Book #19 of 2016: Fatal Secrets by Allison Brennan

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When a top lieutenant in a notorious ring of human traffickers agrees to turn state’s evidence, Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior agent Sonia Knight believes she’ll finally take down the illegal operation’s devilish mastermind, Xavier Jones. But when an FBI sting on Jones’s criminal enterprise collides with an ICE stakeout, Sonia is enraged: Her informant’s life and her evidence are in grave jeopardy.

FBI agent Dean Hooper has been chasing Jones for years on money-laundering and tax-evasion charges and doesn’t need or want a hot-headed ICE agent second-guessing his every move. When the Bureau is ordered to join forces with ICE, Sonia is just as livid: Her job is to save lives, not money. But their team effort pays off as fierce mutual resentment fades and passion flares–along with risk.

For Jones is just one piece of a depraved puzzle, answering to an even more dangerous predator. Denied his expected prey, this pitiless fiend intends to make Sonia and Dean pay with their own blood.

Fatal Secrets is the second book in the FBI trilogy by Allison Brennan and the second book of hers I’ve read. Well, listened to because I have the audiobook.

The narrator in Fatal Secrets is the same narrator in Sudden Death. I like the narrator’s voice and how she portrays the characters enough that I’m glad to hear her again. It kept with the idea that these books are supposed to be in the same universe and series. The storyline in Fatal Secrets deals with human trafficking. It is only connected to the first book with same minor characters and settings. The stories are completely different and you don’t need to read the first to understand the second.

I actually liked this one better than the first. The main bad guy was disturbing like the psychopathic woman in Sudden Death, but he seemed less obsessive and more intelligent. I say intelligent because everything he did is motivated in business. He doesn’t see people as people, but commodities. His actions aren’t filled with personal vendettas until close to the end.

There is some romance and it was more believeable in this book than the first. The main characters meet each other early on and you can see quickly that they make a good match. Sonia is a passionate woman who was a victim to trafficking, but used that trauma into a strength in helping other people in same situations. She may sound matter of fact to a person outside of her personal space, but it’s her way to file away the emotions of her past trauma. Dean Hooper is a man who loves number crunching and getting the bad guy. He appreciates Sonia’s passionate personality and matches it with his own passion of numbers. Like Sonia, I never thought a glorified federal accountant (think modern day Eliot Ness) would be hot, but Dean is definitely a guy I’d fall for.

All in all, the book was more of a thriller for me, but I did like it a lot. The romance was secondary to the dark underworld of human slavery. I felt for the victims and feel for the victims of today. It’s astounding how these are things that people do today. It’s sickening and I feel worse than being murdered. I’m wondering what the third book is going to be like.

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