Fatal Affair had such promise.  The plot synopsis was pretty good: Dead US Senator found at the Watergate by his chief of staff (COS)/best friend.  The cops are called in and COS recognizes the cop in charge as the one that got away.  The two work together to solve the murder and fall in love.  To be fair, the book isn’t all that bad, but I just couldn’t connect to either of the main characters, and I couldn’t figure out why they felt a connection.  These two were actually very blah characters.

Sam reminds me a lot of Eve Dallas from the In Death novels, but without the personality or the crappy childhood.  She is a good cop, who has just come off of a really bad case, during which a little boy was killed by a cop.  The entire city blames Sam–hell, Sam blames Sam.  The only people that don’t blame her are her boss, her family, and Nick, who knew her all of one night six years earlier.

Nick is your everyday, cookie cutter Beta hero, although Nick would rather be an Alpha.  He is a desk jockey, who went to Harvard with the dead senator, but every time he is with Sam he tries to help her–in one instance he catches someone watching her house and instead of telling her he runs out of the house, nearly getting himself run over by a car, and making it easy for the guy watching them to get away.  There’s another time when he and Sam are out walking around the local market and the deranged aunt of the little boy that got killed during Sam’s last case shows up with a gun.  Sam pushes Nick out of the way to stop the woman and Nick blows up at her for saving him from a bullet.  Let me get this straight, Sam is a decorated cop, but Nick, because he is the man, feels like he should be the one doing the saving.  That makes sense.  In upside-down world.  But here in right side-up world, the cop does the saving even if she is a woman.  Nick is just going to have to get used to it.

My problem wasn’t just with the main characters–the dead guy is also a bit of a huge douche.  He is the youngest son of a Kennedy-esque family, who took over his father’s seat in the Senate after his older brother was arrested for a DUI a few weeks before he was to take over.  John–the dead guy–has a lot of secrets, and not even Nick is aware of them.  He’s into really rough sex with as many women as possible.  He’s got a 20 year old son (he’s only 36–and you would think that the fact that he abandoned the kid and his mother would bother Nick seeing as that was basically what happened to him, although Nick was abandoned by both of his parents and raised by his grandmother, who wasn’t all that keen on raising him either).  Also, he seems to be addicted to porn.  And yet, everywhere you turn, everyone is telling you how much of a good guy John is.  For example:

From the very earliest hours of his youngest child’s life, Graham had seen in him the special something that inspired so many others to love him, too.

Force, Marie (2010-05-26). Fatal Affair: Book One of the Fatal Series (Kindle Locations 367-368). Carina Press. Kindle Edition.

Then, he goes on to say:

The sound of his older son’s voice filled Graham with disappointment and despair. God help him for thinking such a thing, but if he’d had to lose one of his sons why couldn’t it have been Terry instead of John?

Force, Marie (2010-05-26). Fatal Affair: Book One of the Fatal Series (Kindle Locations 369-370). Carina Press. Kindle Edition.

No wonder he thinks John is a great guy–he’s a real prince, himself.

For the most part, the writing is pretty good, although there are some glaring issues with continuity.  Remember the two quotes from above?  Well, Ms. Force doesn’t.  Either that or in her world only the eldest son can go into the family business.  Maybe she’s living in an historical romance novel instead of a contemporary one?  Here’s a bit of dialogue in which Nick tells Sam how Terry (John’s older brother) was groomed to be a senator.

“John was a reluctant senator. He used to joke that he was Prince Harry to Terry’s Prince William. Terry was the anointed one, groomed all his life to follow his father into politics. While Terry always lived in the public eye, John had a relatively normal life. For some reason, the press took an unusual interest in Terry’s comings and goings. His name was mentioned on the political and gossip pages almost as often as his father’s, and this was long before his father announced his retirement.”

Force, Marie (2010-05-26). Fatal Affair: Book One of the Fatal Series (Kindle Locations 710-713). Carina Press. Kindle Edition.

Now, if John was so special, why would he have been the one to be groomed to fill Graham’s senate seat from the very beginning?  Why was he second fiddle to Terry, the son Graham wished had died in John’s place.

Then, there is this:

His cheek pulsing with emotion, Nick nodded.

Force, Marie (2010-05-26). Fatal Affair: Book One of the Fatal Series (Kindle Location 4528). Carina Press. Kindle Edition.

How exactly does that work?  I’ve read some interesting things in romance novels–eyes/eye brows that communicate, noses that flair in desire, erections that bounce at the least provocation, but this?  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cheek pulsing–and if one ever did, it doesn’t sound like it would be very pleasant.  I would expect a bunch of blood and puss to come flying out of it.  Not, exactly what Ms. Force wanted to convey with this, but there you go.

In the end, I just didn’t care enough to finish this book.  DNF, No stars.


Romance novels have been a part of my life since I was 14 years old and one of my neighbors dropped off a laundry basket full of Harlequins. From that day on, my nose was always in a book. I started my first review site in 2013, but took some time off for personal issues in 2018.

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