Throwback Thursday Review: Relentless by Winter Austin


Relentless by Winter Austin
Series: Degrees of Darkness (# 1)
Release Date: February 11, 2013
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Pages: 286
Source: book provided by publisher for review



Dallas homicide detective Remy LeBeau trusts no one. He hides from a past that could kill him and anyone involved with him. What he’s not prepared for is the return of an elusive serial killer . . . and an unwanted desire to protect a witness at all costs.

Professional barrel racer Cody Lewis’s dream of being top in the nation is within reach until she discovers a murdered woman in her horse trailer. The event pulls her into the sickening world of the Rodeo Sweethearts serial killer—a madman who terrorized Dallas’s rodeo circuit five years prior and is now back for more. But what’s worse is that Cody fits the profile of the Rodeo Sweetheart victims. . . .

As Remy dives into the investigation, he uncovers secrets of a botched investigation and a tight-lipped boss, while attracting unwanted attention from the killer. Battling his partner, his attraction to Cody, and the demons of his past, catching the killer could cost Remy everything. Even Cody’s life.


Review:  Winter Austin is a new to me author, so I had no experience with her writing style and I did not know if she would have the ability to hold my attention. However, after reading the synopsis I was intrigued and decided to give the author a chance.  Relentless is the first book in the Degrees of Darkness series. I am not sure if the books can be read as a stand-alone as they follow the same couple throughout the series. Therefore, I think it would be best if you read them in order.

The story introduces Remy LeBeau a homicide detective and Cody Lewis a professional barrel racer. It began with Cody discovering a corpse in her trailer. The disturbing thing about the discovery is the murder victim bore a close resemblance to her. Detective Remy LeBeau is assigned to the case and is hard pressed to find out the identity of the killer. In the process of his investigation, he would discover that the murder is the work of the Rodeo Sweethearts serial killer. Remy finds himself in a race against time to stop the psycho before he claims his next victim.

What I loved.

I believe this aspect of the story was well written. Guessing the identity of the villain was not an easy feat. In fact, I never discovered the identity until the story almost ended, which I consider the trademark of a good mystery. The author created an intricate case that have everyone baffled. Not only could I not figure out the identity I had no idea what motivated the killer. The one thing that was clear is that the target were women with red hair and green eyes.

The Story
This was a well-paced, plot driven story. It started out slow, but then it gradually developed into nail-biting, edge of your seat read. The ending as it relates to the case was adequately executed. The case was neatly wrapped and left no unanswered questions.

Character Development.
I had a hard time connecting with the characters, which was due in part to poor character. I based my opinion on the insufficient information regarding the past of the main characters. Both Remy and Cody experienced traumatic events in their past and they both went through a period of depression as a result. However, never once did I feel the depth of their emotions. I found them flat and painfully boring.

I did not buy into romance. Frankly, I don’t believe it added anything to the story. The romance just like the characters was underdeveloped. In the same way I could not connect with the characters as individuals, I also could not relate to them as a couple. I am unable to wrap my head around the fact they fell in love with each other, even though they hardly spent time together and when they did, they are always arguing. Another thing that made it difficult for me to accept their relationship was the fact that Remy had a hard time opening up to Cody, and she had no idea why he had relocated from New Orléans to Texas.

Relentless is a book for which I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed the suspense and mystery, but the main characters bored me and the romance was disappointing. I had planned to read the sequels, but now I am a bit sceptical as to whether or not I should.

If you enjoy a good mystery, then you may enjoy this book. However, if you love a well-developed romance with your mystery, and characters you can relate to, then this book may not be for you.