After losing her military K-9, former Marine Maya Thompson swears she’ll never work with dogs again. But when she returns home to Colorado and accepts a job with US Forest Service law enforcement, fate brings K-9 Juniper into her life just as another tragedy unfolds.
Juniper, a beautiful two-year-old Malinois, isn’t the only new addition to Maya’s life. Josh Colten, the local deputy sheriff, insists on helping with her new case. Handsome and mysterious, he’s all anyone in town can talk about, but Maya can’t let herself like him, let alone trust him.
When Maya’s grandfather goes missing amid a growing drug war, Maya must put her faith in Josh, and her own battered instincts, to find him. But there’s a web of secrets tying her grandfather to the tragedy that brought Juniper into her life—secrets someone would kill to keep hidden.
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Possible Triggers: violence against women, drug and alcohol use, and discussion of suicide.
Title: Chasing Justice
Series: Stand Alone Title at this time
Author: Kathleen Donnelly
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published: May 24, 2022
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
My Rating: 4 stars
I’m going to start this review with a possible trigger warning… because readers deserve to know this beforehand. You will find mention of violence against women, drug and alcohol use, and discussion of suicide in this story. I didn’t find it overwhelming, but these subjects are mentioned – should any of these subjects be a trigger for you, then simply be aware.
Chasing Justice is intense in both the story itself and in some of the subjects that make up Maya’s and Josh’s story. It’s gripping, it’s tense, and I easily fell into their situation. Maya has left the Marine Corps after losing her K-9 companion to an IED. That loss tore her apart and she’s vowed to never work with dogs again. Around the same time, her grandmother died and she was unable to be there for her grandfather, something he certainly has not forgotten and is slow to forgive. Maya hit rock bottom when she lost her K-9 and made some really bad choices as she struggled to cope with the loss and her guilt.
Back stateside, Maya has taken a job with the law enforcement side of the US Forest Service. When a friend and fellow officer is killed while on duty, Maya will inherit his K-9 dog, Juniper over her objections and, in reality, her fears that she will let another dog be killed in service.
Josh, a local deputy sheriff is also on the case of the bombing and insists on helping Maya or at the very least, working together on the case. For her own reasons, Maya cannot allow herself to trust Josh but when the sheriff, her grandfather, goes missing she has no other choice.
While I enjoyed my time in Chasing JusticeI also felt that the story was laying some world-building for a continuing story or series. The romance is light, definitely hard-fought-for but believable in an enemy-to-lover kind of way. Watching Maya and Josh fight the attraction between them, and not always acknowledging it was an interesting choice that I would like to learn more about in a future story. The bad guys are as vile as possible and completely believable. I felt the build-up to the conclusion of this story very strongly, even though we are aware of who some of those villains are. I would call this more of a police/crime procedural than completely romantic suspense, but that was my reaction to the story, yours might be different.
In all, I enjoyed Chasing Justice, and would happily return to this world for more. If you like a gritty suspense story with a touch of romance, love K-9 dogs involved strongly in the plot and love to put puzzle pieces together, then this story is perfect for you.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent. I was not financially compensated for this review and no expectation of a positive review was promised.*
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