26 July 2014

Review: Rachel Grant's Evidence Series ROCKS!

Finding an author who writes stories that strongly resonate with a personal passion is like birthday and Christmas surprises combined. That’s one reason I love preparing the weekly Feeding Your eReader Friday posts, as I’ll search out books that are either free or almost free to recommend to you. In order to do that, I read the titles (yes, I do), before recommending them to you.

This past week, when I was looking for titles to include I found the first book in the romantic suspense series, Evidence, by Rachel Grant. The description of Concrete Evidence totally intrigued me as it featured an underwater archaeologist (yes, one of my passions). So, along with Elisabeth Naughton’s glowing endorsement, I knew couldn’t go very wrong. (Plus, it was and is FREE!)

Little did I anticipate becoming so caught up in the story, that not only did I read Concrete Evidence, but also Body of Evidence (book 2) (available for $0.99 in the six-book bundle, Crimes of Passion: 6 Romantic Suspense Books), and Withholding Evidence (book 3).

Yes, I purchased and read the entire series and the only complaint I’ll voice is that there isn’t a book four yet. Rachel Grant recently posted photos to her Facebook page from a research trip to Alaska for her next Evidence title. I can’t wait! Just like caffeine in the morning, I need my Rachel Grant fix! NOW!

Grant is an author who knows the worlds she’s writing about intimately (she’s an archaeologist and her husband is an underwater archaeologist). She uses that authentic background to create powerful and compelling protagonists and engrossing stories. But don’t worry, it’s not all geeky facts (though geek girls will love these books). Each book is a suspenseful page turner that I already want to read again!

Concrete Evidence, the first book in Rachel Grant’s Evidence series, begins with a tragic scene from the 1950s. Soon, I was so wrapped up in former underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling’s story that the earlier scene slipped from my mind (but not too far, as it’s quite important to the story).

Erica’s been blackballed from her graduate program, can no longer work as an underwater archaeologist or for anyone in her industry on the West Coast. On the edge of bankruptcy, she is working as a consulting archaeologist for a private D.C.-based company that does quite a bit of contracting work for the government.

The reason behind her career slide is integral to the story as in order to clear $100,000 of debts her mother incurred in her name, she took a job with a salvager the prior summer. Crossing the line from straight academic archaeology to working for someone who’s a treasure hunter is a huge no no in her field. Let alone finding out that her boss is stealing priceless Aztec objects that were supposed to be left in situ until the Mexican authorities were alerted to the find.

Erica now lives under the threat of blackmail from the salvager and is hoping to find what he did with these priceless objects as one of her company’s clients may be involved. However, she’s not the only one who’s searching out a thief and contraband. Unexpectedly, she's saddled with intern Lee Scott, who seems a bit old to still be in college, but acts the slacker as the ultimate Tetris warrior. But in actuality he’s there undercover to find out who’s smuggling illegal Iraqi antiquities - the same antiquities that were to be traded for the Aztec ones that Erica had discovered.

Neither of Erica nor Lee trusts the other with the truth of what they’re in search of. But in rooting out the history of a house that was built for a military base, now on a Native American reservation, both of their searches collide. The way Grant combines the historical search for the special concrete that was used to build the house with the search for the objects, along with the many threats Erica and Lee face is riveting. I really was swept up in the search they did in the National Archives, following the paper trail, yep, geek girl heaven!

I don’t want to go into too much more detail, as the story is much better as told by Grant, but be prepared for a very intelligent and suspenseful thriller that has political and international elements - as well as plenty of romance.

The second book in the Evidence series, Body of Evidence, begins with the heroine, archaeologist Mara Garrett, facing a firing squad in North Korea. Oh my goodness, my heart about stopped as she walked blindfolded to her final sentence, and only began to beat again when U.S. Attorney Curt Dominick (from Concrete Evidence) arrived.

Curt flexed his negotiating skills a bit to help Erica in Concrete Evidence as Lee's best friend, but that was nothing to going up against the North Korean leader with the poker face that ex-President Clinton coached him on. I’d swoon if he were on my side and it’s clear from their first encounter that Mara and Curt have a pretty strong attraction to one another. However, Curt is prosecuting Mara’s uncle, a former U.S. Vice President, so while he’s riding to her rescue they’re on opposite sides of that fence.

Soon they’re both being hunted by Mara’s ex-fiance on behalf of his father who runs the security/black ops company that her uncle works for. Planes explode, friends are murdered, car chases ensue. Oh yes, Grant raises the level of adrenaline-pumping action in Body of Evidence. But once again it is the details of Mara’s work as a forensic archaeologist, her career dedicated to finding and bringing the bodies of MIAs home for their families to have final closure, that draws me in.

