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Fatal Exposure by Gail Barrett
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Fatal Exposure

by Gail Barrett

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This story starts off with an effective hook that immediately pulled me into the story. Detective Parker McCall gets a major lead on who may have murdered his younger brother, Tommy, fifteen years ago. When a photo of the famed but reclusive photojournalist Brynn Elliot appears in the newspaper, Parker recognizes her from years ago as a runaway teen seen with Tommy. He suspects Brynn may be the one who murdered Tommy or at the very least can provide answers about his death.

Parker is a dedicated, loyal officer who takes his job seriously. He has worked hard to move up in the ranks, despite the suspicions of other officers that Parker may be just like his father, also an officer, who was found to be corrupt on the job. Although Parker is a stickler for going by the books and following the chain of command, he doesn’t want to risk that this new lead will not be pursued to the fullest extent. Therefore, he decides to find and question Brynn by himself. This first decision to break the rules of police procedure will soon lead to more decisions on how far Parker will go in his quest for justice.

Brynn has been on her own since she was a young girl, running from a gruesome past and carrying deadly secrets. She grew up surviving on the streets with her two friends Haley and Nadine, also on the run for different reasons. Now that Brynn’s identity has been exposed, she must flee again. Before she can escape, however, Parker finds and confronts her about her relationship with his brother. Brynn soon realizes Parker will not let her continue running and hiding until his brother’s murderer is brought to justice: “Everything about Parker McCall reeked of danger-from the jut of his steel-hard jaw to those penetrating black eyes that scrutinized every move. He was too smart. Too determined. And there wasn’t a chance he’d leave her alone. “

Although Brynn is distrustful of others, especially the police, she and Parker form an initially shaky alliance that leads them to investigate a secretive plot of murder, perversion, and corruption that goes farther up in the chain of command than anyone ever expected. Parker and Brynn work together in this intriguing mystery revealing random clues that they must struggle to put together while on the run from those who want them dead. I appreciated how the author frequently reiterates the connections Parker and Brynn make as well as addressing the looming questions that still need to be answered. These tactics helped me to avoid getting lost or overwhelmed by the numerous complications and conflicts that occur in this fast-paced suspense.

The romance between Brynn and Parker develops gradually and realistically as both get to know each other, and the foundation for their love is based on mutual admiration and respect. Each understands the loneliness and pain that the other endures. Although this couple’s observations and thoughts reveal their attraction for one another, I wished for more sizzling sparks to really show that ongoing passion between them.

The protagonists, Parker and Brynn, are dynamic, well-rounded characters who gained my respect through their solid belief in doing what is right regardless of the sacrifices that must be made. Even though both characters have experienced heart-breaking betrayal and disillusionment in the past, each has emerged as a survivor, stronger than one might expect given their traumatic experiences. In addition, to the external dangers surrounding them, I enjoyed watching these two characters grow over the course of the story as they are forced to deal with and resolve their internal conflicts.

This is a well written romantic suspense that answers many questions behind the mystery but also left me wondering about further aspects of the deeply embedded corruption that will lead into the second book in the Buried Secrets trilogy. The second and third books will focus on Haley’s and Nadine’s stories, respectively. ( )
  Sunmtn | Jun 20, 2013 |
Great read with several strong females. Loved the plot and plot twists. ( )
  krystalsbooks | Jun 18, 2013 |
This was a fantastic book from the very beginning. Brynn is a photojournalist who zealously guards her privacy. When she was a teen runaway she witnessed a murder that put her on a hit list. With her two friends they have stayed out of the public eye to protect themselves and each other. When a reporter takes her picture and publishes it she is put back into danger. Parker recognizes her from a picture of her with his brother who had also been a runaway and drug addict and was murdered fifteen years ago. He considers Brynn to be a suspect and goes to see her for answers. But those answers only lead to more questions.

Brynn is an amazingly strong character. She had run away from home as a teen to get away from her stepfather who was sexually abusing her. She had tried reporting him, talking to counselors and other things but no one would believe her because he was a respected citizen. While living on the streets she had made friends with two other girls and Parker's brother. Tommy had done his best to protect them and they took care of him. When Brynn witnessed a murder Tommy had gotten between the murderer and Brynn and died to save her. Now she is back in the crosshairs with the murderer wanting her dead and her stepfather wanting to get his hands on her too. He has a lot more to protect now and his ways haven't changed. When Brynn is confronted by Parker she realizes that she is going to need help to save herself and bring her stepfather down. She is very wary about trusting him, since he is a cop and her experience with cops has been very bad. She is also attracted to him and that worries her even more. I loved the way that she had taken her experience as a runaway and turned it into a talent for photographing the world of Baltimore's streets. She also uses her knowledge to help as many runaways as she can. She had a hard time trusting Parker at first but he soon showed that he was as determined to find the truth as she was. She was also determined to do whatever she had to in order to stop her stepfather from harming anyone else. Her experiences on the street gave her a different viewpoint than Parker's and between the two of them they were able to get the information they needed.

Parker had been searching for his brother's killer for years. After their father's suicide Tommy had gotten into drugs and had run away. Parker had tried to help him and had felt guilty that he hadn't succeeded. When he found Brynn he thought at first that she was the killer. He soon realized that she wasn't but that she had information that could help find him. He also had the problem that her stepfather was his boss and had charged him with bringing Brynn in. His problem was that what her stepfather told him and what Brynn told him were very different and he didn't know who to believe. He was also attracted to Brynn which was messing with his objectivity. The more time he spent with Brynn the more he believed her but he still didn't want to believe that his boss was like that. Parker was deeply conflicted but the evidence was building up quickly. He also had the problem of trying to tell Brynn who his boss was without her feeling betrayed and losing her trust. I really enjoyed seeing Parker's suspicion turn to belief and then into respect for everything she had overcome.

Both Parker and Brynn had trust issues that they had to deal with in order to come to their happy ending. That trust was essential for them to be able to work together to solve the mystery of who killed Tommy and also to stop Brynn's stepfather. The action, both physical and mental, in the book was nonstop. The ending was intense with a very interesting twist. There is also a bit of the mystery left unsolved which leads into the next book. ( )
  scoutmomskf | May 15, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373278276, Mass Market Paperback)

Silence is her only protection

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist B. K. ("Brynn") Elliot chronicles Baltimore's grittier side with her lens—a talent cultivated from her years as a teenage runaway. A reclusive figure, Brynn lives under everyone's radar…until a photo from her past plunges her into the crosshairs of powerful enemies.

Detective Parker McCall has devoted fifteen years to trying to solve his brother's murder, and with the release of a photo implicating Brynn as a potential suspect, he feels close to finding justice. Determined to get answers, Parker must ignore the inexplicable attraction he feels for the haunted beauty in the photo. And Brynn must decide if Parker will protect her or betray her in his hunt for a killer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist B. K. ("Brynn") Elliot chronicles Baltimore's grittier side with her lens, a talent cultivated from her years as a teenage runaway. A reclusive figure, Brynn lives under everyone's randar, until a photo from her past plunges her into the crosshairs of powerful enemies. Detective Parker McCall has devoted fifteen years to trying to solve his brother's murder, and with the release of a photo implicating Brynn as a potential suspect, he feels close to finding justice. Determined to get answers, Parker must ignore the inexplicable attraction he feels for the haunted beauty in the photo. And Brynn must decide if Parker will protect her or betray her in his hunt for a killer.… (more)

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