the treasure is hidden.  
I liked the idea of this story- undercover agent works against crazy bad guy to free hostages and falls in love with one of them. Instant connection between the two heroes, building off of a brief moment months before leading to a deeper relationship may be unlikely in real life, but it's a lot of fun in books.
 Unfortunately, I ended up being highly disappointed in this book.  Between pages of information on the Florida Everglades, historical mobster data, house architecture, and the dangers of the swamp at night there wasn't a lot of time for a developed plot and even less for a developing romance.  Stilted, unrealistic dialogue; a bad guy who seemed more like a caricature from a movie; and a heroine who mouths off beyond the point of bravery and into annoying stupidity left it hard to like any of the characters.  We never find out why Dillinger is so obsessed with the hidden treasure that he would kidnap Kody not once but twice to try and find it.  And Graham repeats herself so much, and puts tons of details where they don't work that it is impossible to ever really get into a rhythm - the book keeps interrupting itself.  When Kody gets a gun held on her in the first two sentences of the book I thought I'd be pulled in and not be able to put the book down.  When Kody responds to the gun in her face by thinking about all the times she and her friends played cops and gangsters as kids, leading to her love of historical mobsters and the history of the house she's at, I was thrown off, and never really managed to get back into it.  The amount of repetition (always a big pet peeve of mine in books) made me wonder if Graham thought her readers weren't paying attention or if she wasn't.
With a lot of editing, Law and Disorder could have been a good book.  However, it read more like a first draft than a polished mystery to me.  I've seen Heather Graham books out for years and this was the first one I've read.  And while I know everyone can have an off book, I can't say this one made me want to try another of Graham's books to see if this one was just a fluke.   

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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