Series: Cold Justice: Most Wanted #2
Published by Toni Anderson, Toni Anderson Inc. on December 20, 2022
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When forensic anthropologist Zoe Miller stumbles across a murder victim in the blisteringly hostile Sonoran Desert, she triggers a chain of events that puts her in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer.
FBI HRT operator Seth Hopper is on secret assignment near the Mexican border when he suddenly finds himself on a rescue mission. The former Navy SEAL is ordered to protect Zoe, whether she likes it or not, which sets them off on a cross-country journey back to Virginia.
Zoe has good reason not to trust a man like Seth, but there is no denying the scorching heat that flares between them, hotter than the desert sun. Can Zoe find justice for the murdered woman? Or will the killers close in to destroy them both…
I think there’s very little that Toni Anderson can do wrong, especially when it comes to her fantastically-and-tightly-plotted stories revolving around her cadre of FBI/HRT agents. Few authors I know write consistently like her, with books that form a part of a series yet stand blindingly good on their own.
‘Cold Deceit’ brings a Bones-esque situation into the heat and the brutality of the Sonoran Desert where cartel-crimes run rife: a forensic anthropologist crosses paths there with the FBI just after she discovers the remains of a victim which snowballs into something more than she can handle on her own. Zoe Miller isn’t just anyone however; as the daughter of the Vice-President there’s more at stake here than just personal protection and Seth Miller, the man she’d initially been attracted to, has been tasked to be her shadow when he inadvertently gets involved in a case that puts both of them at risk.
I loved Anderson’s thrilling action scenes–they’re engaging and heart-pounding, then sheared off after that with some steamy heat between her protagonists as they try to do the right thing between them (and sometimes fail). Zoe’s relentless search for justice is admirable, though her borderline-petulance at particular times less so. That there was this hot-cold personality change with Seth and his baby-abandonment issues did throw me off a bit, though Anderson doesn’t dwell too much on the angst or let it all descend into prolonged push-pull will-they-won’t-they, but rather brings it all to a neat (and perhaps a tad bit rushed) conclusion very soon after the climax.