2 out of 4 stars
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Injured and on the run from the Russian mafia, Dean finds himself holed up with the beautiful and distracting Kelsie. Forced to hold Kelsie captive, his lust for her threatens to destroy them both.
Kelsie is stuck in a rut when Dean comes crashing into her life. He’s gorgeous and intriguing, but also forceful and unyielding. She doesn't know what to make of him, but she could use some excitement in her life. Trust doesn’t come easily, but if they don’t take a chance on each other, they may not make it out alive.
As they grow closer, Kelsie and Dean must reevaluate who can be trusted. Someone has given them up to the Russians, and Dean must make a choice that could affect the rest of his life—if he survives.
Book one in the Running with the Devil series, The Darkest Hour is a romantic suspense novel by Jasmin Quinn. The story is written using the third person omniscient point of view. In some ways I found this helpful, as it gave me some insight into the characters, but it could have been better executed. I was privy to not only Dean’s and Kelsie’s thoughts and emotions, often switching between them from one paragraph to the next, but even minor characters had brief scenes in which their thoughts were transparent. When using that particular point of view, I prefer to have some separation when jumping between characters’ heads. Waiting until the end of a scene or until the next chapter would help the story to flow more smoothly.
As with pretty much any book, there were aspects that I enjoyed and those that I really didn’t. Kelsie was—for the most part—a strong and caring counterpart to the unpredictable and sometimes downright unlikeable Dean. Kelsie’s fear was apparent, especially in the beginning, but there were no hysterics despite the precarious situation in which she found herself, and I was impressed with her resilience. Dean was aggressive and crude, dishing out threats and verbal abuse despite the fact that he was easily able to overpower Kelsie, even while injured. He did have some redeeming qualities, but they were few and far between, which had me constantly questioning my feelings about his character. These personalities remained fairly consistent throughout the book, although there were rare moments where Dean’s softer—emphasis on the -er—side was visible.
What I enjoyed most was the feeling of suspense. The motivations of every character were in question, and even I couldn’t figure out who could be trusted. The relationship between Dean and Kelsie, however, left something to be desired. I failed to see a believable progression from captive and captor to man and woman in love, especially since the whole thing happened within just a few days. What I did see was a scorching attraction that resulted in intense emotions—possessiveness and lust.
Had I finished the book feeling satisfied, with all—or at least most of—my questions answered, I would have given this a 3 star rating. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. There is a small chance that some of those questions will be answered in book two of the series, but since Secrets Inside Her focuses on different characters, I’m not counting on it. Last but not least, punctuation errors were a consistent problem throughout the book. I found a missing or misspelled word here and there, but the missing commas were what really caught my attention. An additional round of editing would be a great help here, but as it stands, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. Despite the many issues I had with the writing, I did still enjoy the story.
Since I’m admittedly picky when it comes to books, I would still recommend The Darkest Hour to those above the age of 18 who enjoy a steamy romance with a good dose of suspense and intrigue. Fair warning, this book does contain strong language, sexual content, and violence.
The Darkest Hour
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