One Scream Away
One Scream Away is the book equivalent of a CBS crime drama: barely dangerous, slightly obscene, with an expected level of crazy for the villain and a suitable amount of romance to balance the ugliness. The book is edgy only to the level that is appropriate, which, of course, is the point. It skirts the line of being nice.
The plot is simple: after surviving an attack seven years earlier, Beth Denison is stalked by her attacker, now a serial killer. Former FBI agent Neil Sheridan, fighting his own demons (naturally), is brought in on the case—one he thought was closed. Sparks fly, as do a few bullets. Yada yada yada. If you’ve watched a crime drama in the last twenty years, you know the story.
That being said, the book is not a bad read. Kate Brady is a talented writer, even if she’s not stretching herself, and the book offers some well written, if unoriginal, moments. The characters—Neil and Beth in particular—are well developed. Their relationship moves in a natural way, even if it seems too fast for comfort. While I never thought anyone was in real danger, I was interested to know what route she would take.
Of course, this being both a romance novel and a crime story, no one acts anywhere near logically. Rules are thrown out the window in favor of hunches; cops are inept at best, downright stupid at worst. When was the last time a person was kidnapped from protective custody with fifteen guards around them? No one bats an eye when Neil and Beth begin a relationship, despite all sorts of conflicts that would result from a lead investigator sleeping with the main witness, especially one who was briefly the main suspect.
Never mind that being stalked and threatened with death might not make it the best time to begin a new relationship; sex is the cure all for all of Beth's ills, particularly that pesky post-traumatic stress disorder that simply disappears after Beth finally has the love of a good man. Yeah, it’s that kind of book.
I haven’t even gotten to Chevy Banks, the stalker, who is a big ball of Norman Bates-style momma-hating issues that is a cross-dressing habit short of being created entirely by googling “serial killer” and using the key words. Fortunately, these problems don’t keep the book from being a beach read. Unfortunately, they do keep it from being a book you remember five minutes after you put it down. If you can’t watch Law and Order for a couple of days, there are worse ways to spend your time.