I also admit to really liking the character of Mara. She'd be a great BFF. Perhaps she’s a bit too trusting for a world that seems to be imploding around her, but it’s her spirit and faith in humanity that touches a chord with me. How could Curt resist her?

The romance between Curt and Mara is one of the most beautiful that I’ve read. Grant proves that mental stimulation is just as sexy as any physical details in their nightly phone conversations, writing some of the most loving and erotic passages I’ve ever read.

I couldn’t put Body of Evidence down, either. While it seemed like there really wasn’t much mystery as to who was corrupt, Grant pulled out some last minute plot twists that ratcheted up the suspense even more.

When I turned the final page, I knew that Rachel Grant is an author that would have a permanent home on my must-read shelf and will be a future auto-buy. Yes, Body of Evidence just ROCKED! It’s filled with suspense, passion, tenderness, and features a dynamic, intelligent heroine and a hero who's sexy, strong, and skilled at negotiating the halls of power.

As you might guess, I quickly began reading the next title in the Evidence series, Withholding Evidence.

This time the heroine, Trina Sorensen, is a military historian who works for Mara and in the same government agency as Erica. Yes, all three women are rocking their respective professions.

It’s clear that Trina has faced quite a bit of chauvinism in her chosen field. If you’re someone whose been up against the old boy network, you’ll appreciate how Grant describes Trina’s struggles - and her triumphs.

To keep the peace at the office, Trina takes on an assignment from one of the most condescending old boys she works with. She feels she can’t afford not to as she needs the job security. What’s the assignment? To interview members of a SEAL team about a Somalian mission they had undertaken a few years ago.

From the moment that former Navy SEAL Keith Hatcher slams the door in Trina’s face, you know that they’re going to be dynamite together. In another engrossing story, Grant ratchets up the sexual vibe to smoking hot for Trina and Keith.

After one of the most explosive (ahem) encounters I’ve read, Grant provides Trina and Keith with a conspiracy to unravel. In addition, we learn more about the other members of Keith’s SEAL team. If I hadn’t had a reader crush on him earlier, seeing the caring and understanding way he dealt with his teammate who sought escape through drugs, would have moved him up my hero list.

Withholding Evidence is a bit shorter than the other two books in the series and is a slightly faster read.

My only complaint about Rachel Grant’s Evidence series is that I’ll have to wait a few months for the next installment. Yes, these books are that good.

So if you love romantic suspense, kick-ass highly intelligent heroines, and super alpha heroes, pick up Rachel Grant’s Evidence series today!







From the Publisher

Evidence Series by Rachel Grant



Book 1
Concrete Evidence by Rachel Grant
Janus Publishing
ASIN B00CBNFI9W
Price FREE
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Purchase from Amazon

A year ago she lost everything.  Now she wants revenge...

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She's concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She's finally closing in on her goal when she's distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He's looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect.  He'll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can't hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica's quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.

Book 2



Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant
Janus Publishing
ASIN B00EA8EO00
Price $4.99 (also available for $0.99 in Crimes of Passion: 6 Romantic Suspense Books (A Crimes of the Heart Collection))
Publication Date: August 2, 2013
Purchase Body of Evidence from Amazon
Purchase Crimes of Passion from Amazon 

In Body of Evidence, a sexy romantic political thriller, an archaeologist and a US Attorney find themselves on an explosive, globe-spanning chase full of political intrigue and legal drama. Body of Evidence is the second book in Grant's Evidence Series, where archaeology, politics, and war collide.

And she thought facing a firing squad was bad...

When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea to retrieve the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she'd be arrested, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful, ambitious, and infuriatingly sexy US attorney prosecuting her uncle, a former vice president of the United States.

What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. Someone is after Mara, and they'll risk everything to stop her from reaching Washington DC. With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other and every reason to deny the sparks between them that blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun. Still, desire clashes with loyalty when they discover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives but the national security of the United States.

Book 3



Withholding Evidence by Rachel Grant
Janus Publishing
ASIN B00IOC6FIW
Price $2.99
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Purchase from Amazon

Some secrets are worth dying for…

Military historian Trina Sorensen has a nearly impossible task before her: get recalcitrant but tempting former Navy SEAL Keith Hatcher to reveal what happened during a top secret Somalia op five years ago. Recent history isn’t usually her forte, but the navy wants an historian’s perspective and has given her the high security clearance to get the job done.

Keith isn't just refusing to tell Trina about the op, he's protecting a national secret that could destroy the lives of those he cares about the most. But not wanting to talk about a covert mission doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in spending time with the sexy historian, and the first time they kiss it’s explosive.

When the past comes pounding on Keith’s door, he’ll do anything to keep Trina safe… Anything, that is, except tell her the secret that could get them both killed.