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Relentless by Nancy J. Alexander

Relentless (Elisabeth Reinhardt) (Volume 1) - Nancy J Alexander

Gina Reynolds is a successful doctor specializing in babies suffering from chronic illness or deformities. She has a cat, good friends, an exercise routine, and a deep, traumatic history. Even as she begins to unfold these long-suppressed memories, her childhood tormentor Jake continues to hunt for her. Dr. Elisabeth Reinhardt, Gina’s psychologist, is determined to help her, even if it is by unconventional means.

There were several things I liked about this book. First, Gina has a full, functional life, even as she deals with these traumatic memories. She has to find a way to fit them into her life even as she continues on with her life. I liked that she did several things that are healthy ways of dealing with such memories. She sees a professional, talks with trusted friends, and takes self-defense lessons (which are more than simply learning how to punch someone, such as including smart places to park, staying in crowds, etc.).

The book switches points of view often, which I liked. I was especially intrigued by Elisabeth. She starts off with a simple role of being Gina’s psychologist but as the story unfolds, we learn that Elisabeth has an interesting past and also is part of something bigger. I don’t want to give too much away, but I was pleased how her story arc grew throughout this tale.

There were lots and lots of info dumps in this book. I do wish it was edited a bit better. The info dumps were sometimes interesting but often I was left wondering if all of the info would play into the plot. While these added to the depth of characters, it was also a tedious way to impart that info to the reader.

Jake and his little gang worked well as our bad guys. When Jake was a kid, he was a handful and rather dangerous to smaller kids. Hence, he had been booted from home to home. As a teen, he had Reggie to torment, but eventually she escaped from him, disappearing. As an adult, Jake obsesses over her, the one that got away. He never gives up hunting for her, always asking after her with her family, checking her old haunts. As the body count builds, the FBI and local law enforcement pull at every little string they come across.

There is a cat and mouse game that starts early in the book and continues throughout the story. I got the cat and mouse part for young Reggie (AKA Gina) as she hides from her tormenters. I also got the cat and mouse game for much later in the story when it’s clear that Jake has a lead on Reggie. However, there was this long patch in the story where Gina’s certainty that Jake was still hunting her seemed unwarranted. For instance, she hasn’t had any indication for years that he’s even still interested in her in any way. Gina has this very elaborate way of communicating with a childhood mentor of sorts but she has severed all ties otherwise with her childhood self. Jake and crew are not masterminds, so I felt this near-espionage communication was a bit overdone. With that said, the second half of the book really shows the cat and mouse game to full effect and that’s when I became glad that Gina had done her best to be ready for Jake.

Sometimes things are repeated more than once, and once again, I think this book could have used one last round of editing to polish it. There’s a great story in here, full of suspense and drama, but those elements are diluted by the info dumps and the repetition. Still, I was impressed with the depth of character analysis we have here, showing the deeper motivations behind each of the main characters. While the ending does get a little off target, it eventually pulls back together and I found the over all end satisfying.

I received a free copy of this book from the author via iRead Book Tours.

Narration: Nancy J. Alexander narrated her own book. She was OK. She does have a limited range of characters, and this book did have a larger character list than the range of her character voices. However, all the main characters were distinct and she did use regional accents to carry off even more characters. Unfortunately, her voice for her main bad guy, Jake, often sounds cartoonish and this made it a little hard to see him as a true threat. There were a few spots that had minor mouth noises (she sounded like she needed a water break), but over all the production was pretty good.