“Collision Force” by C.A. Szarek Delivers Action-packed, Erotic Romantic Suspense

Book reviews are always subjective. I try to judge each story on its own merits within its genre. Other than that, however, if a book can make me laugh, cry, yell at the characters (as opposed to the author) and pick it up at every idle opportunity then I usually consider that it has earned 5-stars. Thus, even though I’m not usually a fan of romantic suspense, much less erotic fiction, this one definitely earned its rank for me. As a bit of background, I won it in a Facebook “like” push so as a gesture of appreciation to the author plus the fact I had just finished a book and was ready for another, I decided to read it since it promised action. I must confess without naming names or titles that the last romance novel I tried to read is still unfinished after several months because it bogs down. When I’m between reads I still pick it up occasionally because it’s well written and I hate to leave anything unfinished, including a boring book, but quite frankly it reminds me of listening to a whiny friend with a plethora of self-imposed woes and hangups.

Romances are typically pretty predictable. Boy gets girl (or vice versa) by the end of the story. Sometime before that they’re going to hop in the sack with just how much you know about that interlude determined by whether it’s a light or erotic romance. This is the kind of story you read to escape. You don’t want to be stressed out, you want to be entertained. Everyone needs love and if you’re not getting much in your own life it’s nice to maintain some level of hope through falling in love vicariously through a character you can relate to. True love never runs smooth, as they say, and thus there’s plenty of fodder to build on before the final page and its implications of “happily ever after.”

Romantic suspense at least throws in some action besides that found in the boudoir. This story is about a woman cop named Andi and a male FBI agent named Cole who are thrown together when they’re working the same case. The sparks fly at first but their attraction to each other is strong. There are various conflicts besides those of a personal nature since getting it on with someone you work with tends to get complicated, particularly if it eventually involves an ugly breakup. Furthermore, all your coworkers are privy to your personal life which is not always favorable, either. So these two have plenty of reasons to resist, which of course they cannot do, and their mutual passion also becomes a distraction to the job at hand.

I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, even though I realize in many ways this is formula fiction and you can pretty much figure out how it ends. But romantic suspense is about the journey, not the destination. I was impressed with how well the author described what her characters were going through. You really got inside their heads, hearts and various other parts of their anatomy. The only thing I thought was a bit glossed over was the Texas small-town culture, where the story took place. I live in Texas and so does the author so I was surprised that about all that turned up in the story was the predominance of pickup trucks and a rodeo, both of which could have received a bit more attention to build a stronger sense of place. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, however, because description can slow things down and I must say that author kept things moving at a rip-roaring pace that kept me glued to the pages.

If you’re a fan of this genre I highly recommend this author. Even if it’s not your usual genre, I still recommend it as a change of pace. I enjoyed it tremendously and am highly likely to pick up more of her books in the future when I need a fast-paced, entertaining story to remind me that love is truly what makes the world go ’round.