Author: Katie Ruggle

In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle

In Her Sights by Katie RuggleIn Her Sights by Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters, #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 26th March 2019
Pages: 384
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Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has, turning the bail recovery business she shares with her sisters into an unqualified success. So when their sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood home up as collateral, Molly's horrified. To make matters worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her family's misfortune as their next big break.

She needs help, stat.

Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John's the most cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly's ever had the pleasure of defeating...and he may be her only hope of making it out of this mess alive.

As the caretaker of a dysfunctional family, Molly Pax handles it all: her sisters, the her manipulative mother and the very annoying (but hot) John Carmondy who can’t seem to leave her alone even though they’re both career-rivals.

I didn’t know what to expect from Katie Ruggle’s new series—my experience with Ruggles’s writing has been varied—but bounty hunting sisters finding their HEA sounded like a unique-enough premise to branch out from her Rocky Mountain books.

There was more quirk and light-heartedness than I thought for an RS book and much of the drama—to my disappointment—for at least halfway, dealt with the Pax sisters’ panic about their mother’s shenanigans and the fear of losing their house as John played a longing, moony sidekick role at the fringe. I started skimming a lot as the investigation went seemingly in circles and Molly/John’s relationship development felt more like a slow burn that had me struggling to keep my interest up. That there wasn’t a point in time I wanted to re-read what I’d missed was probably a warning red flag hoisted high about my boredom levels.

The bottomline is, I wish I were more excited about the start of Ruggle’s new series. I do like Ruggle’s writing style and her protagonists by and large (which is why I do keep coming back to her books from time to time) but the plot however, wasn’t just something I could be enthusiastic about in this mild enemies-to-lovers type story. It’s also more romantic-suspense-lite and strangely more family-friendly, so ‘In Her Sights’ is probably a book more suited to those who prefer to keep just their toes in the genre.


Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle

Run to Ground by Katie RuggleRun to Ground by Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain K9 Unit #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 6th 2017
Pages: 416
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He lost his mentor.He lost his K9 partner.He almost lost his will to live.But when a killer obsessed with revenge targets a beautiful woman on the run, Theo and his new K9 companion will do whatever it takes to save Jules before they lose their last chance at a happily ever after...
Theodore Bosco, grieving the death of his partner, is reluctantly fascinated by secretive newcomer Jules. Although his instincts scream that he should avoid her, he can't seem to stay away. It doesn't help that Theo's new K9 companion, Viggy, has fallen head over paws with Jules's rambunctious family.
Or that when he's with Jules, Theo finally knows peace.
When Jules kidnapped her siblings, whisking them away from abuse to the quiet anonymity of the Colorado Rockies, she never expected to catch the eye-or the heart-of a cop. All it would take is one wrong move and she'll lose everything. Yet as Jules attempts to fight her growing attraction to the brooding K9 officer, another deadly threat lurks much closer to home. Someone's gunning for Theo and Viggy, and they're willing to take out anything...or anyone...who gets in the way of revenge.

Jumpy waitress Juliet Young first meets K9 Unit’s Theo Bosco at the breakfast bar, carrying the weight of her legal troubles on her shoulders as she sort of tries to make a new life for herself in Colorado. But clearly she is hiding something (and this falls on the wrong side of law enforcement), raising Theo’s internal alarm and setting them on a course where they’re on opposing sides. Meanwhile, Theo is dealing with his own grief about his partner and dog, while having a hard time bonding with Viggy the Malinois, so we do witness his frustrations alongside Jules’s own problems.

Having enjoyed Katie Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series, this new K9 one looked as though it would be just as promising. But I couldn’t quite get engaged in ‘Run to Ground’ unfortunately; neither the characters nor the plot captured me from the very beginning. The constant flashbacks broke the narrative and the developing story somewhat, so I found myself disoriented from time to time this happened. In fact, I found myself more invested in Theo’s story than Jules’s however, wanting to know how his newfound partnership with Viggy was going to go but wasn’t too thrilled when there were still some secrets between Jules and Theo by the time the book ended. Still, I liked how Ruggle wrote about the struggles that law enforcement officers faced with their own K9 team and their partners, which made me still look forward to what would happen in later books.


