Stalked by Allison Brennan is the fifth book in the Lucy Kincaid romantic thriller series (available October 30, 2012).
This book continues the popular series about Lucy Kincaid, a character developed by writer Allison Brennan. Lucy is at the FBI academy and working hard to complete the course and become a field agent.
She’s doing this while fighting past demons and current insecurities, which keep popping up while she’s going through the rigorous training required for an FBI agent. Added to her troubles, the enigmatic agent, Rick Laughlin, is working at the academy while preparing for a trial and he’s convinced Lucy should not be FBI and goes out of his way to prove that.
I liked this book from the beginning. In between the scenes with Lucy and the people she interacts with are first-person narratives from the younger brother of a murder victim from years ago. When it is determined a number of new murders are related to this old case and the now-grown brother, which Lucy worked on as a consultant, the FBI steps in and searches for a killer who is equally skilled at eluding them. Lucy is working behind the scenes on the case and Laughlin is watching her every move.
It was easy to identify with how Lucy’s insecurity caused to her to make mistakes in areas where she normally excelled. Nothing’s more nerve-racking than having someone hovering over you while you try to achieve a goal.
There’s so much of Lucy’s past that relates to this newest rash of murders that I felt the narrative was a little heavy at times, but it didn’t keep me from reading to the last page. I had to know what happened and if Lucy and her friends were going to survive this new, shadowy threat.
This scene from Stalked gives you a glimpse of the many things Lucy’s juggling:
During lunch, Lucy found Kate eating in her office. Kate was the senior cybercrimes instructor at Quantico and was part of a joint task force on tracing online child pornography. It was a particularly difficult job for anyone, even a seasoned agent like Kate.
“What do you want?” Kate asked Lucy without looking at her. Her eyes were focused on her computer.
“We need to talk.”
Kate stared at her computer for a long minute, then leaned back in her chair. She nodded and Lucy sat down.
“You worked with Rich Laughlin before— before everything.”
Lucy still had a hard time talking about Adam Scott. “Before you left D.C. twelve years ago.”
“I’m not talking about Laughlin.” Kate’s face was set tight; she was trying hard not to react to anything Lucy said. Why was she being so controlled?
“I thought you wanted to talk about Tony Presidio.”
“I’m okay. Thank you for signing Sean in; it helped, talking to him.”
“You and Tony were the subject of a staff meeting this morning. You’ve involved yourself in the middle of an investigation. I don’t have to tell you that being the subject of a staff meeting isn’t good.”
Lucy shifted in her seat. “I don’t understand.”
Kate tilted her head and raised her eyebrows. “You didn’t know.”
“Know what? What’s wrong?” Had she missed something? Done something wrong? With all the pressure from Laughlin and her firearms test and Tony’s death and Weber’s book, had she missed something important?
“Hans is here to put Tony’s office in order, and work on the profile Tony began on the murder of that writer. No one knew you were working with Tony until Hans told us.”
Lucy said carefully, “There was nothing wrong with me doing extra work. I did it on my own time.”
“Not when it impacts your overall performance.”
I thought Brennan did a good job of keeping Lucy involved in the case and keeping her working toward her goal at the FBI Academy even though both were very challenging for Lucy. We also got a little visit with some characters from earlier books whose romance got a little spark in this one. She had a nice balance of work and personal relationships throughout the book.
Savor this one because the next book won’t be out until June 2013. I can hear Carly Simon singing “Anticipation” now.
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Leigh Neely is an almost-famous former newspaper and magazine editor. She currently does freelance work, blogs at womenofmystery.net, and recently sold the novel she wrote with her writing partner, Jan Powell. Look for Second Nature by Neely Powell in late spring 2013. She also wrote the short story, “A Vampire in Brooklyn,” which is in the anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices.
Read other posts by Leigh Neely on Criminal Element.