Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ARC Review: Flawless by Heather Graham

by Heather Graham
Pub. Date:  March 29, 2016
Publisher:  Mira
Pages:  304
Format:  eARC
Source:  Edelweiss

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Everyone goes to Finnegan's… 

It's a pub in lower Manhattan, run by the Finnegan family for generations and now owned by Kieran and her three brothers. Kieran Finnegan, who still works there whenever she can, has become a criminal psychologist—a fitting reaction, perhaps, to her less-than-lawful past. 

Meanwhile, New York's Diamond District has been hit by a rash of thefts. No one's been killed—until now. FBI agent Craig Frasier is brought in to investigate; he and Kieran meet at a jewelry store in the middle of a heist. She's there to "unsteal" a flawless stone taken by her light-fingered youngest brother as an act of vengeance. He's there to stop the gang. 

But the police and FBI soon discover that there are two gangs of diamond thieves, the original and a copycat group of killers. And the second group seems to think their scheme is as flawless as the stones they steal.  
Thrown together by circumstance, drawn together by attraction, Kieran and Craig both end up working on the case. Unfortunately, there's more and more evidence that, somehow, the pub is involved. Because everyone goes to Finnegan's… 

My favorite aspect of this story was it's Irishness. Is that a thing? If not, it should be. The story involves an Irish-American family, proud of their heritage and operating a family pub in New York City, named Finnegans. Most of the characters were of Irish descent and they just had a wonderful and supportive community base that centered around the pub. The love and support between the Finnegan family was plain to see... but they had an extended family of sorts with regulars at the pub, which becomes apparent when one is injured, or put in danger, or starts being celebrated as a hero.

Kieran Finnegan is our heroine, and is a newly graduated criminal psychologist. Having a similar educational background made me perk up and take interest... of course I went on to law school but sometimes I think What if?, ya know? Anywho, I enjoyed reading about Kieran's professional life and cases, and felt that they were well-developed and integrated in the story at appropriate times and frequency. As in, they weren't overdone but served as a nice addition. After helping to thwart a jewelry heist, Kieran is being touted a hero and media darling. Only Kieran is cringing from the spotlight and seems almost afraid of being seen on the news. I don't really understand why, as it wasn't fully explained, so that one aspect was left at loose ends. Otherwise. Kieran was a likeable and relatable heroine. She was a bit of a mother hen over her younger brother, and I had to admire her for not throttling Danny and Julie when she discovered their idiotic scheme to get revenge on Julie's soon-to-be ex husband.

The hero is FBI Agent Craig Frasier, with the looks and height of his Highland ancestry. Apparently he has not been in a relationship since someone died, but we never got that story. Another loose end that I would have liked to discover. He has an immediate attraction to our stunning heroine, but he knows she is hiding something. Even so, his protective instincts flare to life and he finds himself dogging her footsteps right into her bed. I liked the relationship between them, but I wish the characters would have been more developed. I have unanswered questions for both of them and so I felt I was left a bit wanting. 

The suspense plot moved along steadily, and I didn't quite figure out the culprit, though some of my suspicions proved true. But some of the action sequences, and the ending, felt hurried. I enjoyed the story as I was reading, but wasn't fully satisfied after I finished. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars / 2 flames.

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