In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle

In Safe Hands by Katie RuggleIn Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue, #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on October 4th 2016
Pages: 416
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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
It's all come down to this...
Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.

‘In Safe Hands’ brings us back to the remote town where the bad guys hide among the good, where the women are the crazy, neurotic ones and the men somewhat more normal and hot. It brings as well, a murder-mystery plot that began in the first book to a startling conclusion that few would have seen coming.

Like Lou, Ellie and Rory, Daisy Little is odd in some way that I can’t entirely get into, even if Katie Ruggle does write a convincing case of agoraphobia. Her fear stems from a tragedy many years ago and as the pattern is with Ruggle’s SAR series, it’s something that she’ll need to fight and face in the climatic part of the book—and only out of this trial by fire (literally) can her stalled life finally move on. There’s a slow, slow burn with Deputy Chris Jennings, but the story’s inclined towards suspense more than romance, skewed so much in Daisy’s POV (as well as the villains, strangely) that I wondered about the almost peripheral role that Chris played in it apart from being Daisy’s ever-steady pillar of support.

Even then, I’m mixed about the direction of the story-arc, the characters and the pacing, which in several instances, felt inconsistent. With the painstaking set-up of the villain as the good guy whom I liked, it was difficult to swallow the fact that he apparently had a personality transplant from the first three books to this one, where the all-out scheming evil he seems to represent here made him more like a caricature than a character torn apart by his conflicting morals. In addition, Ruggle injects a liberal amount of levity that balances out the dour mood of the crimes, and if I enjoyed the camaraderie between the new friends, I did think these interludes took something away from the building suspense.

That said, ‘In Safe Hands’ could work as a standalone, although not very well. The SAR is an unusual series enough that I’d followed it all the way—Ruggle’s writing style is worth it—, but I’m still here crossing my fingers that the next series wouldn’t disappoint too much.


Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle

Gone Too Deep by Katie RuggleGone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue, #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 448
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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He's the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There's just one problem-Ellie's everything George isn't. She's a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.
With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.
Ellie's determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey...

‘Gone Too Deep’ brings us back into the back country of the Colorado mountains where a mysterious mountain-man hermit’s life is about to be disrupted big time by a pint-sized city-girl looking for her father who has gotten himself in trouble. ‘Gone too Deep’ is by no means a perfect book, but enjoyable and fascinating enough for me as I shadowed George’s and Ellie’s perilous trek through the woods with that same hushed awe Ellie had for George’s skills. But for the reasons above, I’m still left scratching my head trying to decide how I should rate this book, torn as I am between the characters and the lack of plot development and closure.

Apart from the intricate SAR work that shows Katie Ruggle’s own experience and knowledge, what the book clearly has going for it is its cast and crew: they’re special, quirky and loveable in their own ways and the sheer diversity of their personalities is breathtaking across Ruggle’s three books. George Holloway is taciturn, reserved to the point of requiring sign-language, so much so that Ellie Price’s bubbling personality was sharply painful in contrast at times.

But it’s easy to like George and Ellie – the awkwardness, the slow burn, the sweet romance – simply because this pairing is so improbable that it actually does work out, and rather convincingly so. Yet I couldn’t help but feel cock-blocked at the deliberate pushing back of the suspense – the story arc of which will only be complete in the next book – and as a result, the threat here from two meth dealers in the snowy woods seemed to drag unnecessarily on as a distraction from the ongoing drama of the headless guy murder and the loose ends that’d been dangled in the first book and were never tied up.

The lack of forward-moving action did frustrate me somewhat, save for the shocking (and sad) revelation at the last page. (I did have an inkling how it was going to play out that way, but I didn’t want it like that!) That said, very little plot-wise, happens in this book: Ellie gets a phone call from her estranged, mentally unstable dad, takes off to find him, discovers a bigger mystery that isn’t solved, meets and falls in love with her mountain-man guide and gets tangled in with dangerous stragglers and dealers on the way.

