Julie Ann Walker
Sourcebooks Casablanca / April 2, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.59 digital
Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren't sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run...
Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn't counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there's no one in the world she'd rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight...
Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights, Inc. series keeps its foot on the accelerator from the first book's opening pages, all the way through the end of Thrill Ride, the latest in the series. Just when you think you know the cast, you know the issues, and you can guess the outcome, the landscape tilts.
If you’ve read the first three books, you’ve met Rock Babineaux and Vanessa Cordero. Now, it’s time to get properly introduced. Don’t take too much time getting acquainted though, because, as usual, Walker hits the ground running with the action.
Before you can really settle in with the book, you’re riding shotgun with Vanessa as she goes chasing after the rogue Rock. Soon after she catches up with him, you’re the third wheel as Rock and Vanessa try to stay a step ahead of the people (and things) hunting him.
"Don’t. Move,” Rock whispered.
Yeah, she hadn’t planned on it.
She felt him reach down beneath her thigh, and for a moment she entertained the crazy notion that he was going to try to pick up where they’d left off. And if they were, indeed, seconds away from being devoured by the big cat, she couldn’t say she really blamed him. At least they’d both die happy, doing something pleasurable. But then the hard steel of a gun barrel kissed the inside of her leg.
While that is going on, the rest of the Black Knights are trying to solve a mystery and clear Rock’s name. But that’s only half the story. The other half of the story are the emotional entanglements Walker throws in. Rock may start off being “An enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by beard stubble” but by the end, you’ll know all you need to about him and Vanessa too. And, while this particular story is primarily about Vanessa and Rock, the supporting cast has a very large role to play. From Ozzie and his rock singing, SF t-shirt wearing, genius level snarkiness, to the growing tension between high school sweethearts, turned bitter enemies, turned…..status in development….. Eve Edens and Billy Reichert, nothing is ever settled even when the book is over.
The action is gritty and the plot moves along quickly, making the book a lot of fun to read. But, it is the character development and the resulting relationships that makes Walker’s Thrill Ride a thrill to read.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker before its April 2 release:
Robin Bradford is a lawyer, a librarian and, most importantly, a long time lover of words. You can check her out on Twitter @tuphlos.