Mounting Evidence

Mounting Evidence - Karis Walsh It's interesting that this book isn't marketed as a sequel of [b:Mounting Danger|17290863|Mounting Danger|Karis Walsh||23913121] or even as part of a series on the Mounted Police Unit whose adventures form the core of both books. Could it be because the hard-ass b*tch Lt. Abby Hargrove, head of the mounted unit from the first book is completely unrecognizable here? Physically, she is still the same perfectly coiffed and polished officer but her body has been taken over by a saint (or a comic book superhero if you're less than 21). I had to go re-read all the nasty Abby parts of the first book to figure out if I missed something or my memory was faulty. It was, after all, over a hundred books ago. But the thing is, Mounting Danger is one of my favorite reads, and there's no way I can forget the deliciously hateful lieutenant from hell. Not only is Abby now a self-sacrificing saint, she's also meek as a lamb, letting other officers talk sh*t to her, letting her once-submissive subordinate Rachel talk down to her, and generally feeling insecure all around. But that's getting ahead of the story. For now, i'll chalk it up to some miracle or a retcon that happened sometime in between the writing of the two books, or pretend that this is not a sequel. :)

Lt. Abby Hargrove heads a small mounted police unit that she'd helped establish, although her duties run more along desk duty--administration, budgeting, playing politics. A two week vacation sees her joining her crew in actively riding and policing a country fair. While there, saving a runaway horse leads to an encounter with a beautiful woman and her daughter. But Abby's uncanny ability to control the horse raises some suspicions about prior history. Turns out that the horse is part of Abby's secret agenda--the one mission of her life--atoning for the sins of her family by trying to right their wrongs, in whatever small way she can. I wouldn't find this idea terribly strange in a comic book or an Asian book where the concept of family honor trumps individual happiness, but in a modern, individualistic western society, it does seem strange or even creepy.

Anyway, the woman in the encounter is a environmentalist fighting to preserve what wetlands remain in the ever encroaching threat of urban crawl. Reeling from a violent breakup, Kira is wary of these domineering-cop types like Abby who seem to be cut from the same cloth as her controlling ex, although the reader wouldn't know it from how passive Abby seems to be with everyone else. A long and rather tedious stretch of the book is then devoted to the two MCs repeated self-denials, worries and hand-wringing over just the idea of them having a relationship--like a mental tug-of-war. Also, the lack of interaction of Abby with anyone else deeper meant that the author had to repeatedly 'tell' us Abby's thoughts/feelings for us to 'get' her. Same thing with Kira. Fortunately, things do eventually pick up when Abby and Kira start to get serious with each other late in the book (and start dealing with their issues), which was enough to save the last 30% of the book, but a little too long in coming.

People who aren't aware that this book is a sequel may find it strange that two minor characters here have an explicit intimate scene way before the MCs do. So maybe do pick up [b:Mounting Danger|17290863|Mounting Danger|Karis Walsh||23913121] first. It is way better too.

3.75 stars

Note: Review copy provided by Netgalley