Top critical review
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It will be difficult to be disappointed by this book - it's a quick, light, very satisfying read
on May 26, 2014
This is the second book in Julie James’ FBI/U.S. Attorneys series and follows Special Agent Nick McCall as he works to expose a money laundering scheme involving a notorious Chicago crime boss, Roberto Martino, and famous restaurateur, Xander Eckhart. Nick, originally from Brooklyn, comes from a family of cops and is one of the top agents Chicago’s field office. He’s just finished a six month deep undercover operation that resulted in the exposure and arrest of over two dozen dirty cops and all he wants is a few days to visit his mother on her sixtieth birthday.
Nick’s career means he’s knows that plans sometimes change, and he takes it in stride when his boss pulls him in to help a younger agent, Seth Huxley, with his first solo op. Huxley needs to plant some listening devices in Xander’s office in order to connect him to Martino, and the ticket inside is wine store owner and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes. Although Jordan’s father is a highly successful, self-made CEO to a company that made its name selling anti-virus software Jordan and her twin brother grew up modestly, and were expected to make their own way as adults. Jordan has done very well for herself but Kyle, the “Twitter Terrorist” has recently landed himself in prison after drunkenly taking down the site in a two day denial of service attack.
Eckhart hosts a yearly wine tasting for charity and as an heiress and wine store owner Jordan is invited every year. Nick and Huxley approach Jordan - who isn’t too fond of the FBI after its overly-harsh treatment of her brother at the moment - to bring Huxley as her date so he can slip away and plant listening devices in Eckhart’s office. Jordan begrudgingly agrees to their plan, the only highlights being that Kyle will be released to house arrest and Nick - who seriously rubs her the wrong way - won’t be the one posing as her date. Unfortunately, like in Nick’s case, plans change for Jordan, too, and she finds herself spending a lot more quality time with Mr. Tall, Dark and Smoldering - and Nosy.
This was a light read, yet very smart, quippy and entertaining. Nick and Jordan are smart, hardworking people, and I enjoyed seeing them navigate their feelings for one another. While A Lot Like Love is a romance the investigation of Eckhart and Martino played a huge role in the plot, and it was very interesting and felt authentic. I know this author is a former lawyer and whatever homework she needed to do for this novel she did very well. Everything was extremely realistic and believable, and her descriptions of Chicago made it feel more like a character than simply a setting.
While there could have been more romance I was still very satisfied with this book. Also, Nick and Jordan did have good chemistry but I think it needed to be a little more explosive, especially since they started off not liking each other. However, I felt most of the details and pacing was spot-on. There were no plot holes, tragic misunderstandings or conflicts resolved too quickly/with too much ease. The supporting characters were also fantastic - I particularly enjoyed Kyle. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read contemporary romance, books with characters who work in law enforcement or books with smart, successful female leads. A Lot Like Love may not be my favorite book of all time but I think it would be very difficult for any reader to dislike it.