COUNTER ATTACK by Patricia Bradley
SERIES: Pearl River #1
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2023
A brand new heart-stopping series from a USA Today bestselling author
No sooner has Alexis Stone been sworn in as the interim sheriff for Russell County, Tennessee, when a serial killer dubbed the Queen’s Gambit Killer strikes again–this time in her hometown. Pearl Springs is just supposed to be a temporary stop along the way to Alex’s real dream: becoming the first female police chief of Chattanooga. But the killer’s calling card–a white pawn and a note with a chess move printed on it–cannot be ignored.
Pearl Springs chief of police Nathan Landry can’t believe that his high school sweetheart Alexis (he refuses to call her Alex) is back in town, and he can’t help wanting to protect the woman he never stopped loving. But as the danger mounts and the killer closes in, can Nathan come through on the promises he makes to himself to bring a killer to justice before it’s too late?
Big city Chattanooga meets small town Tennessee as Alexis Stone’s past and present dreams collide – along with a killer game of chess, the dark web, drug dealers, and a race to stay alive – in this first book of talented author Patricia Bradley’s new romantic suspense series!
Counter Attack opens with a chilling snippet that takes us into the dark web, a murderous game, and a killer’s quest for revenge. I’m hooked! Meeting Alexis in the next few pages kept my interest piqued as we join her undercover as bait meant to draw out the Queen’s Gambit Killer before he kills again. Tying all the victims together is their similarity to Alexis in appearance, a white chess piece in their hand, and a chess move on a note left on their bodies. As she leaves the bar, she bumps into her first love – a police chief in the tiny Tennessee town she couldn’t wait to leave. Hello, romantic subplot! I’m here for it! Something else I’m here for? The high-stakes suspense which shoots (ahem) onto the scene before we’ve reached page 25 and doesn’t leave us (or Alexis & Nathan) too much time to relax until the very end. There are a lot of elements in play when it comes to the suspense, and while I had a couple of things figured out pretty early on, I did NOT expect some of the twists the author expertly wove into this aspect of the story. Twists which kept me from fully committing to what I thought I had figured out, and which ultimately did prove I didn’t have it all right.
The spiritual theme of this book definitely doesn’t overpower the story, but it’s meaningful nonetheless. It’s not long after we meet Alexis on the pages of Counter Attack that we can tell she has big goals – namely, she wants to be the first female to head up the Chattanooga Police Department. But what does she do when her plans for her life seem to be running counter to God’s plans for her life? I so loved the quiet-but-steady wisdom and prayers of her grandmother not only as Alexis struggled with the two directions her heart was pulling her to choose but also in pointing out the consequences of continuing to put career over all else. The wisdom Gram shared clearly came from her love for her granddaughter but also from experiences over a life well lived.
Bottom Line: Buckle up, because Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley takes you on an intense ride! It grabbed my attention early and held it until the end. A serial killer, a health crisis, unexpected changes, and workplace conflict are just a few of the things on Alexis Stone’s plate in this kick-off to a great new small-town Southern romantic suspense series. Not to mention a second chance at a first love who has his own plate full with his job as police chief and trying to catch some drug dealers who have infiltrated his town. Nathan and Alexis make a good team, and I loved tagging along as they investigated their cases together – and as they shared some sweet kisses, too. I’m curious to see who else is featured in future books in the series, and I can’t wait to read them!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Patricia Bradley is the author of Standoff, Obsession, Crosshairs, and Deception, as well as the Memphis Cold Case novels and Logan Point series. Bradley is the winner of an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, a Selah Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award; she was a Carol Award finalist; and three of her books were included in anthologies that debuted on the USA Today bestseller list. Cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., Bradley is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.
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