by Kat Martin
Maximum Security - Book 2
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
When missing turns to murdered, one woman's search for answers will take her to a place she never wanted to go… After searching for her sister for two long years, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she’s called to the morgue to identify Chrissy’s body, the runaway teen the victim of a brutal attack. Guilt and grief send Kate into a tailspin. She failed Chrissy once…she won’t do it again. Even if finding her sister’s killer means following a lethal bounty hunter into the heart of darkness, placing both their lives in danger. Working at Maximum Security has taken Jason Maddox down some dangerous paths, but never for a client he’s so drawn to, or for a case so monstrous. As clues lead them deeper into the city’s underbelly, connections to human trafficking draw them closer and closer to peril, but even Jase’s warnings can’t convince Kate to walk away. As the deadly operation puts a target on their backs, they’ll have to decide what matters most: the truth…or their lives.
Kat Martin cranks up the heat, and the stakes, in this newest addition to her Maximum Security, romantic suspense series. Filled with non-stop action, edge-of-the-seat suspense, and twists and turns that had me guessing how it would all turn out until almost the end, this page-turner kept me reading late into the night. Jason and Kate are such a well-matched couple. I loved them in the bedroom (hot!) and in the field (where Kate really comes into her own). This is a story of growth, of connection, of determination to avenge a horrible death, to rescue innocents from the same fate, to discover your life's passion and, in the process, the person you're meant to share that life, and passion, with.
Martin grabbed me from the first page, pulled me into a dark and gritty world of drugs, money laundering, and human trafficking, and kept me riveted until the end. Characters are well-developed, inciting emotional responses across the board. A sub-plot involving a young girl is especially riveting...and heart-wrenching. (content warning for underage human trafficking). It's an emotional roller-coaster with a hard-won, well-deserved, happy ending awaiting the good guys and a satisfying reckoning for the bad ones.
Creating a Page Turner
by Kat Martin
“I couldn’t put it down! Those words are some of the most satisfying comments an author can receive. Nothing pleases me more than a note from someone grumbling about staying up late to finish one of my books.
It’s music to my ears.
There are lots of ways to earn those precious words. Writing a fast-paced novel is one of them. It is certainly my goal every time I start a new book.
My latest, THE DECEPTION, was no different. I knew I would be writing Hawk Maddox’s story. Hawk had been on my mind since he first appeared in a previous novel, BEYOND DANGER. I knew what he was like--strong, determined, tough as boot leather, and at six-foot-four, two-hundred-twenty pounds, a total beefcake hunk.
He was also a bounty hunter, which made him an interesting character with an interesting job. I always try to find the hero’s perfect match and Kate Gallagher was just right for Hawk. Tall, blonde, and curvy, she loved country music and drinking tequila at the Sagebrush Saloon.
But that was her secret side. She also owned her own business consulting firm so she was smart and hard-working.
I like to read books that draw me in and won’t let go, books I can’t wait to pick up again to find out what’s going to happen next.
There are lots of ways to do it. Pairing down description makes the story move faster--or as Elmore Leonard once said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”
A Hollywood movie trick is to jump right into the scene. Leave out the, “Hello, how are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?” and just start talking.
I try to use hooks at the beginning and end of chapter, though some authors end a chapter in the middle of the action to keep you turning the pages.
I’ve found I do a lot of characterization by showing how the hero, heroine, and sub characters react in a situation, rather than telling about their past. For instance, I don’t mention what the heroine did in high school unless it’s important to how she’ll solve the problem she’s facing.
These are a few of my techniques, though every author has his own style and there is nothing wrong with any of them as long as they work.
In THE DECEPTION, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns Kate of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.
I hope you’ll watch for THE DECEPTION and that you find it a fast-paced, high-action page-turner. Until next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat
THE DECEPTION, by Kat Martin
Excerpt 1 of 5
“I’m sorry, Ms. Gallagher. I know this is terribly painful, but unless there’s someone else who can make a positive identification--“
Kate shook her head. “No. There’s no one else.”
“All right then, if you will please follow me.” The medical examiner, Dr. Jerome Maxwell, a man in his fifties with thick black hair threaded with gray, started down the hall, but Kate stopped him with a hand on his arm.
“Are you...are you completely sure it’s my sister? The victim is definitely Christina Gallagher?”
“There was a fingerprint match to your missing sister. I’m sorry. We’ll still need your confirmation.”
Kate’s stomach rolled. Her hand trembled as she followed the doctor down a narrow, endless hallway in the Dallas County morgue. The echo of her high heels on the stark gray linoleum sent a sweep of nausea through her.
The doctor paused outside a half glass door. “I warn you, this is going to be difficult. Are you sure there isn’t someone you can call, someone else who could make the identification?”
Kate’s throat tightened. “My father’s remarried and living in New York. He hasn’t seen Chrissy in years.”
“And your mother?” the doctor asked kindly.
“She died of a heart attack a year after Chrissy ran away.” For Madeleine Gallagher, losing both her husband and her daughter had simply been too much.
