Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beneath by H.B. Moore

Chalice Stratford's hands won’t stop shaking, and not only is she required to give up her medical practice, but she’s forced to enter the witness protection program since the serial killer who brutally scarred her is still at large. Working in a museum in Bordeaux, France, the last thing she expects is to be abducted in a museum theft gone wrong. Omar Zagouri, the man behind the heist, is not who she expects, and Chalice soon learns he might be the one man who can put her demons to rest. 

Beneath is a fast-paced, short work of fiction that introduces the character Omar, which is featured in H.B. Moore's larger novel, Finding Sheba. The characters hooked me from the very beginning. I wanted to know what had happened to Chalice that had forced her to go from successful surgeon to a woman working in a French art museum. Also, she has the worst luck ever! She is still dealing with emotional trauma from her own harrowing torture, only to be held at gunpoint by three men stealing a famous painting. I loved her guts as she stood up to them to protect a teacher and group of children, even though it was clear her physical and emotional scars ran deep. I deeply cared about her character for such a short story. However, I found some of her actions to be a little unbelievable considering her history. I didn't see how she could trust a man who'd held her at gunpoint, especially after her previous horrible experience that put her in protective custody. I also didn't believe her opening up to spill her woeful tale to a man, and wanting to escape with someone she didn't know rather than talk to the police.  The attempt at a little romance also came off as a little forced. I read Finding Sheba before this book, so it was hard to even picture Chalice and Omar as a couple. I also was disappointed in the lack of resolution in the story. Chalice told a little about her experience that put her in her current situation, but not in great detail. Omar promises to help, but then it just ends. I wanted to see her problem, which the story had teased about the whole time, get resolved. Her confrontation the man, or testifying against him, or something to wrap up the conflict built in the fabric of the story would have been nice. I would love to read more of Chalice's story which wasn't possible in such a short piece already jammed full of action. Other than that. I thought, the characters and storyline were very engaging, and it is a great introduction to Omar's character and job. I would definitely read more books about both characters!

Content Alerts: The main character does reveal her bra to show a man the scars on her body, and there are a couple instances of swearing.

***I received this story for free in exchange for an honest review.***

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