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Hard Evidence    by Pamela Claire order for
Hard Evidence
by Pamela Claire
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Investigative journalist Tessa Novak comes to the Midwest in hopes of revitalizing her career and conducting real journalism rather than the fluff pieces she's generally assigned. That chance comes sooner than expected when a teenage girl is gunned down right beside Tessa while she's buying coffee at a convenience store. Once the shock wears off, Tessa realizes she's witnessed a cold-blooded hit and is determined to find justice for dead girl. Tessa's editor eventually agrees to let her write a front-page article as told through her own first hand experience as a witness.

Like most cops, Julian Darkangelo has no love for the press. He believes members of the media are only in it for the glory and to hell with who they might harm or take down with their investigative journalism. He figures Tessa Novak is no different, but when he delves deeper into her background, and sees her dogged determination to bring down those responsible for the young Hispanic girl's death, he grudgingly admits that he may have been wrong about her. Her refusal to back down on discovering the truth soon gains the attention of Alexander Burien, the Russian mobster that Julian's been trying to bring down for the past five years.

Realizing that Tessa would never quit and that she's now become a target herself, he whisks her into protective custody, trusting no one but himself to ensure her safety. As long as she's under his watchful eye and following his strict rules, Julian believes that Burien will never find her. But once they're flung together in the close quarters of Julian's state of the art safe house, both realise that their burning attraction could well be more dangerous than the racketeer intent on silencing them both.

Not only does Pamela Clare take a disturbing look into the all too real world of human trafficking and forced prostitution, but she adds extra depth with two equally intense leads whose sizzling attraction sparks every page. Julian is a hard, driven, mistrustful man who's been undercover so long that he trusts no one - until Tessa. And while she leaps into dangerous situations before thinking them through, Tessa learns and grows through her mistakes without Julian always needing to come to her rescue. If you're in the mood for hot romance coupled with chills, thrills and plenty of page-turning action, then Hard Evidence is not to be missed.

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