A Promise to Protect is the second book in the Logan Point series. The first book is Shadows of the Past, the author’s debut novel. If this book is an indication of Ms. Bradley’s writing style, then I’m hooked. I need to get the first novel to read, and then hope the author’s books come out quickly.
Sheriff Ben Logan has followed in his father’s footsteps and become Sheriff of Bradford County. His father had served the county for many years, and only ended his service when he was shot at close range. Miraculously he survived but his recovery has been slow. In addition, he suffered a stroke and couldn’t speak or communicate well, so he was unable to tell his son, Ben, the details behind the shooting. But Ben could tell by the expression in his eyes that he was still alert and cognizant. In the meantime, Ben has been acting sheriff awaiting the elections to make his job permanent. But a series of dangerous events began to threaten the town, his close friends, and Dr. Leigh Somerall and her son TJ. Dr. Somerall’s brother, Tony had called the sheriff to meet him somewhere he considered safe. Over the phone, he told Ben he had some information the FBI and the US Marshalls would be interested in on a flash drive. He also hinted that he may have more information on his father’s shooting as well. But when Ben arrived, Tony was dying, shot in the chest. His last words to Ben was an injunction to protect Leigh.
Dr. Leigh Somerall was an ER doctor at Logan Point’s hospital, Bradford General. She had returned to her home town to finish out her contract to pay off her student loan at her brother’s request. Once finished with her loans, she would be free to follow her dream to work at Johns Hopkins, a teaching hospital in Baltimore. If she survived being around Ben Logan, that is. She and Ben had a history going back ten years when they attended high school together. Though they had gone to different colleges, one summer they came back and worked at the same place. They had dated and fallen in love. But once Fall came around they went their separate ways again. Now here she was in her home town again, a widow with a young son, living with her brother in their grandparents’ house.
Sheriff Ben took his responsibilities seriously. Not only did he have to solve Tony’s murder, but he had to find why someone was threatening Leigh and her son’s lives. He had to determine if there was a connection between the threats against her and the ones that seemed to be aimed at him. Leigh didn’t want to be around Ben very much, so as much as she could she avoided him. He still insisted she have an escort wherever she went. Sometimes it was Ben. She was afraid that eventually he would find out a ten-year-old secret that could disrupt her life and her son’s.
From the first page, this book is filled with action-packed suspense, mystery and tension. We wonder who killed Tony and why? Where is the flash drive Tony was concerned about? Who is Armero? Who is making threatening calls to Leigh? Why is Sheriff Ben Logan being targeted? Who shot his father, and is it related to Tony’s death? And with all this, Ben has to deal with Leigh’s return and his attraction to her. I enjoyed trying to solve the mysteries along with the sheriff. The author provides a few clues, but not too many; what’s given is not too obvious or blatant, so that at the conclusion there were plenty of surprises for the reader.
I felt the balance between the action and character development was just right. Both Leigh and Ben had issues to work through that threw up barriers to their growing relationship. One barrier in particular bothered me, however. In an incident where Ben was a life guard at the lake beach area, one of the boys in his charge drowned. Even though he followed procedures exactly, the boy was lost. Since then, he has had panic attacks at moments where there may be triggers. To me this sounded more like the result of PTSD because of the flashback moments. No law enforcement officer should keep this a secret, but seek help for the symptoms and their cause, because not doing so puts the people he is trying to protect at risk. I felt this should have been written a little differently.
Other than that one issue, I loved the book and the premise. The author has created believable characters that come alive in the pages. We empathize with them, hurt with them. The action is riveting. The author has also done remarkable research so that the hospital scenes with the doctor, and the ambulance scenes felt authentic. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book from Patricia Bradley.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Revell’s reader’s club blog review 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.”