Karen Robards is another–original–favorite romance author of mine. I found her ages ago. Sometimes her books can get a little too violent and bloody, but they’re consistently fast-paced and easy to read. I usually enjoy them. So when I saw Hunted (2013) by Karen Robards on bookshelves, I picked it up–at the library (because I’m cheap).
Quite often with Robards comes murder and mystery and Hunted is no different. Reed Ware is a New Orleans Homicide Detective and his fated love interest, Caroline Wallace, is a hostage negotiator. Although they know each other from back when Caroline was a teenager and Reed Ware was protecting her father, the superintendent of police, it didn’t end well. When seventeen-year-old Caroline threw herself at the handsome Reed, he kissed her for one second before he threw her in a pool. Personally, it’s obviously good that he didn’t take advantage, but he could have dealt with that situation with a wee bit more sensitivity.
Anyway, Ware has connections with two street kids who stumble upon a suspicious murder. When both kids are picked up and essentially disappear, Ware decides that he has to do something drastic. His brilliant idea is to charge into a party of the city’s elite and take a bunch of hostages, including the mayor and the superintendent of police. He threatens to blow up the house and demands that one of the street kids be released to him–as well as tons of money and a helicopter. Caroline Wallace is brought into the situation as the negotiator, with the stakes especially high as her father is a hostage and the “bad guy” is her teenage crush.
The rest of the story plays out as Caroline interacts and learns from Reed, first as an antagonist, and then as a conspirator. They must stay away from the police, solve the mystery, and save the city. They also need some time to fall in love. I confess that I can’t remember all the particulars of their love story. I think Reed liked Caroline immediately but fought the good fight against the attraction because he didn’t want to drag her into his mess and believed there was no future for him.
This wasn’t my favorite Robards novel. I still flew through it and enjoyed most of the interactions between Reed and Caroline, but the plot’s preposterousness* was distracting. I don’t think I’d recommend it.
Nothing excuses a police officer, or any person for that matter, from charging into a house, threatening to blow up the home and its inhabitants, restraining them, and causing chaos throughout an entire city. Robards’ imaginative view of the justice system and potential mitigating factors is beyond unrealistic–especially when Ware had so many other options. What if someone in the house had a heart attack? Or if the police got jumpy and accidentally shot a hostage? Then Ware would be up for felony murder.
*This may not be a real word.
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