Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday #Review - Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker #Suspense #Romance

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Book, 448 pages
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Romance / Suspense
Making a Murderer meets Scandal in this story of police corruption, family secrets, and illicit affairs from bestselling author K.A. Tucker, celebrated for her “propulsive plot twists and searing seduction” (USA TODAY).
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.
Complex, gritty, sexy, and thrilling, Keep Her Safe solidifies K.A. Tucker's reputation as one of today's most talented new voices in romantic suspense.

K.A. Tucker's Keep Her Safe is a tension filled mystery with romance featuring 25 year old Noah Marshall and 20 year old Grace Richards (Wilkes). The story alternates between the present and the past, between Noah and Grace, between Jackie Robinson and Abraham Wilks. As the story begins, we are introduced to Jackie (Noah's mother) and Abraham (Grace's father). Once upon a time, 1997, they were partners before Jackie's rise to the top of the food chain.

They were partners who were supposed to not only have each others backs, but their families spent a whole lot of time together, especially Noah and Abe who taught him more than his real father ever did. Then, something bad happened between the two. Something that has lingered for years. As the story opens, Jackie is feeling guilty. Guilt which apparently leads to suicide.

After Jackie is found dead, Noah struggles to find out why his mother, who seemingly had it all, killed herself. Shortly thereafter, Noah finds a letter telling him to find Grace and give her what's in the bag found in a hidden safe. There is also a warning. "Don't ask questions. Trust me, you don't want the answers." On what might be called the spur of the moment choice, or the white knight rides in to help the flailing young heroine, Noah drives to Tucson, Arizona with the letter and a curious bag to where Grace and her drugged out mother Dina live in a dilapidated trailer park. 

Although their first encounter is extremely hostile, Noah turns out to be the hero when he saves Dina from their burning trailer. When he tries to give her the money, Grace wants nothing to do with it as she believes all the reports of her father being a crooked cop who died in a drug bust gone wrong. 14 years ago, Abe Wilks was killed and labeled a corrupt cop in a supposed drug deal gone badly. His wife Dina and daughter Grace fled Texas for Arizona.

Grace is a very bitter young woman since she and her mother have lived a hard life since her father’s death. Grace works two jobs, her mother is a stoner with no hopes of surviving the future, and then suddenly out of nowhere, Noah Marshall shows up with a large bag of money hoping to save the moment. Noah isn't exactly a welcomed sight considering who is mother was and what he's apparently here to bring her and her mother. But, Noah also may have answers to what really happened to her father.

This is a story where everyone, excluding Noah and Grace, could be guilty of anything. I dare say that I felt heart broken reading Abe's story because he is genuinely a decent man who not only loved his family, but didn't care that he was getting shit about being in an inter-racial marriage. Some would call him a boy scout because he was always looking to help out. Noah is one of those people who Abe helped out. Abe was more of a father figure to Noah than his real father ever was. 

I am normally a supporter of police officers who go to work every single day. They leave their families behind and they do their jobs without puffing out their chests or crossing the line because they feel the badge gives them leeway to get away with crap that you and I would be quickly put in prison for. There are characters in this book that really made my blood boil, and that's a sign of a really good writer. When a writer can make you have a real emotions while reading his or her story, they have done an excellent job of putting together a decent mystery, a plot that really takes you on a roller coaster ride, and a romance that doesn't weigh heavily on the rest of the story and what is happening. 


Corporal Jackie Marshall

June 1997

“There’s gotta be a pound in each.” Abe nudges the ziplock bag of marijuana with the tip of his pen. The kitchen table is shrouded in these bags, along with bundles of cash. I’m going to take a wild guess and say there’s plenty more, hidden around this dive of an apartment.

I peer over at the guy we just busted, handcuffed and lying on his stomach, under another officer’s watchful eye, waiting to be transported for booking. He’s a scrawny nineteen-year-old with a temper. “Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be beatin’ on my girlfriend if I had all these drugs in my house.” His neighbors heard glass smashing and him making threats of death, so they called 9-1-1. He gave us cause to kick in the door when he uttered a string of racial slurs and then spat in Abe’s face. That’s how we found the bloodied blonde girl and this.

Now the paramedics are treating the gashes on her face, while we wait for Narcotics to swoop in.

Abe smooths his ebony-skinned hand over his cheek. “What do you think this is worth, anyway?”

“Depends how good it is. Ten grand? Maybe twenty?”

He lets out a low whistle. “I’m in the wrong business.”

“You and me both. We bounced our mortgage payment last month.” Blair told me we couldn’t afford that house. I ought to have listened to him. But I also hadn’t planned on getting pregnant when I did. Not that I regret having Noah. I just expected to have earned a few stripes before I was elbow-deep in diapers and formula.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be making the big bucks soon enough, Sergeant Marshall,” Abe mocks with a dimpled grin. He’s been calling me that for months, ever since I passed my test and was put on the promotion list. “Just don’t go forgetting about us beat cops when you start pinning those stars to your collar.”

“You’re ridiculous.” I roll my eyes at him.

“Am I? You are one damn ambitious woman, Jackie, and my money’s on you over half the clowns around here, present company included.” He sighs. “My days won’t be the same, though.”

“I’m gonna miss being your partner, Abe.” After seven years, there’s no one else I trust more in the APD—and in life—than Abe Wilkes.

He lets out a derisive snort. “Don’t worry, you’ll see me plenty enough. Heck, Noah’ll probably be at my house more than yours.”

“Dina’s managing alright, what with a baby of her own? Don’t want Noah to be a burden on her.”

Abe waves off my concern. “Dina’ll steal that kid away from you if you’re not watching. She insisted.”

I can’t be sure if it was Dina or Abe who offered to mind Noah while Blair and I work. I’ve never seen a grown man dote on a little boy as much as Abe dotes on mine. Even Blair doesn’t pay that much attention, and Noah’s his son. “That beautiful wife of yours is a blessing. I wish you’d have knocked her up and gotten married years ago. Would have saved me a ton on daycare bills.”

Abe struggles to keep that booming chuckle of his at bay—it wouldn’t be appropriate given current surroundings. “I’d say we’re movin’ plenty fast, don’t you?”

Pregnant three months into dating and married at City Hall the week after finding out? I’d say so. “Your mom come around yet?” A good Christian woman like Abe’s mother was less than pleased when she found out her twenty-eight-year-old son had knocked up an eighteen-year-old girl. An eighteen-year-old white girl. I’ve met Carmel Wilkes. I don’t believe she has an issue with Dina, per se; she’s more worried about other people taking issue with Dina and Abe together, and the problems that may arise. As progressive as Austin is, there’s still plenty of hate to go around when it comes to the color of a person’s skin.

Abe shrugs. “Slowly but surely.”

“I’ll bet that gorgeous little Gracie is helping.”

It’s inevitable, the second anyone says his daughter’s name, that Abe’s face splits open with a wide grin. He’s about to say something—probably tell another story about how cute she is—when our radios crackle with voices.

“The cavalry’s here.” I pat my stomach. “Good thing, too. I’m starving. Let’s get this lowlife booked and then get some food.”

“Hey . . .” Abe lowers his voice to a whisper. “I wonder, how honest do you think these narc guys are?”

“Honest enough. Why?”

His chocolate-brown eyes roll over the bundles of cash. “Wouldn’t it be easy for one of those to go missing?”

It’s a question you don’t pose, especially not while you’re in uniform and standing in front of a pile of drugs. “Pretty dang easy, I’ll bet.”

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