Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham
Published by Harlequin on March 23, 2021
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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A ritualistic murder on the side of a remote road brings in the Florida state police. Special Agent Amy Larson has never seen worse, and there are indications that this killing could be just the beginning. The crime draws the attention of the FBI in the form of Special Agent Hunter Forrest, a man with insider knowledge of how violent cults operate, and a man who might never be able to escape his own past.
The rural community is devastated by the death in their midst, but people know more than they are saying. As Amy and Hunter join forces, every lead takes them further into the twisted beliefs of a dangerous group that will stop at nothing to see their will done.
A horrific, ritualistic murder, a cult, and a pair of law enforcement investigators sifting through small towns and Florida backcountry for the truth. I had never read this author’s books before and have wanted to for some time so I jumped at the chance.
Danger in Numbers opens with the gruesome death that brings Florida State Police Special Agent Amy Larson and her partner in on the investigation, but soon she is antagonized by the arrival of FBI Agent Hunter Forrest. She must join Hunter when her partner suffers a heart attack and she learns that Hunter’s knowledge of similar murder and cult crimes will give them the edge. The antagonism de-escalates and they become a great investigative team. Her drawing talent and investigative skills and his experience lead the way through potential suspects and delving into a dangerous cult. Their partnership becomes something more, even as things build to a suspenseful climax.
I enjoyed the way the author built the setting and situation while getting my attention with that grisly death. I loved the rural Florida backdrop and the feeling that something is seething and everyone seems to know something. Between the preppers and the cultists, this was one fulminating area and ripe for the crime setting.
At first, I was a little leery of the main character, Amy. She got all bent out of shape when Hunter showed up and I didn’t want a bunch of law enforcement rivalry drama-ing up a good thriller set up. But, she lowered her hackles and got to work after a brief time of showing her displeasure. I was really glad of that because Hunter was the one with the expertise in this type of crime and had the past crime to help solve this one. He also was the character I was most drawn to with his slowly emerging background and the way he did his job. In truth, I felt I knew Hunter much better than Amy. Her background was never drawn as well as his though she was a likeable, capable woman who had a talent for drawing the crime scenes.
The romance was mostly background for this book and I was actually fine with this. I think it was the brutal killing up front and the potential for worse. If they had been spending all their time and thoughts on their attraction when so much trouble was happening, I would have seen them as unprofessional and worse. But, that said, they were both great people and I was happy to see them forming more than a working partnership by the end.
As to the mystery, I had no idea who did it. I pointed the finger a few times, but, honestly, I couldn’t have figured this one out. The how, yes, but the rest was too ambiguous until late right about the time of the reveal. I even saw betrayal and conspiracy where there wasn’t any. Definitely one of those where I could only follow along at the pace of the story.
All in all, this was a solid murder thriller and I enjoyed the author’s writing. I definitely want more and I need to go and get her backlist from others series, too. Those who enjoy romantic suspense with emphasis on a gritty, engaging suspense should definitely pick this one up.