Title: Jumping at Shadows
Author: R.G. Green
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Romance
Length: 200 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: An interesting examination of how outside forces may test an existing relationship, which I wanted to like, but had several issues with.
Detective Eric Geller just saw his case against crime boss Victor Kroger thrown out of court. Convinced there’s more to the dismissal than contaminated evidence, Eric shifts from investigating Victor to investigating the judge, determined to bring Victor to justice. But when a package of photographs appears on his doorstep, it sets into motion a series of events that begins to threaten his personal life as well as his professional career.
T.J. Briscoe has been married to Eric for seven years, and he knows the stress of the job can lead to jumping at shadows. While initially supportive of Eric’s decision to pursue Victor, T.J. nevertheless grows wary as Eric’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. He may have married Eric with the intention of forever, but if Eric crosses the line between caution and paranoia, their relationship may be the first casualty.
I really wanted to like this story, but I need to say upfront that the lawyer in me had some issues with initial set up. I cannot be sure that the following is necessarily incorrect, but I want to voice my doubts anyway. So when the police work hard to bring a mob boss to justice, do all of the undercover investigation correctly, and the judge declares a mistrial on the grounds of contaminated evidence, what would be the first thought to enter in the mind of lead detective on the case? Somehow I doubt that the first thought would be that the way to eventually bring said mobster to justice would be to investigate the judge on the subject of corruption and connection between him and the mobster. Oh do not get me wrong, I am sure that when circumstances warrant that, the investigations of corrupt judges start with very little evidence and without a lot of bang. The issue I have had here is that when Eric pushes for such investigation and his captain gives him a reluctant go to create basically an illegal task force to investigate the judge, they have no evidence of said corruption whatsoever — none — except the fact that judge dared to declare a mistrial on the basis of “contaminated” evidence. The idea that they may not have done such a good job does not even enter their minds, not for a second. I am not so sure about that, and if the set up is true to life, it makes me very uncomfortable and the fact that judge (of course!) turns out to be crooked is irrelevant to my issues.
Initially I really enjoyed watching Eric and TJ together as it is not too often we get to read about a committed couple who have been together for several years, and whose relationship gets tested in the book. Unfortunately as the book progressed, I had more and more problems with suspending my disbelief as to some of the reactions they exhibited to what happens during Eric’s investigation. Let me try to explain; TJ initially is very supportive of Eric’s decision to start the investigation, and Eric in fact insists on having TJ’s input, knowing that some ugly and scary things may happen during the investigation, but all TJ wants is for him to be careful.
Now, when those ugly and scary things do start to happen, TJ is curiously unperturbed by them which just really did not make sense to me, and TJ’s explanation at the end made even less sense to me. I don’t know about you, but when I tried to put myself in TJ’s shoes and imagine if my husband were investigating a highly dangerous mobster who just successfully escaped prosecution, I would do my best to be supportive and stay calm, cool and collected. But no matter how cool, calm and collected I was, I would definitely think that my husband had every reason in the world to be worried and nervous if somebody put intimate pictures of us on our doorstep. In other words, I thought that TJ’s thinking that those pictures made Eric paranoid and made him “jump at the shadows” was just bizarre. I was wondering whether he forgot whom Eric investigated and why he is so dismissive of the potential threat. Unfortunately, the only answer I came up with was that the writer tried to create conflict and only succeeded in creating an unbelievable and artificial one. I kept waiting and hoping that Eric would be scared of something ridiculous, something which would justify TJ’s reactions for me somewhat, but nope, every time Eric reacted to what he thought to be a threat, I found myself shaking my head and wondered what was TJ thinking. Well, we ultimately do get to know what he was thinking, but as I said, it was not convincing to me at all. Eric’s reaction to TJ’s reaction felt a bit over the top as well, but at that point I quite bought that the poor guy was forced in the corner and did not know what to think and what to believe.
The ending also gave me a little bit of a headache. It is happy for both these two, but I thought Eric got off really easy with the law.
Now if you can suspend your disbelief about the initial set up and the fact that TJ does an unwarranted (in my opinion) 180 degrees turnaround from his initial support of Eric’s investigation, you would probably like it. While I really did enjoy Eric and TJ — it was clear how much they loved each other (they sure had a lot of sex!) and I feel they will support each other through the tough times — and I liked that they remained together and stronger than ever, for me it was ultimately too much of suspension of disbelief.