Normally I really enjoy romantic suspense. I love how the sub-genre combines my prior favorite genre (mystery…I was a big John Grisham fan before law school) and my new favorite, romance. I love the thrill factor and the love story all in one book. One Wrong Move by Shannon McKenna has both these elements but sadly, was a partial DNF for me. I really enjoyed the characters but the plot moved too slow overall to keep my interest.
Alex Aaro just wants to keep his head down and earn a living. But now his crazy Aunt Tonya is dying. She’s the sole family member he gives a damn about, enough to blow decades of hiding out from his Ukrainian mafia clan in order to say goodbye. Just as Alex lands in New York, his friend Bruno calls for a favour. He wants Alex to take a detour to a women’s shelter in Brooklyn to help out his wife’s friend Nina Moro. Social worker Nina is baffled by the sudden appearance and bizarre behaviour of her own aunt, and afraid she’ll get herself killed if she makes a wrong move. But when the woman’s attackers turn on Nina, only Alex’s lean muscle and seething bad attitude stands between her and an ugly death. Now, holding the clues to a deadly secret, Alex and Nina must race against time and face their deepest fears to unveil it before it destroys them…
Many of you are probably wondering why I say I “partially” DNF’d One Wrong Move. Well, as I said, I love the thrill part of romantic suspense. Usually this thrill aspect keeps a story’s pace quick and interesting. With One Wrong Move the thrill factor really didn’t capture and keep my attention. However, I was quite invested in our hero, Aaro, and our heroine, Nina. I quite enjoyed their banter and watching their interactions.
When they first meet, neither can stand the other, for Aaro there was instant physical attraction, but since he was very reluctantly helping, he was purposefully making sure to be an arse. The more time they spent together, bantering back and forth and sniping and picking at each other, the attraction and feelings grow. That part kept my attention as best it could, but it wasn’t enough. About 1/2 in I was done trying to struggle through the thrill part of the plot. So rather than continue to struggle with watching Aaro and Nina run and run from the bad guys (which of course is expected because that is a pretty typical part of a RS novel), I skipped ahead to the ending. I knew who the bad guys were and who was chasing them. It was never really hidden. From nearly the beginning you know who the players are.
I guess that is why I got bored. There was no mystery to who the villain was or the why behind it all. Having these aspects be a mystery and trying to figure them out as the book progresses is a major appeal for me. One Wrong Move didn’t have it. Although, I had to know how things with Aaro and Nina turned out. Was one seriously injured, did they marry etc? I wanted to know. Thus, I do know how One Wrong Move ends but I did not read 100% of it, really probably only about 55%, hence why I say I only partially DNF’d it.
One Wrong Move is apparently book 10 in a loosely connected series. I say loosely because while there are references to past plot points and couples from prior books, One Wrong Move does work fairly well as a standalone. — MINOR SPOILER– The major aspect that connects the series, or at least a few of the books, is the idea that some people may have some psychic abilities (each person may have a different ability such as telepathy or empathy etc) that can be tapped into/enhanced with a drug. So, you can guess the motives of the villain(s) have something to do with this drug. Since I have not read the prior books, I cannot say for sure that this is a theme that weaves throughout each book or just the last couple. I like the idea. I just think McKenna could have pulled off One Wrong Move better had she kept who the villains were a secret and made me guess who was behind it all, but that wasn’t really done (or at least done well).
Overall I thought One Wrong Move was easy, a bit too easy, to follow. The writing isn’t bad but pacing could have been better, which could have been done by putting some more “thrill” into the plot. The hero/heroine were very well written and were easy to connect with. If you’re new to RS or don’t mind knowing from the outset the who/why regarding the antagonist(s), then you should really enjoy One Wrong Move, unfortunately it just wasn’t one that could keep my attention.
Read Order for the McCloud Brothers
Behind Closed Doors
Standing in the Shadows
Out of Control
Edge of Midnight
Fade To Midnight
Blood and Fire
One Wrong Move