Jigsaw by Stella Barcelona
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (406 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poppy
Foraging the cyber-world for puzzle pieces…
Zeus Hernandez, a Black Raven partner, is pulled away from a top-secret project to be the personal bodyguard to lawyer Samantha Fairfax. Terrorists have rendered the future frightening and uncertain, but Zeus and Samantha’s past makes two things crystal clear: she’ll be furious to see him and he can’t refuse the job.
Sorting pieces as stakes rise…
Danger surrounds the International Terrorism Tribunal, a court convened to combat terrorism. Samantha is thrust into the limelight when her mentor dies as the trial convenes in Paris, France. Her role requires steadfast focus and nerves of steel. She’s determined to do her job and move her life ahead, according to plan…without Zeus. He’s determined she’ll reconsider.
Completing the puzzle as their worlds collide…
As personal drama escalates behind closed doors, terrorists take aim at an Achilles’ heel that is capable of crippling Zeus, Samantha, and Black Raven. While forcing puzzle pieces to click into place, a personal reckoning looms for these two strong-willed people. There’s no denying they might be better off apart…but they fit together so well.
Wow! What a ride!
Jigsaw is everything I expect in romantic suspense. It has the perfect balance of sexy romance and edge-of-your-seat suspense. I was engrossed from the very start.
Sam is a bright, ambitious woman. She has some familial advantages that open doors for her, but she earns the spots she gets. Her latest job, though, comes when the previous person dies … and they aren’t sure if it was a natural death or murder.
Enter Zeus. Hand-picked by Sam’s grandfather to guard her, he and Sam have a past. A very hot, very emotional past. It’s hard for him to agree to taking care of her, but he doesn’t think anyone else will do as good a job (despite how much he trusts the other Black Raven people).
The book starts out quickly, with a member of Sam’s inner circle dying and Zeus and his people hit the ground running. There’s a running theme about privacy being a thing of the past. Jigsaw refers (mostly) to a program they use to find things out about, well, anyone. It sorts through every bit of data available online and reminds the reader just how much is out there.
The romance between Sam and Zeus was the only reason this wasn’t a solid five star book. Zeus is ready to give their relationship another try, but Sam is stubborn and resistant. While I understand her desire to not be hurt again, it’s clear to the reader that Zeus is sincere and that she’s crazy about him. Their physical relationship starts up again pretty quickly, but she’s not willing to commit emotionally. It doesn’t help that she has a boyfriend she’s intending to marry down the road.
Also, near the end, Zeus’ brother shares something with her that felt a little intrusive. I get he wanted to help his brother, but it kind of felt as if the author wasn’t sure how else for Sam to find out about this, and instead of just finally trusting Zeus and opting to give their love another try, she suddenly had everything wrapped up in a little bow about the past.
That said, I really did love the author’s voice. She’s a master of the written word. Everything flows, there’s nothing that felt stilted or that pulled me out of the story. The ease of the writing made the book like a movie in my mind. Clean. Clear. Interesting. So well done.
Also, this is book two in a series, and I didn’t feel at all lost. Yes, I could tell I was missing out on some things that might have made my experience even richer (for instance, the book opens at a wedding and was likely between the characters from book one). But the author does a bang-up job filling a new reader in. It stands alone very nicely.
All-in-all one of the best books I’ve read lately. Recommended.