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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beyond the Code of Conduct by K.M. Daughters

Beyond the Code of Conduct by K.M. Daughters
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: Full (180 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Sweet Pea

FBI Agency brass and Sullivan family connections force Special Agent Bobbie Leighton into an undercover operation with inactive Homicide Detective Joe Sullivan. Posing as a wealthy Texas cattleman and his arm-candy wife the two are assigned to infiltrate Bradley Sterling’s black-market operation. Suspected of baby trafficking, Sterling may be connected with Jimmy Sullivan’s murder. How do Bobbie and Joe adhere to their professional code of conduct living under the same roof? Can they forget their personal history, ignore their volatile feelings for each other and ensnare their target when they might be next on Sterling’s victims list

The loss of his brother Jimmy drives Joe Sullivan to set up an undercover operation to find the killer who, he believes, is also the head of a baby-snatching business. FBI Special Agent Bobbie Leighton is tagged to partner up with him as husband and wife Alex and Cici Baron who are adopting a child from lead suspect, Bradley Sterling. The problem? Joe and Bobbie have a bittersweet history, their once-burgeoning relationship dashed to the winds when Joe rescued Bobbie from a killer and lost his eye in the process. The tension between the two is understandably strong, but it is coupled with an attraction neither ever managed to get rid of.

This story’s intrigue is in the need to know how Joe and Bobbie’s attraction unfolds and how they will set all the bitter feelings between them to rights. Their relationship drives the reader to the very last word. Though I would have liked to see the suspense play a bigger role, Beyond the Code of Conduct is entertaining. K.M. Daughters has a very deft hand in dialogue. Conversations flowed smoothly and even bolstered lagging characterization at times. I especially loved the look into the vast Sullivan family—though confusing at first. I would’ve been thrilled to spend more time at the Sullivan house! Joe’s relationship with his brothers and his desire to find his brother’s killer are his key motivating factors. Though the blame he laid on Bobbie seemed to end too abruptly over midway through the book without clear reason, Joe rounds out to be a deep and lovable hero, his handicap and inner turmoil making him all the more sympathetic.

I loved Bobbie’s character in the beginning, especially the fact that she loves her job, worked hard and single-handedly to get to her position and that she is very good at what she does. However, leading up to the black moment, she suddenly has a change of heart about something quite important, which seemed false and came out of the blue. This unmotivated shift jarred me from the plot and I lost a great deal of esteem for the heroine who had been so strong up to that point.

This does not deter from the fact that this novel by K.M. Daughters is still very entertaining, a taut, easy read that I soon won’t forget. If I see new titles from this author in the future, I will likely pause to take a look. With a bit of character refining, this book would be a runaway success!