Review: Hot Secrets by Lisa Renee Jones

Hot Secrets (Tall, Dark & Deadly #1)Release Date: January 23, 2012
Book 1 of the Tall, Dark and Deadly Series


The Walker Brothers…
Tall, dark, and deadly, these three brothers run Walker security. Each brother is unique in his methods and skills, but all share key similarities. They are passionate about those they love, relentless when fighting for a cause they believe in, and all believe that no case is too hard, no danger too dark. Dedication is what they deliver, results are their reward.


Royce Walker, a former FBI Agent, who’s opened a private security firm with his brothers, has always had the hots for the prim, proper Assistant District Attorney, but considered her hand’s off because of a family connection. However, when danger threatens Lauren, he isn’t willing to stand by and watch her get hurt. Now the passion for survival is only rivaled by the passion burning between them. And that passion, might just be the death of them both.

2.5 - 3 stars

This was my first time to read something by Lisa Renee Jones. I had heard so many positive things about her Inside Out series. So, even though Hot Secrets isn't part of that series, I decided to give it a go. Needless to say, my expectations were high when I started to read the book.

Unfortunately it wasn't an awesome reading experience at all for me. I struggled to finish Hot Secrets. It actually took me a week to finish it. At the 40% mark I was already seriously considering DNFing, but just told myself what the heck... continue, if only to find out how it ends. So for the last half of the book, just when things are finally starting to pick up, I was no longer that invested in the characters or the story. :(

Hot Secrets started very slowly for me. The dialogue and the plot did not capture my attention, hence my snail-like reading pace. I think it's because of two things:
1. The plot was well-used already. Alpha hero in security is tasked to keep watch over a strong-willed, headstrong woman. He keeps it a secret from her so when she finds out, she feels betrayed and it thretens their relationship. Oh, and let's not forget that there's a bad guy plotting against our heroine.
2. The delivery of this plot was too simple, I'm sad to say it's almost boring. :(

In my opinion the story still would have worked really well if only it wasn't so predictable. Allow me to point out Corps Security series by Harper Sloan, for example. I am a huge fan of those books, I love them. I will also agree that they follow well-worn romantic formulas: damsels in distress, protective alpha heroes, damaged ex-military men, funny supporting characters. However, they are written in such a way that you can't really predict what's going to happen next. It's only after you've finished reading the book that you realize, hey yeah... I might have read something like it before. The sequencing of events, plus the interplay of plump backstories and emotional conflicts make them the perfect stories I love to sink my teeth into.

Back to Hot Secrets. I felt that the threat plot against Lauren wasn't very solid. The bad guys were revealed very late, but they were also gotten rid of too quickly. Readers are also teased with a possible involvement of her father in the threat, but that angle was dropped like a hot potato in the end and wasn't explained at all. It might be tackled into the next book, but I'm not encouraged to read it anymore.

I really thought there was an opportunity for the story to go into a more emotional direction, but I was disappointed that chance was passed over. [SPOILER] Laura is the legal representation for a man who was apparently poisoned by his wife, gradually, over a period of time. She is inciting public scorn because the wife is claiming abuse as the reason for her actions. As prosecuting attorney though, Laura is pushing for death penalty. Royce and everyone else believes the case is the reason why she's getting death threats. Exploring this angle would have been juicy! It has the potential to be exciting, suspenseful and emotional... sadly, the story proceeded with the more generic romantic narrative. We're not even told if the wife really was abused or simply a merciless killer.

I can still see myself liking other books by this author, though. Although I wasn't entirely satisfied with the way Hot Secrets was written, there were several scenes and dialogues that I did enjoy. But in it's entirety, the book just didn't fare so well with me. 


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists. 

**My thanks to the publisher for granting me a review copy through NetGalley.



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