Megan Reviews Heart Stop by Radclyffe

After discussing (being teased about) my Radclyffe addiction with Cheri this weekend. I ended up recommending she read this one if she was going to dip her reading toes back in the Rad pool of fiction. I’ve read it at least *cough* times, and I think out of Rad’s later books, this is one of my favourites. After recommending it, I had no choice but to bow to my OCD and re-read the book myself.

Technically, this is part of the First Responder series which are usually stand-alones, but, in this one, a few old friends from the Justice series are part of the overall plot. Based on that – it’s probably best if you’ve read the Justice series so you know who they are; although, there’s likely enough background info that you can sort of figure stuff out but you may be wondering who these secondary characters are and why are they having hot sex in another couple’s romance book.

I go back and forth on whether the inclusion of the Justice characters/ongoing police drama was really needed in this book. I think I would have been quite happy – make that more happy – if they were not and there was a more fleshed out story with Jay and Olivia. The Justice story line intersects – providing crime scenes and bodies for the main characters (Medical Examiners) – and we get a number of chapters that give an update on Del, Sandy, Rebecca and Catherine (Sloan, Jason and Watts make brief cameos) and where they are with the never-ending task of putting Zamora away … and to confirm that yes, they still have really hot and heavy sex. Sometimes, I wonder if they had less sex, they may have been able to wrap up the Zamora case in book three or four … rather than chewing through six books in the series and a couple of barge-ins on other books in different series. I think the characters of Jay and Olivia could have stood alone without the inclusion of the other story line, but it would have had to been expanded – even if it only ended up as novella length. Even so, the Justice over-story gives the main characters some ready made secondary characters and set up for how and when the bodies start falling and if you’ve read the other series, you’ll be happy to see what’s going on with them. It doesn’t necessarily detract, but I do think the interludes with Sandy and Del take time away from the main characters that could have been used for further story and character build up.

Jay, a talented Trauma surgeon (dark and broody – just the way we like ’em), has recovered from a horrible accident which has resulted in her no longer being able to continue as a surgeon. Strings are pulled and she’s been given a fellowship in the pathology department where she will train as a medical examiner under Dr Olivia Price. Olivia, the beautiful and aloof (ice queen … ah, tropes how I love you) deputy medical examiner, reluctantly takes Jay into the training program and of course decides that she should work directly with Jay in order to evaluate her ability to transition from trauma to pathology. Immediately they are out to a crime scene, investigating and then back in the morgue for autopsies – all while fighting (not really all that hard) the burgeoning attraction. There’s baggage and second guessing to deal with – and a little bit of a crime spree that makes sure that Jay and Olivia are working round the clock.

I think what I liked most about this one was the different angle – they are still doctors, but are medical examiners rather than hot shot surgeons. Let me restate .. they are hot shot medical examiners. I found this to be an interesting twist and the details surrounding this type of role were woven into the story line and kept my interest. Full disclosure – I loved early Patricia Cornwell and the BBC show Silent Witness, so I may have a morbid fascination with Medical Examiners (omigod .. I also watched Quincy re-runs when I was a kid). As characters go, Jay and Olivia could have had more page time – see comments about the Justice over-story – but I think that they had enough originality to separate them from the standard Rad archetypes. Jay isn’t as cocky or as much of a player as some of Rad’s docs – she is coming to grips with the crash and burn of her dreams of being a trauma surgeon and adapting to the new role as a medical examiner. Olivia is an interesting character who has some baggage that isn’t fully explored – but she’s a self-assured and confident doctor in her own right.

Despite all my whining about the inclusion of the Justice series (which I also enjoyed), I did enjoy this book and recommend it.

You can download a sample or purchase Heart Stop by clicking here.

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