The doctor straightened his square black glasses. “Are you ready?”
“I’ll never be ready to see my sister’s murdered body, Dr. Maxwell. But I’m all Chrissy has, so let’s get it over with.”
The doctor opened the door and they walked out of a hallway that seemed overly warm into a room that was icy cold. A shiver rushed over Kate’s skin and her heart beat faster. As Dr. Maxwell moved toward a rollout table in front of a wall of cold-storage boxes, Kate could see the outline of a body beneath the stark white sheet.
Emotion tightened her chest. This was her baby sister, only sixteen the last time Kate had seen her two years ago, before she had run away.
The doctor nodded to a female assistant in a white lab coat standing next to the table, and the woman pulled back the sheet.
“Dear God.” The bile rose in Kate’s throat. She swayed and the doctor caught her arm to steady her.
“Is this your sister, Christina Gallagher?”
Tears welled and slipped down her cheeks. “It’s...it’s her.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” the doctor said.
“Thank...thank you.” Tears blurred her vision and her head swam as she walked out of the building into the sunlight and crossed the parking lot to her car. She wouldn’t be returning to her office today. She needed time to grieve.
Kate slid in behind the wheel and shoved her key into the ignition. Fresh pain struck so hard she couldn’t breathe. Instead of starting the engine, Kate put her head down on the steering wheel and started to weep.
Jason Hawkins Maddox sat at the old fashioned long bar in the Sagebrush Saloon, a country western hangout with a juke box in the corner for dancing. Tonight he was there on business, meeting an informant he hoped would give him a lead on the fugitive he was hunting, Randall Darren Harding.
Harding, a cement contractor, had been arrested for the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend. He’d been out on bail when he’d decided to flee instead of standing trial, where most likely he would have been convicted.
From what Jase could find out, Harding was a rotten, self-centered, mean-tempered bastard, the kind who could wind up killing again. He’d strangled his girlfriend in a fit of rage, but a fancy lawyer had gotten him out on bail.
The reward for catching him was a fat fifteen percent of his million and a half dollar bond. Jase planned to collect.
Thus his meeting with Tommy Dieter at the Sagebrush Saloon.
It was relatively early, a little after nine p.m., but the place was already more than half full. The décor was rustic, with a sea of wooden tables. A big dance floor dominated the interior, the juke belting Willie Nelson for the couples that were
In the mirror in the carved oak back bar across from him, he could see himself on a bar stool next to a little guy in a blue Texas Rangers baseball cap. The little guy made Jase look even bigger than his six-foot four-inch, two hundred twenty pound frame.
So far Tommy hadn’t showed, but he wasn’t due for at least another hour. In the meantime, Jase was enjoying the local scenery, his attention fixed on the tall blonde with the pretty face, sexy curves, and amazing cleavage, but then half the guys in the bar were watching her.
In a short jeans skirt, a pair of cowboy boots, and a bright pink tank top, she had danced five times in a row. If he weren’t there on business, he might ask her for a turn around the floor himself. Jase watched the blonde dancing with a lanky biker too short for her, too skinny, and a few years too young.
She wasn’t meant for the boy biker, but she was just Jase’s type, luscious, with legs that went on forever. And as she slid her arms around the boy biker’s neck and he pulled her close, clearly uninhibited. It didn’t take much to imagine the way she’d feel moving beneath him.
He picked up his beer and took a drink. He’d been watching her all evening. The good news was, she’d been watching him, too.
When the song came to an end, she left the boy biker and walked right up to him, the heels on her boots pushing her closer to his height.
She smiled. “You like to dance, cowboy?”
“On what? The song?”
“Who I’m dancing with.”
A dark blond eyebrow went up. “Is that right...”
“That’s right, darlin’, and you’ll do just fine.” Without waiting for a reply, Jase swept her onto the dance floor. She felt good in his arms, fit him just right. She was a good dancer, but so was he. He was a Texan. He’d done all the usual things a Texas boy did. Played football, drank beer down on the river, rode horses, and two-stepped.
“What’s your name?” he asked as he whirled her around the floor
“Kate.” She smiled. “You’re Hawk.” Her smile widened into a grin that etched a dimple into her cheek and he felt a jolt of heat. “I like it,” she said. “It’s sexy.”
“You think so?” As the song came to an end, he drew her off the dance floor into the shadows, took a chance she wouldn’t slap his face, and kissed her.
She softened against him and kissed him back, and he took it a little deeper, felt the rush hit his system. Since they were standing in a bar full of people, he didn’t let it go too far.
Kate ran a finger along his jaw. “You looked like you’d be a good kisser and you are,” she said.
“We can go outside and I’ll show you just how good I can be, but it’s gotta be up to you.”
Something flickered in her big brown eyes and for a moment her bright smile faded. “I need that tonight. Just this once, just to help me forget.” Her bottom lip trembled an instant before her saucy grin returned. “Come on, cowboy, let’s go.”
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