Shadow Hawk by Jill Shalvis

Shadow Hawk by Jill Shalvis
Shadow Hawk by Jill Shalvis

Shadow Hawk has been doing the blog rounds. Jill Shalvis is an engaging writer–you only have to visit her blog to know that–but I’m sure the yummy cover also has something to do with the popularity of this book. (Hey, notice the different cover on the Aussie Blaze? We don’t cut off the sexy model’s head!) I’m not really into beefcake, but even I was mesmerised. (The comments I got when I added this book on Facebook!) The suspense in this story is a bit thin, but the wooing and the cavorting are fun to read.

The heroine

Abby Wells used to be a great ATF field agent until she was captured and tortured by the bad guys. Now, she’s not quite sure of herself, and even though she’s back on the job, she still carries some heavy emotional baggage. She’s also sworn off personal relationships, even if the sight of Hawk makes her … sweat.

The hero

Conner Hawk is an ATF field agent who’s determined to nail the mastermind of a scheme to blackmail corporations using kiddie bombers. Hawk suspects someone high up within the ATF but has no proof.

The setup

When Hawk goes down during a mission gone bad, Abby abandons the safety of the communications van to back him up. Unfortunately, he’s been set up, and he has to kidnap Abby to prevent her from giving him away … and to save her life.

And other stuff

Hawk’s partner and a hot nurse, Playboy bunnies, handcuffs ;-)

Things that made me go, Mmm…

I love the way Shalvis writes heroes. Admittedly, sometimes Hawk and Logan go about an inch beyond my sap threshold, but still. I love the way they focus on their partners and have a one-track mind when it comes to checking them out. What woman doesn’t want to drive her man to distraction? Also, they’re just such decent men.

The men in this book aren’t invincible. Yes, the main characters survive (that can’t be a spoiler since this is a romance) but they do so with a lot of injuries and very, very close calls. Hawk also has a fear of heights, which I found really endearing since he’s supposed to be a real toughie.

Abby thinks. She’s not a victim. Even when Hawk kidnaps her, even though she’s attracted to him, she’s still looking for ways to escape. She doesn’t immediately believe Hawk’s explanation of his innocence, but Shalvis gives us enough to understand why she would also hesitate to give him away when she gets the chance.

Shalvis’s voice. Her brand of humour. If you read her blog, you’ll know what I mean.

“I need your cell phone.”

“No. Don’t–” She choked as his fingers slid across her abdomen, trying to get to her pocket. “Don’t touch me.”

“Relax.” His hand brushed the warm skin of her belly just above her low waistband. “I only want the–”

Her elbow clocked him in the nose, and he saw stars. “Jesus!” He fell back against the opened door. “Jesus Christ, woman!”

Breathing like a lunatic, she glared at him, eyes hot and furious beneath the hair that had fallen in her face. “I told you not to touch.”

“Okay, yeah, getting that loud and clear. The phone, Abby.”

Her jaw tightened. “It’s almost out of battery.”

The battery didn’t matter, and they both knew it. She threw her cellphone at him, and thank you, God, the little keychain he’d seen with her mini credit card was attached to it.

“I can’t believe you expect your victim to pay for your gas.”

Things that made me go, Huh?

Logan, Hawk’s partner, gets his own secondary romance. But although the first scene in Logan’s POV made me laugh, I couldn’t get into his romance much. I think Shalvis was being ambitious in squeezing two romances into a Blaze. I would have preferred that she spent those pages with Hawk and Abby.

While Shalvis does a decent job with the suspense plot, there really aren’t enough pages to do it justice. So, from the beginning, we have a fairly good idea of the bad guy’s identity. She does a good job of incorporating Abby’s backstory, however, and she reveals Abby’s fears with subtlety.

Things that made me go, Argh!

The back blurb mentions “JT Hawk”, but the book has him as Conner Hawk and his partner as J. T. Logan. Eek!

My main gripe with the story is the fact that Hawk and Abby’s minds are so clearly not on the job, since they always seem to be lusting after each other. In the past, this wouldn’t have bothered me too much. But after reading Holly’s post at The Book Binge, it just kept bugging me. (I’m totally blaming Holly if I never fully enjoy another romantic suspense novel again.)

The Verdict

Shadow Hawk is a fun frolic if you don’t expect too much from the suspense plot. The real strength of this book is Shalvis’s ability to create warm, funny characters and very sexy love scenes. I wish this had been a longer book so the suspense plot could have been developed more gradually, but it’s not bad for a first attempt at the subgenre and within the parameters of the Blaze imprint. Click here for an excerpt.

Note: This post was originally published on October 15, 2007.

Where you can buy this book

AUSTRALIA: Dymocks | Ever After | Galaxy | Intrigue | Rendezvous | Romance Direct | Romantic Reflections | Siren | More (no online catalogue) Psst … where are these stores?
DIGITAL BOOKS: Dymocks | Amazon (Kindle)
WORLDWIDE: Amazon US | Amazon UK

What do you think?