Review: Proving Ground

Proving Ground (Northstar Security #1)Proving Ground by Stanalei Fletcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Following a parent's footsteps is usually something a parent is proud of, but when Caitlin follows her father's footsteps, it is the opposite. Caitlin wants to go into law enforcement just like her father. She even goes to work for Northstar Security which is the company her father help founded. The apple does not fall far the tree because she is just as stubborn as Daddy Dearest.

This story is less about the terrorist activity and more about a strained daddy and daughter relationship. It isn't that Caitlin has daddy issues. It is more that the two of them are so similar, they rub each other raw. Plus, Caitlin is rather young and inexperienced. Her feelings are valid just painful to witness. Her youth and headstrong desire to prove she is good enough is her downfall. This constant struggle with a huge chip on her shoulder makes it difficult to like Caitlin. She comes across as the younger kid who is always chasing the "big" kids so that she can join in on their reindeer games.

This is a surprisingly first book in the series. There seems to be more backstory in here that needs to be told. Perhaps more of this world will be exposed in following books in the series. Mostly, this book is a therapist's cash cow. The main characters and even the secondary ones all have relationship problems which a therapist can give a group discount rate. Most of it is due to lack in communication. This is unfortunately a realistic portrayal of how many families function - dysfunctional.

The romance part of this book is mediocre. Caitlin's crush for John MacAlistair is just odd. Odd in that Mac thinks of her as his little sister and can't get over it. The conflict does feel contrived because it is obvious the two of them have feelings for each other. As expected, when death threatens one of the, they finally get over their "mental" barrier and acknowledge the possibility of a relationship.

What is interesting about this book is the terrorist plot and how it is carried out. This is something which appeals to me. If this book contained more action scenes and less mea culpa, it would have been a smoother read. Ms. Fletcher's suspense in this story is light and predictable. If there is more focus on the sleuthing and criminal activity, it would have been a strong storyline for me. This is recommended for romance lovers who enjoy a friends to lover theme.

* Review copy provided via Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

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