And that, in a nutshell, is ‘Gone Too Deep’.

The climax, as a result of the escalating action throughout the book, wasn’t unexpected, and the epilogue that followed was predictable and without closure. I think I would have loved the story move if I’d gotten to see a bigger change in George however; as seamlessly as he slots into the sweet mountain-man category complete with grunts and shrugs, it would have been great had he broken out of that mould a little more and become less of an expert in unspoken communication.

I do know I want to see how the entire arc gets resolved, even if I’m dreading how it’s going to end quite unhappily with a good guy turned bad – so is this really called anticipation then?


Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

Fan the Flames by Katie RuggleFan the Flames by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 7th 2016
Pages: 422
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As a Motorcycle Club member and firefighter, Ian Walsh is used to riding the line between the good guys and the bad. He may owe the Club his life, but his heart rests with his fire station brothers...and with the girl he's loved since they were kids, Rory Sorenson. Ian would do anything for Rory. He'd die for her. Kill for her. Defend her to his last breath-and he may just have to.
Every con in the Rockies knows Rory is the go-to girl for less-than-legal firearms, and for the past few years, she's managed to keep the peace between dangerous factions by remaining strictly neutral. But when she defends herself against a brutal attack, Rory finds herself catapulted into the center of a Motorcycle Club war-with only Ian standing between her and a threat greater than either of them could have imagined.

Putting off ‘Fan the Flames’ up until now has been a mistake because I didn’t think I’d be enjoying it this much, given that there’s more of the criminal underworld here than the actual search and rescue process which I loved in the last book. There is however, an ongoing story/suspense arc that begins in the first shows no sign of closing, which would, as I suspect, keep going until the entire series is done. As part of a series however, this second installment feels a little like a rabbit trail off the main story arc itself as Katie Ruggle delves into Motorcycle clubs and guns and firehouses.

There’s loads of talk about guns and MCs – a part of society I’ve never been a part of and can’t quite muster enough interest in – which was the downer, but the action and suspense kept me going on when it became clear who the bad guys were and what they’d been doing. Ian Walsh and Rory Sorenson proved me wrong as well, as the relatively angst-free pairing went through obstacle after obstacle that finally shredded Ian’s loyalty to his motorcycle club for good.

I’ve come to realise that in Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series thus far, the men are swoon-worthy, steadfast and steady and the women problematic. It isn’t quite a complain, but it’d be nice to see the female leads with a little less neurosis and odd inclinations. If Ian was an automatic dreamboat, I had a way harder time connecting with Rory, whose rather naive, socially-awkward behaviour threw me for several loops each time she had to play catch up when it came to feeling ‘adult’ emotions.

It isn’t to say that ‘Fan the Flames’ isn’t a decent read; it was hard-going the moment the suspense kicked in and I particularly salivated Ruggle’s dramatic and bad-ass introduction to George Holloway – whose book I’m already looking forward to


Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

Hold Your Breath by Katie RuggleHold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 5th 2016
Pages: 352
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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
As the captain of Field County's ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise "Lou" Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

The Search and Rescue crew series is shaping out to be a potentially good read and I was more than happy to see Louise and Callum sweep in on a breath of fresh air in this book after a lack-lustre beginning with Derek and Artie.

Somewhat scatter-brained, prone to babbling and determined to forge a new life despite her many embarrassing moments, I’d never though Lou would be the woman to break through Callum’s stoic, OCD but solid personality. Instead, every opposites-attract moment they had together was strangely enjoyable, made more believable because of the slow burn and the months of tentative friendship/rescue-crew relationship that had already been established. I only wished that Katie Ruggle has spent as much time developing the depths of Callum’s personality as she did Lou’s; the depths of this guy somehow felt only briefly unplumbed as each facet of Lou’s personality was revealed throughout the book.

The suspense was a little predictable, but the entirely different context – of ice-diving, of the rescue process and the togetherness of the EFRs – was gripping enough for me to keep going, right up until an end that left me more gobsmacked than shocked.

Ultimately a strangely good read for me, judging by the difficulty I had in saying farewell (for now) to this odd but well-suited pair.