Vulnerable by Mary Burton

Vulnerable by Mary BurtonVulnerable (Morgans of Nashville, #4) by Mary Burton
Series: Morgans of Nashville #4
Published by Pinnacle on March 29th 2016
Pages: 384
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The Smallest Mistake
Three went in; one came out. For five years, no trace has been found of two high-school friends who went hiking in the woods near Nashville. The third teen, Amber Ryder, was discovered at the bottom of a ravine with a broken arm, head trauma--and zero memory of the horror that put her there.
Will Put You
What started as a cold case has become a fresh hell for forensic technician Georgia Morgan. Another woman's body is found in the woods, and it leads to the missing teens' remains. But while Georgia works with Amber to try and reawaken her memories, her gut tells her the worst is yet to come.
At A Killer's Mercy
Homicide Detective Jake Bishop can't be sure whether Amber is an expert manipulator or the killer's next target. Either way, he's determined to protect Georgia. Because the deeper she digs into the past, the deadlier the secrets that emerge, and a nightmare years in the making is about to come to a bloody, terrifying end…

A puzzling cold case is reopened when a woman’s body is found in the woods along with the remains of two teenagers who disappeared five years ago, forcing forensic technician Georgia Morgan to work with homicide detective Jake Bishop.

For everything plot related, Mary Burton runs a tight ship and plays the details of the case with ease. But while ‘Vulnerable’ is an excellent example of a police procedural, I would be cautious in labelling this book as romantic suspense when it’s more a crime novel with some (not entirely believable) romantic elements.

I wasn’t entirely convinced that Jake and Georgia was a credible pairing; there is a goodly amount of UST and banter, but given Jake’s unapologetic man-whore reputation and Georgia’s caution when it comes to men like him, their sudden fall into bed together (and apparently straight into a committed relationship from there) towards the 75% mark of the book seems like an obligatory scene rather than an inspired one. Much less the declaration of love by the end of the book which I absolutely couldn’t buy, especially when the leading couple in question spent as much time together as the other criminal suspect-couples did.

My personal dissatisfaction simply stems from what might be called mislabelling of this particular genre; the lack of development and depth for Jake and Georgia tanked my rating of the book only because I was on the lookout for a more solid gasp of a pairing that didn’t quite materialise convincingly. This story would however, be right on point for those who prefer a ‘purer form’ of the crime novel – where pairings and relationships take a backseat to plot-development.