After reading Lehtolainen’s SNOW WOMAN, I was excited to read this book, the first in a trilogy about bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero, who according to the blurb “rarely loses her cool” promptly loses her cool when her current employer, a wealthy Finnish woman, insists on buying a lynx fur coat. Lynx clearly have special meaning for Ilveskero, but it will be many, many pages before we find out what that is, which is odd, because the book is written in first person. When this employer turns up dead, Ilveskero must find the killer, since she is a suspect after the aforementioned losing-her-cool incident early in the book.

I’m way behind on book reviews, so I’m not going to go on and on about every little thing about this book that made it a hard slog to get through. My primary complaint is that I really didn’t connect at all with the narrator. She dribbled out bits of information seemingly at random, we learn way too much irrelevant information about her childhood and time in bodyguard school, but the most irritating thing about her is the old “he’s so dangerous and I probably can’t trust him, but I just can’t help myself!” romance trope. Barf.

Romantic suspense really isn’t my thing, especially the “I’m smart and capable and I know I shouldn’t sleep with Dangerous Man, but you know I’m going to anyway!” variety. I can’t really say whether this succeeds as a romantic suspense novel, but as a mystery and as a thriller, it fell flat for me. I don’t have to like a first person narrator, but I need to find some connection with her if I’m to spend a whole novel in her head, and that proved impossible here. And the mystery (in the blurb “layers of intrigue”) was a convoluted mess.

Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title courtesy of the publisher.