Crosshairs – Patricia Bradley

Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley
Also by this author: Obsession, Obsession
Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #3
Published by Revell on November 2, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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four-stars

Investigative Services Branch (ISB) ranger Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a three-month-pregnant teenager. While she wishes the visit was under better circumstances, she never imagined that she would become the killer's next target--nor that she'd have to work alongside an old flame.
After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn't bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly and unforeseen consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her. The only question is, will it be too little, too late?
Award-winning author Patricia Bradley continues her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series with a story about how good must prevail when evil just won't quit.

Ainsley and Lincoln face a crime with twists and turns that would leave even the brightest minds baffled. On top of that, they have a history together—of misunderstandings and love left behind.  Can they look past their differences to find the killer?  Only one way to find out: read Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley.  Even though it is the third book of a series, you don’t need to read the other two novels.

I loved returning to Natchez Trace, especially for a story that pulled in mysteries from the present and the past.  Along with the murdered teenager, Ainsley’s aunt fell in her home under suspicious circumstances.  Each answer leads to more questions, more furrowed brows.  All the while, it seems that Ainsley is the antagonist’s new target, and Lincoln’s protective instinct kicks in…even though he feels highly underprepared, considering he can no longer shoot a firearm.  Ainsley and Lincoln are believable characters, with personalities beyond the surface level.  The minor characters, too, are well thought-out and entertaining.  They support the story well, building up the tale.

My biggest complaint about Crosshairs was it was a bit confusing at times.  I forgot certain characters, especially when Bradley mentioned those involved with an ancestor’s missing journals.  I would’ve appreciated an occasional reminder of their identities. Same thing with other characters involved in the “present” story.  Give me their titles or their organizational affiliations because “John Smith” doesn’t help me when I haven’t seen his name in 20 pages.

Patricia Bradley is a very talented suspense author; Crosshairs proves that tenfold. She included short chapters from the antagonist’s view, which I appreciated delving into his mind.  But the novel did feature some qualities I did not like, including a mental health element that seemed like an afterthought.  Also, just once would I like to see a situation where the male character is in danger, and the woman is the one to rescue him.  After reading as many romantic suspense novels as I have, I’m tired of the predictable, overused “damsel in distress” nonsense.

Overall, Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley is a thrilling read from the beginning, though like all novels, it does have its flaws.  If you’re looking for a story with a satisfying—but not overpowering—romance that will keep you guessing all the way to the end, Crosshairs is for you!

four-stars