Critical Threat – Lynette Eason

Critical Threat by Lynette Eason
Also by this author: Collateral Damage, Acceptable Risk, Active Defense, Active Defense, Life Flight, Crossfire, Countdown, Double Take
Series: Extreme Measures #3
Published by Revell on January 3, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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"Working as a behavioral analyst with the FBI puts Grace Billingsley in contact with every sort of evil and every kind of person. But working with the son of a serial killer? That's a first"--

FINALLY. I have been waiting for this book. Thank you, Lynette Eason, for delivering another exciting addition to the genre of romantic suspense. And let me tell you, this one is a zinger! Grace Billingsley and Sam Monroe are quite the powerful crime-fighting pair. They team up to stop a serial killer whose tactics eerily resemble those of Sam’s father, imprisoned for committing multiple murders. Critical Threat by Lynette Eason is a breathtaking whirlwind from beginning to end.

Eason walks the tight rope of “disturbing” flawlessly. The killer’s victims are not what anyone would expect. Not young women but ones that are more mature. More life behind them. No obvious connections between them, and no clues as to why they are being targeted. Let me put on my “public safety” hat for a second: Eason demonstrates no one is excluded from the threat of violence. While a serial killer may have a “perfect victim,” that could be anyone. Any skin color, any religious affiliation, any sexual orientation, any age. That is why it is so important to be vigilant and observant of your surroundings. Get off the smartphones!

Anyway, back to Critical Threat by Lynette Eason. She transports the reader into the killer’s point of view. You see how he thinks and why he attacks who he does…which includes Grace. Not only is Grace trying to solve the case, she’s defending herself against the killer and dealing with a family crisis. And Sam, too, has enough on his plate without contemplating the connections between his father and a murderer cutting out people’s tongues. See what I mean by “disturbing?” I get chills just thinking about it. But where some authors explicitly describe morbidity, Eason does not. No need to worry about a queasy stomach with Critical Threat!

The book, however, does have the classic “Characters must have dramatic and/or dramatic personal lives” cliché that I dislike. The novel also had some issues that seemed…hard to believe. As an FBI special agent, Grace would have been trained to spot a tail; she didn’t. You would think she’d set her house alarm; she didn’t. With a protective detail, you’d think the bad guy would have trouble getting to her; he didn’t. Eason also talks about her being a behavioral analyst and working on the killer’s profile. Grace eventually finishes and submits it. Great, but I wanted to know the profile, too. Eason drops snippets of the profile throughout the novel, but I never hear Grace present it, and nor does she receive feedback.

And maybe I’ve just read too many romantic suspense novels, but I picked out the “bad guy” from the moment Eason first hinted at his identity in any capacity. The big mystery lacked complexity. Overall, Critical Threat is fast-paced and easy to read. The romance is clean and understated, and I enjoyed the novel…even if it had some problems.