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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lisa Harris: Hidden Agenda

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Michael Hunt is alive--and on the run. Presumed dead by friends and family, the undercover assignment he's been working for the past eight months has just been blown. With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law. His only hope is the daughter of the man who wants him dead.

This nonstop chase from taut suspense writer Lisa Harris will leave readers breathless as they race to connect the dots before it's too late.

My Review:
Hidden Agenda is the third book in the Southern Crimes series by Lisa Harris. I, personally, haven’t read the first two books in the series but that will change over time. The first two books are titled Dangerous Passage and Fatal Exchange. The series centers on the Hunt family with the father being a cop, their grandfather being a cop, and the oldest sister, Avery, whose story is told in Dangerous Passage, is a cop. Emily, whose story is told in Fatal Exchange, is not a cop instead she is a teacher. The newest book, Hidden Agenda, is about Michael Hunt, the only boy in the family.

I was interested in reviewing this book because as all my readers know, I am a huge romantic suspense, mystery, thriller, or just plain suspense junky. I have the first two books downloaded on my Kindle, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.  But I will someday. 

The writing was good. There were no point of view shifts unless there was a chapter break. Harris did not head hop within the same chapter. The story was told from Olivia, Ivan, and Michael’s perspective, but I never got confused as to whose point of view we were following. The story flowed seamlessly, moving from one scene to another creating a wonderful story. Harris did a good job at creating realistic characters with fears and doubts while wondering what the truth, either in faith or in their families, was.

The pace and tension of the story was okay. The first fifty-five pages included a lot of backstory while Olivia and Ivan helped Michael escape across the water. I’ve always been told not to tell a lot of backstory in the first fifty pages because you’ll confuse the reader. I don’t think Harris did this to confuse the reader; I think she did this to fill the reader in on the past, which was important to the story, but I think it could have been sprinkled in the story instead of just covering the first fifty pages of the book. On the other hand, the tension created by the run from the drug cartel was nicely handled. I enjoyed turning pages as I ran through the woods with Olivia, Ivan, and Michael, trying to flee for their lives. Similarly, the romantic tension wasn’t really there. Michael and Olivia started to feel things for each other and moved along with it. Nothing stood in there way. Even so far as Michael’s entire family accepting her right away, which I thought would have been a struggle for his family.

While the setting was described for the current situation, the horrifying world of the drug cartel was shaded across. If the characters were really in fear for their lives from some drug lord, the story would have been stronger to actually show the inside of that world. Harris does allow a cop to be shot right next to Michael in the beginning of the story, but as an avid reader of suspense, even that appeared kind of toned down. Trust me, I’m not a fan of huge bloody scenes, and I can’t stand horror films, but I think the inside look of the drug trade would have made the story more realistic.

As for the ending, it was way too calm for me. A huge climactic event occurred, and a half a page later, they fixed the problem and took down the bad guys. Harris could have done so much with what was on the plate at that moment, but it appeared rushed to me. The moment happened at page 287, so the incident could have dragged out another twenty or more pages.

Hidden Agenda was mild and safe romantic suspense book for any age. I would have allowed my ten-year-old niece to read the book. It didn’t cover any of the harsh realities of the drug cartel and the story was very PG.

Lisa Harris rounds out her Southern Crimes series with an action-packed plot in her latest romantic suspense novel. Returning to the Hunt family, Harris dangles the hint of a great plot filled with realistic characters, a death defying escape, and a PG romance, set against the grisly background of the drug community.

I received a complimentary copy of Hidden Agenda from Revell Publishing and the above opinions are all my own.

Lisa HarrisHow to connect with Lisa Harris:

Amazon Author Page:


Where to purchase her books:
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Wherever books are sold

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