Following their mother’s death, Laura takes charge of her teenage half-sister, Darcy. A clash of personalities and wills soon leads to Darcy running away and getting herself into all kinds of trouble. Laura hires Phoenix Inc to track down her wayward sister, and the case lands on the desk of James Devlin. Before long it’s not only Darcy’s safety that’s on the line, but Laura’s heart.
Dev is attracted to Laura the moment he lays eyes on her, which is disconcerting considering she is nothing like the women he usually dates. She is conservative and quiet – she’s a librarian, for goodness’ sake! - yet he finds himself drawn to her nonetheless. Phoenix rules dictates no getting involved with a client, and while he’s determined to honour the professionalism Phoenix is built on, he finds it difficult to keep his relationship with Laura from becoming personal.
Darcy runs away from home thinking life on her own terms would be a blast. However, she soon realises that things at Laura’s place weren’t as bad as she thought. Once she makes the decision to return to Laura, however, that’s no longer an option – Darcy finds herself in the clutches of a demented serial killer. Can Dev connect the dots before it’s too late?
Trapped is the second book in Irene Hannon's Private Justice trilogy. Each book focuses on one of the partners of Phoenix Inc, and can be read as a stand-alone.
One of the things that bothers me most about this book is the fact that Laura and Dev don’t spend nearly enough time together for my liking. They have great chemistry, so it was very frustrating that they don't have many scenes together – not as many as I would have liked, anyway. There is also too much focus on Mark and Darcy, who I consider to be secondary characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if calculation shows they have more page time than Dev and Laura.
As I have mentioned in the past, I’m not a fan of knowing the identity of the villain from the get go. I prefer having an author making me work to figure out the mystery alongside the main characters, but once again Hannon shares the identity of the villain very early on. I found myself skipping Mark’s POV sections – I just didn’t care. I realise the author attempted to let the reader into the mind of a killer, but I found these sections to be extremely boring and eventually I just started skipping Mark's scenes altogether - even the end, which I expect is supposed to be tense, but really isn't.
There is also much less focus on faith than I expected; it’s much less of a central theme than I have come to expect from Hannon. There were a few mentions of Laura praying for Darcy’s safe return, and Darcy remembering a church service or two. Dev has come to believe that God does not care about the human race, but ultimately winds up praying to God out of desperation. As I would generally classify Hannon’s books as religious fiction, I would have appreciated a little more focus on faith. I would have liked to see more of Darcy and Dev’s spiritual growth, and also more of Dev and Laura as a couple than only one short epilogue. On that note, Hannon likes to end her epilogues with the characters getting engaged – I’m all for happily ever after, but she needs to guard against her basic plot structure becoming too predictable.
Sadly this book just wasn’t suspenseful for me at all. I thoroughly enjoyed Hannon’s Heroes of Quantico trilogy, but the Private Justice trilogy just isn’t grabbing me in the same way. I’ll probably read the next book in the series, Deceived, because I'm a little OCD like that and I need to finish a series a started, but truthfully I won’t be rushing to the shelves for this one. Sadly the Private Justice trilogy is not living up to my expectations.
Author: Irene Hannon
Number of Pages: 400