Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hard Evidence was an excellent book. It quenched my thirst for good romantic suspense, that's not just about a hot hero and a cute, likable heroine scratching an itch while dodging bullets, and ultimately falling in love. No, there's nothing wrong with that. But it's great to read something that goes deeper and touches on issues that are real and meaningful in the world today while I get my high octane romance fix.
Julian is a man who has spent most of his life in the dark. He started out with a less than ideal childhood, a truly heartbreaking childhood, and channeled that into undercover law enforcement. He's seen only the worst of people. And while he believes that this has barred him from the possibility of a good, normal life and a good woman, undeserving of both, he is a very good man. He has put his life, soul and sanity on the line everyday to help the helpless. That made me love him. He's a gorgeous, sexy man in every way, but it was his heart that touched me the deepest.
Tessa is a crusader in a different way. She works as an investigative journalist to use the print media to bring positive change. Some of the risks she takes makes my hair stand on end. (And knowing that the writer, Ms. Clare taps from her own experiences in journalism makes it even more harrowing). Sometimes I wanted to ask her if she was crazy. But I also understand her need to help others, to use what God gave her to effect change in a world where too many people either don't know, don't care, or look the other way.
These two together make sense in a beautiful way. It was a pleasure to read their emotional, highly sensual, and meaningful love story. I started out reading this slowly (around my other review read), just taking it all in, enjoying the leisurely visit with Tessa and Julian, and soon I couldn't put the book down because I was so compelled to see what happened next.
Hard Evidence does hits hard with the realism of this world in which underage/teenage girls are abused, brutalized, and treated as objects and commodities. It makes me upset and angry to know that this is really happening, and it made me cheer for Julian (who is so well named, for he is a Dark Angel), and Tessa, who is an angel of justice from a whole different direction to do what they could to help those girls. Sometimes it seems as though the good guys don't win nearly enough, and it's too easy to give up the fight. But reading about heroes in these books like Tessa and Julian, that they represent the many unsung heroes, and knowing that there are those in real life who sacrifice and strive to make this world a better place is hugely encouraging. Some dark subject matter, but ultimately hopeful. A beautiful love story in which the light of love shines into places where most angels fear to tread, but not these in this book. Highly recommended!
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