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Fatal Affair by Marie Force (Book one in the Fatal series)

Title: Fatal Affair
Author: Marie Force
Series: Fatal
Genre: Romantic suspense
Published: 2010
Rating: 4 stars

When John O’Connor doesn’t show up for work on the most important day of his career so far, Nick Cappuano, his chief of staff and best friend, goes to his apartment to bring the senator in. However, he discovers to his horror that the junior senator from Virginia hasn’t slept in—he’s been brutally murdered. Nick’s day gets even more surreal when the Metro Police homicide detective assigned to the case turns out to be none other than Sergeant Samantha Holland, the woman Nick spent a memorable night with six years earlier but hasn’t heard from since—even though he’d called and left messages multiple times.

Sam’s got her own problems, though. The O’Connor case is a huge case—and the first one Sam’s been given after spending time on administrative leave after her last went horribly wrong and ended in the death of a child. Sam was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the child’s distraught mother has been talking to the media, calling her a child killer. Sam knows that her latest homicide case could make or break her career. The last thing she should be doing is getting involved with a material witness.

Fatal Affair was a page-turner. The suspense was well done—I didn’t guess “whodunit” until the end, which was refreshing—and the romance was solid. There are a lot of interesting and fun characters here besides Nick and Sam—Freddy, Sam’s partner, in particular is great—which makes the fact that this book is first in a series that will feature the same people over and over even more appealing. On the whole, I was looking for excuses to pull out the iPod and keep listening to this one, and I knew book two in the series would be in my future soon after I finished this one.

There were a few minor issues that kept this from being a five-star read, though. First, it bothered me a bit that Nick just couldn’t seem to wrap his head around why it really wasn’t a good idea for Sam to get involved with him while the investigation was ongoing. He really pressured her, which I didn’t think was reasonable on his part. Of course she capitulated sooner rather than later, and it blew up in their faces—literally. She’s still feeling the effects of it in Fatal Justice, book two. I also had a hard time buying into the main characters’ claims that they fell in love with each other six years earlier, after spending a single night together. Lust, chemistry, compatibility—sure. I’m not convinced that it could really have been *love* at that point, however. Nick especially is sure it was, and says so. Often.

Still, I really enjoyed this book and have the rest in my TBR pile. I loved Force’s writing style in this one, and can’t wait to see what her characters are going to do and say in the next. I’m looking forward to seeing Sam and Nick develop as a couple.

In a nutshell: an enjoyable romantic suspense novel, with characters who make it a lot of fun to read. Four stars for a solid start to this series.

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