Threat of Darkness - Valerie Hansen
Released June 2012
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
After saving a toddler's life, Samantha Rochard never expects to find herself in danger. Her work as both a nurse and child advocate does put her in some intense situations, but someone wants Sam to give a package that the toddler's caregiver supposedly slipped her. Sam doesn't have the package, and she has no idea what her attacker is talking about.
Years earlier, John Waltham broke Sam's heart when she left. She soon discovers he's back and he's determined to work as lead detective on her case. He won't let anything happen to the woman he loved.
Per the cover blurb, the main aspect of the story involves a young boy that Sam is trying to protect from his abusive, "powerful" father. That is a sub-plot, it's not the main plot. As that's the storyline I was eager to read about, I was disappointed with how it seems thrown in at the last minute.
I'd love to say that Threat of Darkness swept me away, but it honestly didn't. At 200 pages, it's not a long book, but I'm fine with that. Usually, I can read a Harlequin in one sitting, but this one took me a few days. The plot seemed rushed, which rarely happens in a Harlequin.
I tried to pinpoint exactly what I didn't like, and I think it came down to both Sam and John not being believable for me. As a nurse and advocate for abused children, I expected her to have a good deal of common sense and intuition. Yet, she acts clueless when her attacker keeps demanding a "package" dealing with a case of a toddler who'd ingested drugs. All of this happens in the parking lot after the toddler is saved. I would have thought she would have immediately gone back inside to alert the police working that case, yet she doesn't.
She never tells John what the attacker demanded, she simply brushes it off as a failed purse snatching until a few days later, telling herself that needs to protect the druggie teen who was watching the toddler. When it's apparent someone's been at her home, John goes to her rescue, yet misses vital clues the "attacker" leaves behind. Again, Sam doesn't tell him what her attacker said at the hospital. When her car is ransacked, he offers to drive her home, yet neither of them think about grabbing her purse or keys from the ignition before leaving the scene. she finally tells him what happened at that point, and the investigation aspect finally begins, but even then it seemed like a half-hearted attempt.
All of this happens in just the first few chapters, and it made me lose confidence in either Sam or John really being as intelligent as you'd expect given their career choices. I really just didn't like them.
In the end, it was a struggle for me to finish Threat of Darkness. I know others have read and loved the book, but I simply couldn't get past Sam's lack of common sense, and John's lack of skills that I would expect a detective to have.