My To Be Read stack is mountainous. That's why I just got around to reading Protector, by Laurel Dewey, a book I've had on my Kindle since February.
Protector is the first of the Jane Perry series, and it is not a cozy, armchair read, but a book that will alternately keep you on the edge of your seat and disgust you. At times you want to shout at the character's refusal to overcome the horrible abuse of her past, and at other times, you feel her pain and are moved to tears.
Admittedly, Jane Perry walks a razor-edge of sanity, and sometimes she slips just for a moment and acts reprehensibly before recovering. She's a complete and utter mess and sees no redemption in sight.
Jane Perry is deeply flawed and has nothing in her life except an equally-flawed brother and her job as a cop, a job at which she excels. She has something else, but that's something she tries very hard to pretend doesn't exist. I won't tell you what that is, but it adds another dimension to the story.
I'm a radical non-smoker thanks to a childhood lived with smoking parents so this book was tough going for me. The author is so good at setting and description that I could almost smell the stale cigarette smoke that inhabits Jane's world and smell the stale booze from the empty bottles and cans that litter her home like refuse in the gutter.
This was not an easy book to read, but it was so compelling that I couldn't put it down once I'd started. Now that I've finished, I find myself thinking about Jane and hoping that she finds some peace in her turmoil of a life. In fact, I think I must buy the next books in the series to see if Jane finds redemption. If anyone deserves a bit of serenity, it's Jane Perry.
Well-written with finely-drawn characters, realistic setting, tight plotting, and taut suspense. If you're looking for a different kind of suspense thriller, Protector is it.