When someone requested a book from me on readitswapit, Hot Pursuit was the only one of theirs I thought I'd like, so I decided to give it a try. I had never read anything by Gemma Fox before, and to be honest didn't really recognise the name, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
Maggie Morgan returns home from holiday with her two young sons to find a half naked man living in her house. Obviously she is shocked - and even arms herself with a baseball bat - but when the man tells her he is Bernie Fielding, she is even more surprised (not to mention confused) as that was her ex-husbands name.
After some time and persuasion, the man admits that his name is actually Nick Lucas and that he is on a witness protection programme after agreeing to help police bug the restaurant he worked at. Bernie Fielding is the alias he was given by police. All very well but surely he should have been given a made up alias and not a real persons identity? Maggie divorced Bernie because he was a conman always running some scam or other and she can't help feeling that this has something to do with him...
We, the reader know that Maggie is right. Whilst doing a cash in hand painting job at the offices of the relocation agency one of the staff went into labour. Everyone was distracted and Bernie was left in the office on his own. A PC was left on, and Bernie took the opportunity to create himself a new identity - and a new bank account. This meant, that Bernie got the identity which was destined for Nick - and Nick ended up with Bernie's identity!
With this mix-up things start to go wrong quickly. Robbie and Leslie, a TV reporter and his assistant are hot on the trail of conman Bernie Fielding, wanting to make a watchdog style programme about him. At the same time two hit men, Nimrod and Cain are on the trail of Nick Lucas, with murder on their minds. Maggie and Nick end up fleeing, and as the two grow closer, their lives seem to be in more and more danger every minute....
~What I thought~
From the bright, girly cover featuring bikini and flip-flops and the blurb on the back about 'Sexy Nick Lucas' and 'Mr Right', I had expected this to be a girly romance novel, so I was a little surprised to find I was reading a book about gun wielding gangsters! Saying this, the book is a very light read and despite the nature of the story, it isn't at all dark, and I'd say it's definitely geared towards women.
I immediately 'got into' this book - it's very easy to read, and in the opening pages where we find Bernie Fielding in the relocation offices had me hooked as I really wanted to know what he was up to.
The story was quick paced, and interesting, with lots of twists and turns. There were some that I could see coming a mile off and wondered how the characters couldn't see what was going to happen. In some ways it was all a bit farcical, however I think that's how it was supposed to be, given the light sort of nature of the novel. Don't pick this up and expect a serious, gritty crime novel, put it that way!
The characters were all great, but I didn't feel we got to know them very well. Nick, especially I thought we could have done with knowing a bit more about, being the love interest.
I really liked the character of Bernie - it would be easy to dislike him for what he did, however it soon becomes evident that he is a bit of a loveable rogue - a Del-Boy type character who means no harm to anyone. I also enjoyed reading the characters of arrogant reporter Robbie, and Leslie, his PA/Mistress. Robbie was so rude and obnoxious towards Leslie, I couldn't help but hope that she saw sense and he got what was coming to him.
One thing I felt was a little strange was the relationship between Maggie and Nick in the beginning. If I came home and found a strange man in my house I would scream the place down - no matter what sob story he gave me - especially if I had two young children with me. I thought she seemed to accept his story far too quickly. I also thought their romantic connection developed too quickly and I'd have preferred a bit of will-they, wont-they tension! Maybe that's just me, I do like my romance stories!
Overall, this was an enjoyable, light read, and if you're looking for something light hearted that you don't need to take too seriously, I'd say that it's worth a read.