Burning Proof (Cold Case Justice #2) by Janice Cantore

burning-proofGenre: Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: March 2016

Detective Abby Hart has spent months investigating the brutal murder of a young girl. But when the arrest takes a horrible and tragic turn, Abby finds herself questioning everything, including her calling as a cop. As she grapples with her emotions, she finds herself once more confronted with questions about the blaze that killed her parents twenty seven years ago.

Private Investigator Luke Murphy can’t shake Abby’s former partner’s final words. According to the dying man proof exists about what happened the night of the fire. When Luke’s search unearths a clue, he hesitates to tell Abby, fearing it might be her breaking point. But his discovery risks exposure when Luke and Abby join forces to solve a decade-old kidnapping.

I enjoy series with overarching mysteries, unfortunately Burning Proof fails to deliver, falling flat in both the suspense and romance departments. Janice Cantore tells rather than shows and rehashes the same information/conversations ad nauseam, bogging down the story. The lack of action also does little to progress the plot. Riddled with unnatural dialogue, it felt like the characters said what was expected of them rather than what would flow naturally.

After two books of Abby’s fluctuating between her fiancé and Luke, she has long ceased to be sympathetic as she strings along two men for no other reason than to have them both at her disposal. Through the detective, Cantore explores the difficult topic of PTSD, but again the attempt falls short. Abby comes across as an annoying, self-absorbed teenager rather than a woman struggling with the effects of a traumatic experience. Worse yet, after a three-day bout with PTSD (because it feels more like a cold than a mental disorder), the detective is suddenly an expert on the subject and the only salvation of a young woman who has suffered with it for a decade.

Cantore introduces a new character in an attempt to infuse conflict into the Luke/Abby relationship, but she only succeeds in making Luke now appear as inconsistent and undecided as Abby.

Despite the ongoing case that won’t reach a resolution until book three, I’m not sure I’ll read the final installment of the Cold Case Justice series.

Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!

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