Title: Extreme Exposure
Series: Chasing Justice #1
Author: Alex Kingwell
Format: Paperback & eBook, 256pgs
Published: Feb. 2, 2016 by Forever Yours
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
NOWHERE TO RUN
Emily Blackstock is running for her life. She thought she'd escaped the men who murdered her cousin, but one terrifying night proves they mean to kill her, too. Trusting a rugged stranger to lead her to safety is risky, but Emily has no other choice...
EVERYTHING TO HIDE
A former Marine, Matt Herrington has seen his share of active duty and knows what it takes to survive a ruthless killer. Protecting Emily is second nature, but as they trek through the wilderness together she stirs something within him that he's never felt before. Now the only thing more dangerous than keeping her alive is falling in love with her . . .
Matt is out taking pictures in the twilight hour when he sees a woman running for her life from a couple gun toting men. Not wanting to endanger another life, Emily tries to resist the help Matt offers her but having no other options, they become a pair on the run. From surviving in the woods to surviving Emily's family in her hometown, Matt and Emily search for clues as to who is hunting her and if her cousin's suicide was anything but what the cops said it was.
Extreme Exposure started off with a bang, our heroine Emily was immediately on the run for her life in a pulse pounding scene that included a run through the woods, a jump off a cliff, being pulled out of the water by our hero, and crawling through a claustrophobia inducing cave tunnel. It had me on the edge of my seat as I followed along, scared and in the dark, like the heroine, as to why these men were chasing her. It was when the story started to settle in and explain why the heroine was running and who the men were, that the story slowed down and became vague and a bit head scratching.
The suspense aspect originates from Emily's cousin overdosing, which Emily doesn't believe and thinks her asking questions and pressuring the police to reopen the case have started the men chasing her. When Emily and Matt show up at her hometown, there are a couple redherrings thrown around to keep the reader guessing as to whom the villain is but all the characters' personalities and motivations were at turns vague and confusing; too many offshoot storylines thrown in that wound up having no rhyme or reason. When the villain was finally revealed it was more confusing than shock, so many aspects about the cousin's death and how it related to Emily being in danger didn't make sense, the links were very weak.
Our hero Matt was a good character whose motivation for helping Emily long term sprung from a very fast, "I like her" that I never felt too deeply. There wasn't much solid background for Matt beyond him reciting a quick family and job biography for Emily. Emily, unfortunately, fell into bratty territory. She unnecessarily gets her back up at Matt helping her at times; I think was the author trying to convey Emily as a strong woman but instead had her winding up petulant as her objections and anger made no sense in the situations. Emily feels the hero is being bossy when he gives her a knife for protection and gets very angry with him when in his search for her he wounds up getting him kidnapped with her; essentially she's angry he began searching for her when she didn't answer her phone for hours during a time where gun totting men have been chasing her. They pretty much fall into "like" immediately, I'm not sure I ever felt their spark. This could be due to this being a clean read as the closest bedroom scene we get is them laying down in the bed and then Emily waking up the next morning feeling blissfully sore. This is enough for individuals who like the bedroom door shut but I like at least a peek in.
This was a new author to me and their writing style may just not be a match with me. There was a couple times that the addition of pointless details, which wound up having no connection to the story, (Ex. A man jogged out of the park and up the sidewalk. A golden retriever ran beside him, a lime green rubber toy, maybe an alligator, between its teeth.) misdirected my attention and clogged the story for me but others may like that style.