Bites
September 6, 2014

20579294Pub Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream?an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he’s sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard’s gone missing there.

Maureen “Mo” Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She’s actually the one to find Richard?or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.

Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait?the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that’s as intense as it is unexpected; if they live long enough to enjoy it!  (goodreads.com)

I requested this title from NetGalley while I was still reading the last book in the Krewe of Hunters series because Sleepy Hollow is a neat little place and  I really enjoyed THE HEXED.  If this book was anything like that one then I’d probably enjoy it too.  It’s a fair enough assumption, I think.

Except THE BETRAYED didn’t really live up to the last book’s standards, in my opinion.  While Graham’s pretty much mastered setting and Sleepy Hollow and the surrounding area were their own characters within the story, they were so vivid, I felt the interactions of the protagonists was gawky and awkward and the dialogue just subpar.  The over use of the exclamation point was extremely distracting and a lot of the time unnecessary.  The actions in THE BETRAYED were far more about moving from Point A to Point B without developing a whole lot of ambiance or really allowing the characters to grow at all.

Mo was a stagnant character throughout the story and while she served a major purpose in finding bodies and people as the plot unfolded she was rather wooden.  Not unlikeable but she didn’t offer up anything that I would like either so let’s just say I’m ambivalent about her.  Not the greatest place to be.  As for Aiden he seemed to be a copy of Rocky from THE HEXED, right down to needing to see Mo to the door, protecting her, the sex, making breakfast in her house, pretty much everything except the pertinent backstory.  Although Aiden did have his connections to the area, just like Rocky did so there was that.  The relationship between Mo and Aiden developed in much the same way as Rocky’s and Devin’s did so there was little excitement there for me.  To add to that Aiden was a dick to Mo in the beginning for no good reason except to keep his distance from her for emo reasons.  That didn’t make much sense.

I’ve noticed that Graham, from the two books I’ve read, has a bad habit of introducing a condom into a sex scene, neither of the characters actually having one, the female saying she’s on birth control, it makes things all better, and the sex commences.  I overlooked it in THE HEXED but now that it’s cropped up again in THE BETRAYED I can’t ignore it.  Please.  If you insist on bringing a condom and various other methods of birth control into a fictional sex scene don’t stop at it just preventing pregnancy (the condom).  These two people were strangers.  You have them fumbling for a condom that doesn’t actually exist and I guess in this world birth control not only stops babies but stops STDs too.  Yeah, no.  Stop it.  Either remove the reference altogether, have them stop sex because they have no idea where each other has been (for the sake of realism, since we’re talking condoms), or have one be available.  Don’t, well, half-cock it.

I found myself very distracted while reading this one and I didn’t feel as invested in the story as I did the last.  Aside from the setting, the stark formulaic similarities between characters and plots of the two books it was kind of hard to get invested in the same rehashed story under the guise of an entirely new book.  To be honest it makes me a little weary to dive into the rest of this series if these last two books are any indication of the repetition I’m going to encounter.  I’d like more of the Krewe as a whole, their beginnings and how the constant characters were put together.  This being book number fourteen I doubt I’m going to get any of that going forward.  Still, I’m going to go back.  Graham loves her settings and she does an incredible amount of research to make them come alive.  I lived in Connecticut for 29 years and I never once went to Sleepy Hollow (or Salem, for that matter) and she’s gotten me to put those places on my list for when I make it back there.  Because I have to.  Because I’m missing that quintessential New England feel and what better places to get it?

I still want to read this series.  I do.  But I won’t lie.  My buzz has been killed a little at the copy THE BETRAYED was of THE HEXED in terms of plot and characters.  The fact that I’m picking up a formula off of two books doesn’t bode well but I won’t give up yet.  I like what I read here enough to keep at it.

2 1/2

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