Monday, July 9, 2012

Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

Hell on Wheels is the first book in the Black Knights, Inc. series and author Julie Ann Walker’s debut novel. It’s fun, sexy, and fast paced, and kept me guessing as to the 'who, what, why and how' right to the very end.
He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted...

Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.

She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length...

Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?
Overall I enjoyed this story but, as with most first books in a series, there was quite a bit of time given over to world building and character introductions which caused things to move at a slower pace early on. However once things got moving, things really got moving and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Corrupt or misguided politicians are not new to the romantic suspense genre, but the way this theme was woven into the story worked well for me.

I loved the entire cast of characters, even those secondary to the story, though sometimes I felt like they were being given too much page time, time I would have rather spent with Ali and Nate, who I adored. Ms. Walker did a fantastic job of showing us Nate’s pain over losing his best friend and feeling totally responsible for his death, almost to the point of being crippled by his guilt. In fact, there was one scene that was so heart-breaking, I had to stop reading because I couldn’t stop crying.

The bottom line: The writing isn’t perfect and as I mentioned earlier there are areas where things seemed to drag, but when it’s all said and done, I truly enjoyed this story and found it to be a pretty impressive debut novel. And, most importantly, I was left wanting… no, needing to read the next book in the series, In Rides Trouble, Frank “Boss” Knight and Becky "Rebel" Reichert’s story!

My thanks to and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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