Book Review: Critical Pursuit

22 Jan

375533Officer Brinna Caruso has built a reputation at the precinct as the cop to call when a child goes missing. For Brinna, it’s personal because she was once one of them. Brinna and her K-9 search and rescue dog, Hero, will stop at nothing to find a missing child, no matter the stakes.

Detective Jack O’Reilly isn’t ready to return to his homicide duties, after losing his wife to a drunk driver. He’s on the downside of his career, and bent on revenge, when he’s assigned as Brinna’s partner. While on patrol, Jack struggles between his quest for personal justice and his responsibility to those around him, especially his partner.

Skeptical of Jack’s motives, Brinna isn’t sure she can rely on her new partner, whose reckless abandon endangers the safety of those around him. But when a man surfaces with an MO similar to the criminal who abducted Brinna twenty years earlier, Brinna and Jack must cast aside previous judgments and combine efforts to catch the kidnapper, and finally allow Brinna the peace stolen from her as a child.

Janice-61374-200x300A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called “Cop and Christ”, and another for the monthly magazine “Today’s Christian Woman”.

With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. AccusedAbducted and Avenged,  comprise The Pacific Coast Justice Series, a trilogy that kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. September 2013 saw the release of Critical Pursuit, featuring Brinna Caruso, a K-nine officer with a heart to find abducted and missing children. Visible Threat is the next installment in this series and will be released in 2014.  In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

Janice has bachelor’s degrees in Biology (University of California at Irvine) and Physical Education (California State University at Long Beach).  She also completed graduate coursework in Criminal Justice (University of Southern California) and is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writer’s and Sisters in Crime.  She attends Trail Christian Fellowship in Eagle Point Oregon, having just moved to Southern Oregon with her three Labrador Retrievers, Jake, Maggie and Abbie. Janice’s hobbies are reading, cross-stitching, kayaking, hiking, walking the dogs and trying to stay fit.

My Impressions:

Suspense is one of my favorite genres and by far the one I prefer to review. I like the twists and turns, the emotional responses by the characters and that feeling of tension that permeates a good suspense novel. I found all of that in Janice Cantore’s Critical Pursuit. Cantore’s experience as a policewoman brings an authenticity to her novels that is hard to duplicate. If you like a suspense novel complete with realistic police work, relatable characters and a story that keeps the pages turning, then this one is for you.

The two main characters are cops with pasts. Jack O’Reilly has the reputation as a burnout following the death of his wife. His bitterness and desire for revenge are destroying all the good in his life. Brinna Caruso was a kidnap victim at age six. Her determination to make sure all children are safe makes her a good cop, but doesn’t really allow for anything else in her life. For them God doesn’t exist because He let them down. Forced to work together, Jack and Brinna face their demons head on.

I liked that the characters had rough edges. They were not always likable, but were very real in their questions and doubts.  There was some resolution, but mostly, Jack and Brinna still have a way to go in becoming whole. The story line was jarring — a child molester/kidnapper/murderer — and the the perpetrator’s point of view was chilling, but this added depth. Never graphic, the narrative was realistic as well. And for those who like a good dog tale, Brinna’s search and rescue dog, Hero, adds a lot to the action.

I liked Critical Pursuit. A quick read, it delivers just about everything a suspense fan could ask for.


(Thanks to Tyndale for my review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.


3 Responses to “Book Review: Critical Pursuit”

  1. Susanne January 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    I’m going to look for this one at the bookstore this afternoon. Thanks.


    • rbclibrary January 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      The second book in the series is due out soon, too.



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