by Linda Castillo

May 2004
ISBN: 0-425-19657-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

There is nothing romantic about this romantic suspense. I wouldnít even call it a romance. Iím giving the highest rating there is, not for its romance, but for Linda Castilloís talent and the courage she showed in writing Fade To Red. Linda Castillo is pushing the envelope. And she is doing a very convincing and yes, disturbingly good job.

Pastry chef, Lindsey Metcalf from the Midwest knows something is very wrong with her younger sister. She doesnít need a desperate phone call, or the police confirming her sisterís disappearance to tell her what her hearts has been telling her right away. Trouble! After a violent childhood and some heavy guilt issues she is not leaving the investigation to the police. She packs her bags, books her flight and is off to Seattle to find out the truth. The truth though, hurts. The search for it draws her into a world of violence, sex, drugs and murder. It also draws her close to Ex-cop, Michael Striker.

Striker has two weeks left before he goes to trial for police brutality. He is a desperate and angry man. Hurting. Wounded. Lashing out. To be around him means to be pushed and snarled at. He sure doesnít want to spend his last two weeks of freedom with Lindsey. Heís honorable though, and as private investigator, acquaintance of her sister and connoisseur of her beauty he is incapable of staying away. Striker is not an easy and not always a likable hero and so Fade To Red, is definitely not an easy or likable read.

Lindsey is strong, she needs to be. No pushing her around. She pushes back. She is smart, but trying to save lives has her acting too impulsive and yes, stupid. To rescue her and to comfort her sheís got Striker. He admires her, respects her and cares for her. Does he love her? Does she love him? They need each other thatís for sure. And they definitely lust for each other. Love though is a feeling hard to grasp when itís threatened by so much violence. It is those moments of unconditional acceptance of past and current mistakes that show love and being loved at its best.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. If you are unwilling or unable to stomach explicit violence and the seedier sides of life then do please stay clear of Linda Castilloís latest release. If, on the other hand you like nothing better than an adrenaline rush and a hero and heroine possessing multiple character layers, then be assured that Fade To Red will be exactly what you are looking for and so much more.

Fade To Red is very uncompromising. Linda Castillo has no qualms in throwing you into the deep end. She keeps ducking you under, forcing you to only take shallow breaths, to only glimpse short intervals of passion, caring and love. Then itís back under and against the next wave of violence and despair coming at you with a vengeance. Make sure to have some comfort food ready. You will need it to sooth your frazzled nerves.

Reviewed in April 2004 by Kris Alice.

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