Back of the book: A dangerous cult has recently taken over the desert ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members worship at the feet – and in the bed – of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff, and obey his orders blindly. They’ve already tried to murder one woman and they’re implicated in the disappearance of another.
Nate Ferrentino, who works for private security contractor Department 6, has been assigned to infiltrate this group. It’s a challenge he welcomes – until he learns that colleague Rachel Jessop will be going undercover with him. Thanks to their shared history, he’d much rather go alone…
The problem is, only married couples can participate in cult rituals. So, like it or not – and they don’t – Rachel and Nate must pretend to be husband and wife. There’s no choice. Because if Wycliff isn’t exposed, if he isn’t stopped, more people will die. And Rachel might be one of them.
I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense novels and I’ve never read one by Brenda Novak but after reading White Heat I’ll be looking for more of her books. I really enjoyed the main characters. Rachel and Nate wish they could forget the embarrassing event that took place several months earlier but they must maintain a professional attitude in an uncomfortable situation. And talk about uncomfortable – everything from the ride to the location, the grimy trailer where they stay until going to the commune, and then the commune itself. Novak brings the hot and dry Arizona setting alive.
The pace was great. The suspense of whether or not Rachel and Nate would be successful in their mission had me quickly turning the pages. That was really the best part for me because although it was easy to predict what would happen, I just wasn’t sure about how. I wasn’t disappointed.
Novak’s bad guys were creepy bad. The Manson-like cult leader and his number one henchman were pretty scary. I didn’t enjoy reading about the cult rituals. Even the main characters wished they weren’t on this mission – they’d rather have been on a drug bust or any other case. Novak did a good job developing the supporting characters giving enough detail to explain why they might be involved in a cult. All in all, I liked the novel even though I didn’t enjoy the cult topic.
White Heat is the first in a series. I’m looking forward to reading the next book – Body Heat. Recommended to fans of Romantic Suspense and Brenda Novak.
Review copy from MIRA Books