Review of FADE TO RED by Linda Castillo (see her website)
Berkley Sensation, May 2004
When her sister calls for help, Lindsey Metcalf drops everything and heads for Seattle. But her sister has disappeared--and has a police warrent out for her, for drug possession and skipping a court appearance. The police are sure she's simply fled the arrest but Lindsey knows better. Traci wouldn't call her and run. What she finds about her sister is frightening--Traci had fallen into bad company and worse habits. But she's Lindsey's sister and Lindsey feels responsible for her, especially knowing about the abuse Traci survived. One clue Traci left behind was the name of a private detective, Michael Striker. Lindsey contacts Striker and finds a man more dangerous than she had imagined possible.
Until a few months before, Striker had been a cop. Then he'd lost it, attacked a perp, and been fired and charged with assault. He's been working as a private detective while waiting for his court date, but he doesn't want to get involved with a woman. Especially not a woman who looks like sin, tempts him to believe in a life he's made impossible, and who desperately insists on believing the best about people who don't deserve it--like her sister. Like him. Still, when he finds that Lindsey was attacked in the middle of the night, in her sister's house, Striker knows he can't ignore her plea for help. Together Striker and Lindsey piece together Traci's past. What they find surprises Lindsey but it doesn't change her feelings. What it does is make her wonder if she's too late.
Author Linda Castillo (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Castillo) combines exciting action with solid emotional impact. Both Lindsey and Striker are damaged characters. Their pasts, and Striker's likely future in prison makes commitment to one another impossible, yet neither is able to resist the temptation. Castillo keeps up a relentless pace of danger and conflict. Every stone Striker and Lindsey turn over reveals more of the seedy and dangerous underworld Traci had become involved in. An underworld of pornography, abuse, drugs, and prostitution.
Linda Castillo has become a major voice in contemporary romantic suspense and FADE TO RED shows why. It deals with uncomfortable and dangerous ideas but it is compelling, hard to put down, and delivers an emotional wallop. You'll want to grab this one.
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