Counter Attack – Patricia Bradley

Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley
Also by this author: Obsession, Obsession, Crosshairs, Deception, Fatal Witness
Series: Pearl River #1
Published by Revell on May 16, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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No sooner has Alexis Stone been sworn in as the interim sheriff for Russell County, Tennessee, when a serial killer dubbed the Queen's Gambit Killer strikes again--this time in her hometown. Pearl Springs is just supposed to be a temporary stop along the way to Alex's real dream: becoming the first female police chief of Chattanooga. But the killer's calling card--a white pawn and a note with a chess move printed on it--cannot be ignored.
Pearl Springs chief of police Nathan Landry can't believe that his high school sweetheart Alexis (he refuses to call her Alex) is back in town, and he can't help wanting to protect the woman he never stopped loving. But as the danger mounts and the killer closes in, can Nathan come through on the promises he makes to himself to bring a killer to justice before it's too late.

Patricia Bradley introduces her new “Pearl River” series with bang with Counter Attack. A serial killer strikes; Alexis and Nathan must team up to stop him before more lives are lost. The unsub leaves clues associated with chess, and lucky for Alexis, Nathan understands them. Can they put aside their mutual attraction, or will it distract them from their tasks? And what about Alexis’s…shaky position as interim sheriff? Will that stand in the way, too? Only one way to find out: Read Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley!

I’m going to preface the rest of this review by saying I read Counter Attack when recovering from surgery. As I could do little else, I inhaled novels like a competitor in a hot dog eating contest. I could not write or type out my thoughts. That all being said, my recollections of Patricia Bradley’s newest novel are a little…blurry. The plot is enjoyable and entertaining. Even in my post-anesthesia state, Counter Attack kept me awake, and that’s saying something! Anesthesia can make me sleep for days on end. Counter Attack, however, demanded my attention, for which I am grateful! Patricia Bradley describes the murders—and other crimes—without being gruesome. I have read enough romantic suspense that little surprise me anymore, so I was able to predict the “bad guy”almost from the start. But that did not take away from the novel in the least.

The chess aspect—the unsub’s signature, to steal a behavioral science term—I liked. I don’t know chess, so I was as in the dark as Alexis. I needed the explanations Bradley provided. Chess, however, I feel is rather overused. I understand it takes an inordinate amount of skill. But I feel if an author needs to reference a game for some reason or another, it is always chess. While Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley has an original plot, I have read aspects of it in other novels. It was not my favorite Patricia Bradley novel, but I am absolutely looking forward to meeting future characters in the “Pearl River” series.