Thu
Aug 17 2017 1:00pm

First Look: April Hunt’s Hard Justice (August 29, 2017)

Hard Justice by April Hunt

April Hunt
Hard Justice (Alpha Security #3)
Forever / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

I’ve been enjoying April Hunt’s Alpha Security series. She’s got a cast full of characters that don’t overlap and dominate the current storyline, and she’s got a great storytelling flow. Her heroes are self-possessed and sexy, and her heroines are confident and interesting. Hard Justice is the third installation in the series, and I thought it was funny that one of the supporting operatives in the series could read between the lines on the reality of saving the day in Romancelandia:

Logan shook his head, looking equal parts amused and disturbed.

“You guys are dropping like flies at a fucking horse show. First Rafe, then Trey…now you. You, man. If Stone thinks he’s sending me on an operation that’s not at some fucking monastery with a horde of men in robes, then I’m not taking it. Shit happens when you go off on your own.”

Alpha Security isn’t an organization you can Google when your bike is stolen, rather “they were the men who got shit done when the government’s hands were metaphorically—or logistically—tied.” Charlie Sparks is the only female operative at Alpha Security, and is normally relegated to her comfort zone of computer genius. But when the DHS seeks her out specifically for a case they’re working on human-trafficking with a possible link to agency corruption, she finally gets a primary position on a case.

At barely five-foot-three and a hundred and twenty pounds, stealth not only came easier to her than it did to her oversized counterparts, but it fooled more than one Neanderthal into labeling her a damsel.

She loved proving those bloody bastards wrong.

The only caveat is that she’s got to work with Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin, the newest member of Alpha Security and the only colleague that sets her blood to boiling.

A man was the last thing she needed now that she’d finally proven herself worth of being on Alpha’s frontline—especially a man like Vince Franklin.

Thanks to growing up with one of the East Coast’s most notorious crime lords, Arturo Franconi, Charlie handles herself well in the field and is a fighter. She had to develop enough street smarts and self-defense mechanisms to survive growing up in the middle of a crime cartel led by her uncle. Her childhood experiences and connections make her the perfect operative to get on the inside and figure out why young women are being kidnapped from nightclubs in Miami.

Not all elements of Charlie’s early life were bad, though. Her uncle’s right-hand man and head of security, Anthony Torres, was a vicious son of a bitch—but his son, Brock, looked out for her. He hated the cartel life as much as she did, but while Charlie set up an exit clause for herself, Brock had stayed behind, working as a deep-cover agent for the government. It was a shock to see that, a dozen years later, Brock was not only still in Miami, but all evidence pointed to him being involved with the cartel.

“It’s not simple. At all. Because if I’m in a position to find those nine missing women and prevent others from being abducted, then that’s what I bloody well need to do. Otherwise, we’re part of the problem.”

“What problem?” Vince needed to know.

“Apathy. The whole ‘Well, it doesn’t involve me directly, so I’m keeping my nose out of it’mentality that’s been known to plague humanity.”

At times, Charlie was hard for me to connect with. I get she had to develop a crunchy shell to survive violent odds, and I get she’s the only woman working with a stable full of testosterone-filled men, but her steady need to prove herself an independent badass didn’t always jive with the importance of team dynamics. It was a little distracting, even though she was a badass.

She was a formidable woman, someone to contend with, no matter your sex or size.

Once she got her head out of her ass and started working with Vince instead of against (or, really, in spite of) him, they proved to have a formidable partnership. I thought Hard Justice was just as much about Charlie’s struggle of introspection as much as her struggle to bring her uncle to justice. Learning to trust her partner and lover, Vince, was a hard-fought victory for her psyche. 

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Hard Justice by April Hunt, available August 29, 2017:

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Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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1 comment
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
How have I missed this series? I just don't know. Thanks for the first look!
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