Title: Actual Stop (Agent O’Connor #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Kara A. McLeod (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: June 14, 2016 – 312 Pages
Special Agent Ryan O’Connor’s life is exactly on track—she’s with a wonderful woman, and she’s doing something she loves. Sure, her boss can’t stand her, but she figures if that’s her biggest problem, she’s pretty damn lucky. She should have known it was too good to last and that when fate finally slapped her, it would do so hard enough to leave a mark.
When Ryan’s ex-girlfriend, Special Agent Allison Reynolds, suddenly reappears in New York, her carefully constructed world is thrown into chaos. As they’re forced to work together, Ryan is compelled to confront several realities that she wishes she could avoid. One of which is that it’s terrible to mix the past with the present. The other is that it’s not only the past that paints the present with lead.
There are a lot of things to like in this book, although there are a couple of things that are a bit lacking. I like McLeod’s style of writing, and the flow made it easy to keep turning pages. I found the details of her Secret Service job interesting, and liked hearing about the various different departments that we don’t usually hear about. However, I found Ryan to be a little immature. She’s still hung up on her ex, Allison, a fellow agent who dumped her, but she’s been seeing Lucia for the last six months, and doesn’t consider that a relationship. Obviously, after Allison, feelings aren’t her strong suit, but I find it annoying that anytime anything ‘feelings’ related came up, Ryan shoved it all to the back burner and ignored it. Definitely not a way to not hurt the person you’re involved with. With that type of introspection and lack of self-awareness, I don’t find it surprising at all that Ryan hasn’t moved on at all in the four years since Allison left. Nor that she has no clue what Lucia really feels for her. At the same time, she castigates and self-flagellates enough for her shortcomings that you’d really expect her to try to resolve some things. I will say that there were several unresolved issues at the end of the book that definitely tie into book two. It isn’t quite a cliffhanger, but definitely ways that you can see where the next book will go. I’ll withhold my own suppositions and suspicions, but would gladly pick up the next book in the series. I’d like to see how some of those threads are tied up. Pretty good for a debut, and I can only expect things to get better.
Kara A. McLeod is a badass by day and a smartass by night. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Or quite possibly neither. It really depends on who you ask. A Jersey girl at heart, “Mac” is an intrepid wanderer who goes wherever the wind takes her. A former Secret Service agent who decided she wanted more out of life than standing in a stairwell and losing an entire month every year to the United Nations General Assembly, she currently resides in an RV with her straight best friend and two ferocious dogs searching hither and yon for the meaning of life, the nearest comic con, and the world’s best margarita.