Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch (review)

finalverdict_patch_harlequinLISLawyers are not favorite characters of mine, having worked with a few of the corporate types over the years, so I was pleasantly surprised when the heroine of Final Verdict, a public defender, had me laughing and rooting for her – and in a suspense novel, no less.

Aurora wanted to fan herself. In winter. It wasn’t lack of food that might send her into making a rash or poor decision. It was Beckett Marsh’s grin. Mercy, it was billboard worthy. (p. 90)

There is action, suspense, danger, and a ruthless killer, but what I enjoyed most about this particular Romantic Suspense novel were the main characters and their interactions. As a former Navy SEAL, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is bossy and all alpha male but a mama’s boy at heart. Aurora Daniels is a dedicated lawyer whose past has started catching up with her.

As Beckett protects her, and they slowly find that they were mistaken in their thinking about each other, Aurora causes some of the best bits of this story and illustrates one of the aspects of Christian Romance that I enjoy.

“You want coffee, Counselor?”

She almost said no to ruffle his feathers but, instead, nodded. “Cream and sugar since it’s clear you’re going to fix it for me.”

“You want to pour your own cup?” Impatience lined his face and Aurora relished the moment. Getting under his skin. Seeing him squirm. A tough guy with a mama’s boy’s heart. Oh, what it did to hers.

“No. I think I’ll sit right here and tell you how to do it.” (p.90)

Unlike much of general market Romance fiction, where being an alpha male or being damaged in some way is too often accepted as an excuse for being a controlling jerk, Aurora directly calls Beckett out on his alpha-male bossiness and insists that he give her “pretty prose” instead of orders. To get to the happily-ever-after, the hero does some growing and learns how to treat the heroine properly.

If you enjoy romantic suspense with former Navy SEALs and strong female protagonists, along with a strong faith element that emphasizes grace, then this is a nice, quick read. The perfect length to spend a very pleasant evening reading, and one of my favorites from the Love Inspired Suspense line so far.

Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch | Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, April 2017 | paperback, 219 pages (also available in ebook or larger print)

This review refers to a finished copy won in a First Reads giveaway on Reviews are encouraged, but not required. All opinions expressed are my own.