Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore ~ Review ~

Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore

Critical Pursuit

Brinna Caruso is a cop with a mission. Twenty years earlier, she was a victim of an abduction. Fortunately, hours later a police officer with a search and rescue dog found her and returned her home. That experience influenced her decision to become involved in search and rescue for abducted and missing children herself. When she joined the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), she eventually acquired a scent-trained search dog through a federal grant. Hero became her partner. Milo, the policeman who rescued her, kept in touch and mentored her, helping her become the successful cop she is now.

What Brinna doesn’t know is that her abductor is not only alive but in the area. He saw a newspaper article about Brinna in which the journalist made an issue of her 20 year’s anniversary since her abduction and rescue. She also made an issue of Brinna’s mission as K-9 officer to participate in as many searches and track down as many abductors as possible. He decided to do some celebrating himself, by taunting her–new little girls to snatch before he disappeared again.

Jack O’Reilly has been on the force for fifteen years. He was a homicide detective, one of the best at LBPD. But a year before, a drunk driver crushed Jack’s spirit with a head on crash that killed his wife and unborn daughter. Since then, he has only lived to see the man pay for his crime. Nothing else gave him any purpose.

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When one night on patrol with Hero, Brinna defensively shot a young perp after a high speed car chase, the press turned on her, vilifying her actions. She was temporarily re-assigned to patrol status with Jack O’Reilly. She didn’t want to be there with him, and he didn’t want to be there with her. But as Jack got to know Caruso he became impressed with her drive to be every missing child’s savior. Apparently, he’d been growing cynical. Could he ever be the same cop he’d been six years ago?

Both Jack O’Reilly and Brinna Carusso have issues in their lives that they haven’t really faced honestly. This is something most of us can relate with. For Jack, his loss had drained him of desire to keep living. When Brinna worked with him, she observed that his eyes looked dead, as if no one was home inside. He was so bitter, he turned his back on God and forsook a relationship with Him. He didn’t want to believe in a god who took his family away so cruelly.

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Brinna herself was not dealing well with her own haunting past. Not only had she been abducted, molested, abandoned and left to die in the desert, but when she returned home her father disappeared into the bottle, never returning to be a dad for her. Now as an adult, she buries herself in her obsession of rescuing lost children and riding herd on sex offenders. She even partners with the FBI. She did not believe in God in spite of her mother’s faith in one. She felt it best to trust in her own intuitions and instincts. So far, they have served her well. But now her father has cancer and wants to see her.

When she and Jack were assigned to work patrol together, it worked surprisingly well for them. They understood each other and even helped each other, albeit unknowingly and unwillingly at first.

Janice Cantore writes an action-packed adventure/mystery based on her own 22 years of service as a police officer in Long Beach, CA. The action is tight and feels authentic. The bad guy in the story is truly creepy but smart enough to keep the FBI and the local law enforcement hopping to keep up with him and protect the little girls he harms. The author’s talent brings to her readers thrilling action and suspense as well as relevant faith- oriented character development.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next book, Visible Threat, as well as other books written by this author.

I am reading and reviewing this book for the Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. summer reading program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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