Book Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: K. A. Tucker
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Mystery
Pub Date: 01/23/18
Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.
Gracie Richards wasn’t born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep.
Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department’s dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.
Keep Her Safe was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018; lucky for me it publishes in January which means I didn’t have to wait long. The author has dabbled in romantic suspense before, but while He Will Be My Ruin leaned more on the sexy, psychological thriller side, this one was all about the police procedural with a tender, budding romance. If romantic suspense isn’t your thing because you can’t stomach the cheesy, vomit inducing, erotic nature of a large portion of the genre out there, relax; this one totally isn’t like that and feels much more like mainstream crime fiction. The cover is gorgeous and doesn’t have a half naked man on the front, and the title really ties in nicely with the emotional side of the story.
I lean down to place a kiss on her forehead, and she reaches up, her palm cupping my stubbled jaw in an affectionate gesture. “I love you so much. Always remember that.”
Jackie Marshall is the highly decorated police chief of the APD and her son Noah has seen a cushy, somewhat sheltered life because of it. Gracie Richards grew up with a starkly different experience, which makes for a complex comparison of the lives of the privileged and those who are not. Tucker does a nice job of tying in racial injustice while keeping the story from breaching the territory of “white man saves the day”; in fact, she does a fine job of toeing a delicate line between channeling racial diversity in Gracie and just showcasing cliches that have been done time and again. There were so many discreet details, ones that may seem insignificant to most, that meant the world to my reading experience. An example of this is in discussing how Gracie doesn’t want to get her hair soaked and have to blow it out again because otherwise it turns into a giant ball of fluff. Her and Noah joke about it in a respectful way; these are the little details that brought her character to life for me and kept her from becoming whitewashed.
“I won’t let anything happen to her,” I promise. It was easy for a masked man to terrorize a broken-hearted Dina fourteen years ago, using threats against her little girl to scare her into silence. But Gracie’s not a little girl anymore, and something tells me she won’t be as easy to scare away as Dina was.
I’m trying not to say much about the plot, because I would hate to spoil it for you, but I honestly felt for the first time in my reading experience that the romance in a novel out-shined the criminal case! I was just so drawn to this intimate portrayal of two new adults who had experienced a mountain of tragedy in their short lives slowly being drawn to each other, but in more than just a sexual nature. There is something so deep and intricate about the type of love that develops between two hollow people; I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the transformation of broken and hopeless to scarred yet complete. There are so many other evolving relationships in this story, between different types of family and friends and law enforcement that I found breathed life into the narrative. My only minor complaint was that I wish we had been limited to reading from Noah and Gracie’s POV; there are a few others thrown in and I might have preferred getting to know those characters from the stories and memories of others, but otherwise this was a truly fabulous read.
Some seasoned readers may find aspects of the plot easy to solve, but I still discovered a few surprises along the way and I felt the ending Tucker chose more than compensated for any predictable punches. I can’t say too much, but I wholly embraced the intellectual and emotional finale rather than a focus on one last “guns a’blazing and knock ’em out” moment. It felt more real, raw, and profound than any unnecessary action scene ever could have brought. The characters remain flawed and the idea is everyone will move forward from these newfound revelations and heal in the best ways that they can find. I would highly recommend this to readers who want the whole package; if you enjoy a whodunnit where you get to solve the mystery alongside our protagonists with a classy romance thrown in, this one’s for you. I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying these seasoned romance authors breaking out of their shell and trying new genres; it’s working so please keep it up!
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.