Burning Proof

Burning ProofBurning Proof by Janice Cantore
Series: Cold Case Justice
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Tyndale Publishing on March 1, 2016
Pages: 416
Also in this series: Catching Heat
Also by this author: Catching Heat

 

Having enjoyed previous books by Janice Cantore, I jumped at the chance to read and review her latest novel, Burning Proof.

Burning Proof, a sequel to Drawing Fire, follows Abby Hart’s career as a detective and her lifelong goal to finally solve her parents’ murders. After a life-changing incident in the line of duty, Abby takes time off of official work to recover. But new clues regarding her parents’ deaths lead her down new avenues of investigation. Meanwhile, private investigator Luke Murphy can’t stop thinking about his own suppositions regarding the old murders — but he is focused on solving a cold case abduction. Little does he know the old case might bring him and Abby closer together.

The second installment of Cantore’s Cold Case Justice series is worth the read. The plot, while technically a stand-alone, does a great job of picking up the plot where Drawing Fire left off — both the mystery and the personal lives of Abby and Luke.

Having enjoyed previous books by Janice Cantore, I jumped at the chance to read and review her latest novel, Burning Proof.

The reader is quickly drawn into Abby’s quest to learn the truth about her parents’ deaths and pursue justice for herself and all those who lost loved ones in the fire. You will find yourself caring very much about Abby’s quest and the struggles of her life. Meanwhile, Luke’s own mysteries will keep the reader guessing from cover to cover.

Luke’s own mysteries will keep the reader guessing from cover to cover.

While the plot keeps the novel moving from cover to cover, the characters are what really shine in Cantore’s second Cold Case Justice series. While introduced in Drawing Fire, Abby and Luke are both further developed in this installment. I feel as though I’m getting to know a friend – piece by piece, little by little – as I read more about Abby.

While the plot keeps the novel moving from cover to cover, the characters are what really shine in Cantore’s second Cold Case Justice series.

Meanwhile, Cantore’s 22 years’ experience in the police force ads an element of reality and grit to her writing. She not only understands how to write, but even the procedural and behind-the-scenes police moments ring true to life.

–Holly


While Burning Proof is more about suspense and less about romance, the relationship tension in this book – the will-they-wont-they – is palpable enough to rival any of the great crime-fighting duos on TV. Castle and Beckett. Bones and Booth. Scarecrow & Mrs King. In the first book, Drawing Fire, Janice Cantore introduced us to Abby Hart and her parents’ cold case.  We also met Luke and Ethan – Luke being the guy who makes her heart flutter (and incidentally can’t stop thinking about her) and Ethan being her longtime sweetheart-turned-fiancé who wants her to quit being a cop and become a missionary with him. She and Luke share a bond over the restaurant fire that killed her parents and his uncle.  She and Ethan share a history.  Both want a future with Abby and, in Burning Proof, this plays out in a way I would expect to see on TV but have rarely seen in novels.

I loved it and hated it all at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong – Cantore did a phenomenal job of writing the tension, including a plot twist I didn’t see coming.  Said plot twist accounts for the “hated” part of my conflicting reactions.  Not because I don’t like the book (quite the opposite) but because the addition of beautiful blogger Faye makes my heart sink. Ethan may or may not be out of the picture, but now Luke has an interest other than Abby… and … just … ARGH.

Janice Cantore is skilled at drawing an emotional reaction from her readers and creating characters in whom readers can invest.

The professional reviewer in me should say here that – clearly – Janice Cantore is skilled at drawing an emotional reaction from her readers and creating characters in whom readers can invest. The romantic, OTP-loving, bubble-heart addict in me just wants to wail at the unfairness of it all.  (By the way, in case you’re like I was before I started hanging around some YA bloggers and you don’t know what OTP stands for either, I’ll tell you.  One. True. Pairing.  I feel a little like the girl in “Sleepless in Seattle” right now.)

But I did say that this series is only minimally about romance, didn’t I? It really is more about suspense, action, and faith than about whether Luke and Abby will ever see WHAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM!!! Ahem. Sorry.

Burning Proof picks up almost where Drawing Fire left off and, while it’s not quite as action-packed as its predecessor, there are still plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments!

Burning Proof picks up almost where Drawing Fire left off and, while it’s not quite as action-packed as its predecessor, there are still plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments!  Both cold cases are riveting – the current one that Luke and Woody are researching for beautiful blogger Faye (woeful sigh) and the ongoing arc of the murder of Abby’s parents’ and Luke’s uncle.  The latter case keeps gaining new layers to peel back, new aspects to investigate, and a stunning development or five that I thought were really well done. Cantore’s history as a law enforcement officer is reflected in the plot construction, the characters, the action, and the procedures. All of these elements combine to make a really entertaining suspense read.  The high-stakes action is so well-crafted that it often feels as though you’re watching it all play out on the TNT channel instead of on the page in front of you.

Overall, Burning Proof is entertaining, well-written, suspenseful, and intriguing.

The message of faith is the novel’s foundation, and “foundation” plays a key role in that message. The author weaves the faith threads naturally throughout the story, and it provides a reprieve of peace from the tension and suspense.  Themes of trusting God’s justice and finding the solid foundation He’s given you are sure to resonate with readers at many different stages of faith.

Overall, Burning Proof is entertaining, well-written, suspenseful, and intriguing.  It will also twist your heart if you’re prone to attach yourself to romantic pairings, and it will leave you waiting eagerly for the next book in the series!

–Carrie

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