Is The Villain Scary Enough?

When I sit down to read a romantic suspense I have certain criteria that I look for but none more so then a fantastic villain who makes me cringe in fear and look over my shoulder in my own house. I like to be scared. I like the villain to be vivid, in my face and stone cold scary. There is nothing better to be said for an author then to make me feel the fear they are instilling in their characters. Once I can feel it, they’ve won me over. Sometimes an author falls short and it feels very surface. I can read the characters emotions but they evoke none of my own. Those are the suspenses that never quite get me on board. I may enjoy aspects but the villain doesn’t do it for me. Usually those other aspects involves nakedness and alpha-holes and dirty dirty smex. 🙂 Just keeping it real.

Another great aspect of romantic suspense is the opportunity to get in the villains head and read from his or her point of view. If an author chooses to go this route they have to go all in. I need to understand the motivation (however whack-a-doodle it may be) behind their craziness. I want to know how they are justifying themselves. I need to know their past. But above all….I need to be creeped the hell out by their gruesome thoughts. Some authors can’t pull this off. Their villain comes off as crazy but under developed. I need to know the whys and the hows.

Lastly is the buildup and climax…Not THAT climax (you dirty readers, I know what you were thinking)…but depending on the book it can be just as good. As the book progresses there HAS to be clear threat to the main characters. Whether it starts with a bang or gradually builds depends on the author but things need to constantly be happening for this reader to stay engaged. Often what happens is the author builds the threat with impressive skill and then the climax hits and it fizzles. It’s over all too soon, it needs a suspense Viagra, and everything gets tied up with pretty bows. The ending has to be something that completely enthralls me and keeps me rooted to my seat unable to close the book. It needs to be gritty, bloody and raw. I WANT THE CHARACTERS TO SUFFER. I’m horribly mean that way. But don’t give me crazy throughout the book and then just have the villain pussy out in the end. GIVE IT TO ME!

Two books that I’ve read lately embodied everything I like about the romantic suspense genre….

Fear For Me by Cynthia EdenAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Publisher: Montlake

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

She’s the obsession two men share: one wants her love, the other wants her life.

A shared passion for justice first brought Baton Rouge district attorney Lauren Chandler and US marshal Anthony Ross together—when each played their part in bringing down the infamous Bayou Butcher. The sparks flying between the two made it clear they weren’t just a legal dream team. Then desire had to make way for duty, and what they had was done. But it would never be over.

Five years later, it’s none other than the Butcher who gets things started again, when his shocking jailbreak reunites the lawyer and the lawman…and reignites their love. But this time, the pair is in danger of being permanently parted—by a killer with revenge on his mind, and Lauren on the top of his list. As a new wave of terror sweeps through the streets and swamps of Baton Rouge, one man will pit his boundless passion against another’s relentless hate, for the life of the woman who obsesses them both.

As with every other Cynthia Eden book I’ve ever picked up, this book was incredibly well done and gave me everything I wanted. Eden always excels at making her villains scary and ruthless to the point that I wonder where she comes up with them. Fear For Me is the first book in her new Bayou Butcher series and it definitely gave me reason to come back for more in the future.

I enjoyed how Fear For Me is hard hitting right from the get go. The book opens with blood and it closes with it. The characters are constantly in the cross-hairs but none more so than Lauren, the district attorney that put the butcher away in the first place. This gives the hero, US Marshal hottie mchotterson Anthony, ample opportunity to watch her back and realize his true feelings for the woman “who got away”.  Being a Marshal also afforded him the right amount of alpha-ness that both turned me on and wanted me to smack him upside his thick skull.

Eden does a great job of always throwing me off the trail in the who done it parts of the book. I’m always second guessing who the mastermind is and I rarely see anything coming. This was especially the case in Fear For Me as we were dealing with a tag teaming serial killing duo. That was something I had never read before and so we were getting insight from multiple people. It worked really well and Eden had me shuddering several times as Lauren fought for her life and we learned more about this sadistic working couple.

Bottom line….this is an awesome romantic suspense. I loved it…seriously, go right now!

I give Fear For Me by Cynthia Eden 4.50 stars!


Sweet Revenge by Rebecca ZanettiAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

The One Man She Can’t Have

Matt Dean was born to fight…and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he’s gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho…and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.

The One Woman He Can’t Resist

Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She’s spent years running from her own past—the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt’s strong arms offer her protection, and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she’s ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt’s past and putting everything—and everyone—he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?

Sweet Revenge is book two in Zanetti’s Sins Brothers sins about genetically bred super soldiers who have finally broken out of the training facility they were raised in. Now, being chased by the man who had them created, each brother has to fight for his freedom and eventually for the love of that one special woman…who is usually hiding something.

I have really been enjoying this series, though it should come as no surprise since I am a rabid fan of her paranormal series…but sometimes black ops military romance doesn’t work for me. Sometimes the military aspect overshadows the romance part and things start to unravel for me. I don’t enjoy something that takes over the romance parts because if I wanted a military book without the romance I’d go find one. There have been several authors I’ve stopped reading because of this. However, Zanetti gives readers a good mixture and the man are generally TO DIE FOR…literally sometimes lol.

Book two introduced readers to Matt, who has been looking for the one doctor who may be able to take a self destruct chip implanted in him and his brothers and set to detonate soon. He managed to track her to a sleepy town but has been unable to identify which female he thinks can help. He finds himself working at a local bar and his new boss, Laney, evokes feelings he’s not prepared to acknowledge. I enjoyed his tumultuous inner monologue as he tried to convince himself to stay away from her and failing miserably.

I enjoy the family interactions and camaraderie with his siblings. They are very close and since Matt was the oldest he’s looked upon as a father of sorts. He holds himself accountable for the seemingly death of their youngest brother…though I suspect he’s very much NOT dead and will be book four. This gave him a scarred, tortured personality that set my panties on fire….

Since this post is mostly about villains I should bring up the fact that while I LOVED this book, I’m not overly in love with the villain yet, the leader of the secret military group who created the boys. He may just be evolving as the series goes on but right now he’s very shadowy and relies on others to do his dirty work while he stays cloaked in darkness and intrigue. Hopefully as the books progress we’ll get more from him directly. Don’t get me wrong, he’s scary in a freakily smart, can kill you a million different ways kind of way…but I think Zanetti will push him further as the series progresses.

I give Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti 4 stars!

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