Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Date of Publication: May 23, 2014
Number of pages: 184
Word Count: 55,395
Cover Artist: Lacey Savage
There’s a lot going on in The Ringer by Amber Malloy, starting with a sizzling connection between undercover decoy, Lane Garret and Detective Jax Thornbird. When Lane’s attempt to nail a cheating husband goes awry, Jax comes to the rescue but not before her “mark” is killed by an assassin. Thus begins a cat and mouse game of keeping Lane alive when it appears someone would like to see her dead.
There are sub-plots to this romantic suspense keeping the tension high and encouraging the reader to turn pages but I especially like the clever ending when we discover who has put a “hit” on Lane . . . and why. Since I don’t like revealing spoilers, I suppose you’ll have to buy the book and read it to learn the details. 🙂
That being said, The Ringer has a few flaws that I found confusing. The beginning scenes kept jumping around, going back thirty minutes then to the present, then back four months, etc. I understand the author’s reasoning for doing this. It was a clever way to fill in back story without lengthy description. However, the effort was not entirely seamless and forced me to re-read certain passages to clarify the story details. The novel flowed better at the end than in the initial chapters.
The other thing that threw me was the occasional use of “slang” dialect. I’m not twenty something so perhaps I’m out of touch but I found myself trying to decipher certain references or lines, which took me out of the story. Once again, I’m sure a younger reader would relate to the modernism of language and have a greater understanding of the casual speak so I would consider this a minor point.
The final consensus is The Ringer has an interesting plot with some unexpected twists that is sure to please most romantic suspense fans. It gets a thumbs up.
Lane Garret is a dead ringer…
Newly single, cheaters decoy Lane Garret is excited about her fresh start and believes everything is at last on track. Unfortunately, her fantasy of the good life is blown away…along with one of her marks. While on a date, Lane not just witnesses a murder but almost becomes a victim. Saved in the nick of time by one hot detective, she wonders if someone wants her dead.
On forced leave due to a pending Internal Affairs investigation, Jackson (Jax) Thornbird agrees to do a friend a favor. Tricked into decoy security, Jax decides one night will be easy enough, but things go awry. When shots are fired, he grabs the girl and leaves the scene of the crime—a rash decision that could ruin his career. However, Jax has a hunch the intended target wasn’t the dead, cheating husband.
It was too dark to see the woman’s face, but Jax recognized something about her. Streetlights ran over the car, creating a quick shadow before slipping back into the night.
He couldn’t get a good read on her face.
Even with her strange blonde hair and oddly matched clothes, Jax remembered the decoy.
This woman reeked girl-next-door wholesomeness, but without direct light he couldn’t place her, underneath the heavy makeup and the two-times-too-small Hello Kitty tank she wore.
“I know you,” she said. It came out in a hushed whisper while they sped down Wacker Drive. The underground tunnel had dangerous twists and turns.
“I-I-I remember—” she stuttered with a bit more panic lacing her voice.
A sedan whizzed past them, missing the sports car by mere inches. To overcompensate for the close call, she jerked the wheel too hard, careening them into a massive spinout.
Adrenaline thrummed through his veins, and Jax reached over to grab the steering wheel.
“Put your foot on the brake,” he instructed as they continued to spin in the opposite direction. She didn’t utter a single word, not even a peep, while Jax maneuvered the car into the slide.
Almost too late to save them, Jax noted very few cars passed them before they spun out over the median divider.
“I know you,” she wheezed. The woman dropped her head on the wheel.
The car idled in the middle of the road as Jax tried to calm her down. “You’re going into shock,” he told her. “I need you to take three deep breaths, hold for five seconds, then exhale. Come on, I’ll do it with you. One.” Getting close to her, he inhaled and waited before he released.
After a moment she began to follow his lead. Once they got through their first repetition, she had calmed down a bit. “Hot,” she said before she snatched the blonde wig off and shook her dark hair loose. The light from the street caught her eyes. Jax gazed into her dazzling green globes.
“Yeah,” he admitted as he stared at her. “I know you, too.”
About the Author:
Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.