Hannon presents a suspense-filled, nail-biting tale in Fatal Judgment. When her sister is murdered due to a case of mistaken identity, U.S. Federal Judge Elizabeth Michaels finds herself under 24/7 protection with the U.S. Marshals elite Special Operations Group headed by her late husband's best friend, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor. Jake, however, holds nothing but disdain and contempt for Elizabeth based on the picture his former friend painted of his wife as a cold hearted, workaholic who would stop at nothing to advance her career. As the story unfolds and Jake and Elizabeth are forced to spend time together, Jake realizes that his friend's interpretation of Elizabeth was severly skewed which not only changes Jake's opinion of the lady, but also begins opening his heart to the attraction he feels for her. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by an overzealous patriot wanting to complete his original mission using her as an example "for the cause", Jake and his team race against time hoping to rescue her before her kidnapper- and sister's murderer- has a chance to complete the job he originally set out to do.
The suspense this novel summoned was, by far, some of the best "nail-biting-gasping-for-breath" action I've had the pleasure of reading lately! The villain was identified very early in the story, and Hannon did a superb job incorporating details about the overzealous patriot and his belief system making the character very real. As a matter of fact, it was a little disturbing to think that there probably are citizens within our country that mirror this character's belief system. After Elizabeth's kidnapping, the tension, angst, fear, and turmoil Jake experienced leading his team in the search to find and rescue her before it was too late created a true sense of urgency for the reader.
I have to admit I was disappointed, however, that the book did not have a more centralized Christian theme. Yes, there are a couple of conversations about faith, but the story was only peppered with a few Christian references almost to the point that I wouldn't classify it as "Christian fiction". I wasn't even certain that Jake was a believer because there just wasn't enough evidence that he had a personal relationship with Jesus or that he even wanted one outside of attending church with his sister- in my opinion- to please Liz more than seeking Jesus. Because the novel was lacking in this critical area for the "Christian fiction" genre, I have given it a lower score.
This review contains my own thoughts and opinions. I have not been compensated for this review in any way.
Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine adn the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspence. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. To learn more about Irene Hannon, visit her website at www.irenehannon.com.