Off the Rails by Jill Sorenson Release Date: December 13, 2016 Publisher: Loveswept Standalone *see review for some notes on this Number of pages: none listed in Goodreads or Amazon and my e-book doesn't have a page count Kindle Edition Source: ARC from Net Galley Romantic Suspense M/F Rating: NC-17 Read 10/31/16 to 11/6/16
Let me start out by saying, going into this book, I was unaware the characters were offshoots from another book. Reading the book(s) that came before this one may have helped a bit, but most of my problems with this book have little to do with the back story or holes in the story. And, to be fair to me, it is in no way touted as part of a series or a spin-off of another book. That leads me to believe the author felt it was strong enough to stand on its own.
The overall vibe Ian and Maria, the hero and heroine, give off is very anti-law enforcement and that was one of the things that bothered me. Ian is a federal agent, for goodness sake! Don’t get me wrong, I know there are bad cops, agents, and military men and women out there. So maybe a reading of the other book would have helped me to see where Ian was coming from. But it wasn’t just mistrust; I know that would be natural for Maria and her family. At times it’s downright disdain.
Maria is quite young and her experience with men is rough, but I thought she was too childlike in other ways. After what she has been through in her life and the things she did to survive, I wouldn’t think she’d seem so young anymore. She would seem innocent one minute and then be throwing a tantrum the next. That’s not fiery and strong, that is immature and petulant. And sometimes I felt Ian wasn’t much better although I understood his motivation much more clearly. Really, the issue was that these characters didn’t seem fully fleshed out to me. There seems to be a lot of telling and not enough showing. Oddly enough a side character, who is important but by no means a major player, named Caitlyn was far more interesting to me that the main characters.
Something that I did like was Maria has a little sister with William’s Syndrome. I have a dear friend whose son has William’s Syndrome and it seems to be such a little know disease. Anything to get the word out and get more funding for research is fine by me. I wish there would have been more than a quick mention, but I’m still hoping that piqued some interest where maybe a reader will look into it and be inspired to help.
It wasn’t until more than 75% into the book that I actually got invested and cared to keep reading. That’s far too much of a book to have to skim and force yourself to pick back up. But because the action was great in that last portion of the book I’m notching my rating up by a star.
I don’t feel I can totally give up on this author because there were good things in the book, but I’ll be sure the next time I try out one of Jill Sorenson’s stories it will be a true standalone of the first in a series so I won’t wonder if my lack of enthusiasm has to do with some missing element.