Monday, August 20, 2012

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

I received Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I've read all of Henderson's other works, so I am basically right in the center of the target audience for this book.

Paul Falcon is a high-ranking FBI investigator. When small-town cop Ann Silver stops by his office and drops a hot lead on his desk, related to a cold case he's been trying to solve for years, Falcon finds himself interested in more than just the evidence envelope she hands over. Ann is an enigma to Falcon -- one he'd like to try and solve. Will Ann let herself get close to him, or will the secrets in her past keep them always at arm's length?

One of the most interesting things that Henderson did in this book was to make Ann the fictional author of all of Henderson's earlier works -- and to make those works based on Ann's friends' lives. On one hand, this is a clever device to allow characters from the O'Malley series and Henderson's other books to crop up as characters in this book, despite the fact that Ann was not a character in the earlier books. On the other hand, it does make Ann a bit of a Mary Sue. While she's not a perfect character (more on that later), she does have mad skillz as both a writer and a homicide investigator, as well as an intimate relationship with God and a talent for forming and maintaining close friendships. She comes across as a bit of a Superwoman.

Unlike Henderson's earlier books, the suspense element was dialed down several notches in Full Disclosure. I kept waiting for that edge-of-your-seat moment when the hired killer is holding a gun against one of the characters' heads . . . it never came. There's plenty of intrigue and several shocking revelations, but they're all in the past, not part of the main action of the story.

On a personal note, I also thought that the romance lacked heat. Ann is intensely private and afraid of commitment, and most of the story is told from Falcon's perspective. While he was fully involved in trying to make a romance happen, I found Ann's hesitant and standoffish attitude extremely off-putting. Other readers may not have this reaction, however.

So, the amount of criticism I'm leveling may make it seem like I didn't enjoy this book. On the contrary, it held my attention nicely. While I might have liked to see a little more romance and a little more suspense, I did enjoy the way characters from previous novels were woven into the story, and I liked the way the two major cases that Falcon was working intersected. I would recommend this to Henderson's hardcore fans -- but for those who like inspirational fiction and romantic suspense, I would recommend giving The Negotiator a try and working your way up to this book.

(Reviewed from an advance copy courtesy of the publisher, via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)

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