Actual Stop by Kara A McLeodActual Stop by Kara A McLeod is a romantic thriller featuring two Special Agents with a history.

Special Agent Ryan O’Connor seems to have life pretty well sorted. She loves her job, and her girlfriend, well… love is a strong word, but she is getting there. Her work relationships are a little difficult, but if that’s the worst part of her life, things are pretty good.

That is, until Special Agent Allison Reynolds hits town. Allison is Ryan’s ex-girlfriend… the one that Ryan never truly got over, and from whom distance is the best policy. So when they are thrown together on a case, Ryan knows she is headed for trouble in every way possible. Can she keep her past where it belongs? Or will everything come crashing down around her feet?

The Characters

Ryan is typical of characters in her field. Fiery, determined, stubborn… think Jane Rizzoli meets Olivia Benson. Despite that, she is such a likeable character. I felt sorry for her as she dealt with all the emotional turmoil that seeing her ex brought about, and the vulnerability of being in a relationship after having her heart broken. As I got to know her better, Ryan opened up, and by the end of the story I wanted to be her best friend and hang out with her. Plus any woman with a name like Ryan is a whole lotta sexy in my opinion!

Allison is set out initially to be the bad girl. The one who broke Ryan’s heart and then left town. Except that actually, I kinda liked her. Allison is also very driven, and has more than half an eye on her career aspirations. But she genuinely cares about Ryan, and for that I rate her as a character.

Lucia is the hot cop girlfriend Ryan wants to be with, until Allison comes back and turns everything upside down in Ryan’s world. Lucia seems like the perfect woman, even acknowledging Ryan’s inability to admit the depth of her feelings. I really liked her because I felt like she understood Ryan, and really wanted Ryan to be happy.

The Writing Style

This book has more than a smattering of romance, but still manages to keep the suspense building in the thriller storyline. I really enjoyed the way McLeod built towards the climactic parts of the plot, and the twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. There is plenty in this book to keep you interested, and not everything is able to be foreseen.

The Narration

Charley Ongel does a good job with a great book. It took me a little while to get used to her voicing of the characters, particularly the male voices, but once I got into the flow of the book it was an easy listen. I found her consistency in voicing the different lead characters particularly good.

The Pros

Kara McLeod is a former Secret Service Agent, and it is obvious in the way she expertly writes about that subject matter. The insights she has in that area take her writing to another level, and if you are into procedurals and Secret Service type stories, definitely check out this book.

The Cons

The whole premise of this book in terms of the romance subplot is an ex coming back into someone’s life when they are trying to move on. So there is almost an element of emotional cheating and angst. If that’s not your bag, stay away from this one.

The Conclusion

Actual Stop is a terrific story. And, added bonus, it is the first of 3 books McLeod has written about Special Agent Ryan O’Connor.

McLeod has used all of her skills and experience to really bring the Secret Service to life. Special Agent Ryan O’Connor is one enticing woman, and her balance of fire and vulnerability makes for a really captivating character.

The narration in the audiobook is great, and worth a listen if you like good narration of great stories.

Excerpt from Actual Stop by Kara A McLeod

My phone rang before Meaghan could find another way to tell me to punt this to the counterfeit guys, and I smiled when I saw the caller ID.

“Hey,” I said as I lifted the phone to my ear.

“Hey,” Lucia Mendez, the NYPD Intel detective I’d been seeing, replied. “Where are you?”

“On my way to an interview with Meaghan. Where are you?”

A long pause. “So I guess it’s safe to say you forgot we had dinner plans.”

My heart sank. I was such an asshole. “Oh shit. Luce, I’m so sorry.”

“Are you?”

I sighed and clenched the steering wheel. “Of course I am. I feel terrible.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“You never do it on purpose.”

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Actual Stop 

Worthy Of Trust And Confidence 

Known Threat 

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781626396753
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
  • Narrator: Charley Ongel

Kara A McLeod Online

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