The Target by Gerri Hill is a thriller out of Gerri Hill’s top drawer, and the story, along with the narration, made sure that I spent half the book looking over my shoulder. There is, of course, a romance at the heart of it, and the women who appear very different on the surface are not so different underneath.
Sara Michaels is the founder and CEO of a business that helps women take control of their own lives. She offers a 12-week residential course for ten women at a time that includes group therapy, nutrition, counseling, etc. The last two weeks are spent backpacking on a route kept secret so that family members don’t intrude, and this is where we join them. What the group doesn’t know is that Sara is the estranged daughter of a Senator who has received threats against his life, and she feels that they are so distant from each other that she has turned down the offer of FBI protection.
Jaime Hutchinson is a busy detective who spends most of her free time backpacking. At work, she is called in by her Captain and introduced to an FBI agent. They ask her to go backpacking in the Collegiate Peaks area outside Denver to get close to Sara on her trek and to give her protection. The information the FBI agent provides Jaime makes her think that there isn’t a serious threat, and the agent tells her that her presence is precautionary. Jaime decides to accept what is a free holiday, and looking at the photo in the file, spending time with a beautiful woman.
Jaime visits a local backpacking store in Buena Vista and finds out Sara’s route. She walks ahead of the group, and by faking a sprained ankle, she talks her way into joining them. There follows some trail fun and swims in hot springs until Jaime realizes that there is someone in the hills above them who reflects a glint of sunlight. Are they being followed?
In the beginning, when we first meet Sara, she is a workaholic who doesn’t often date because she’s too busy working. She’s not been sleeping well, feels she’s in a rut, and the women she meets are boring. I love that as the story progresses, she appears closed off, but as she gets to realize more about herself, so do we, and as she opens up to Jaime, we get to see the real her.
I have to say I am biased because I find Jaime hot! When she takes her clothes off at a hot spring phew! Jaime is smart, physically strong, passionate, and that kind of self-deprecating that I love. She gives the group of backpackers someone outside of themselves to focus on, and we find everyone learns from their meeting. She is resourceful, flirty, and confident and, at the same time, able to draw Sara out.
One of the women in the group is Sandra, and I feel I must mention her. She is the oldest, most unfit, and most overweight of the group, but when she and Jaime are paired on the trail, Sandra talks non-stop to Jaime. Jaime nods here and there and is often not paying any attention. But their relationship grows and becomes something exceptional.
The Writing Style
The story will give you the full gamut of feeling, from joy to sorrow, from the love of friends to the love of family. It has fear and fright, and finally, it has fun. How Hill manages that in one book, I don’t know. The story is easy to listen to, and if it were a book, I’d say it is unputdownable. I didn’t want to pause it at any point.
Abby Craden does an exceptional job with narrating this, which with a group of women, must have been a challenge. I didn’t get confused about things at any point and thought it easy to differentiate the different voices, both male and female.
The contrasts of the story are what stand out for me. The peace and fun at the beginning is a direct contrast to the middle of the book. At this point, the suspense ratchets up and, in turn, changes further as the story unfolds—the final section, which is no less frightening for Sarah and Jaime, is entirely different.
I also need to walk those trails.
There is a crossover with The Killing Room and, if it is on your list, you should read it first because The Target contains a spoiler. This audiobook has everything to offer a lover of adventure, thrillers, and romance. I am relatively new to lesfic and have not read The Target. I realize that the book has been out for thirteen years, but the audiobook is a recent recording, and the story is fresh and valid now. If you need something a little different from a straight romance, then this is it.
Excerpt from The Target by Gerri Hill
Jaime watched from a distance, her eyes glued to the buff body of Sara Michaels as she stepped over the rocks and into the water. Wow. She had runner’s legs, long and muscular. She shook her head. It just wasn’t fair, covering that magnificent body with a swimsuit. Then she grinned.
“Oh, hell. Might as well shake things up a bit.”
With that, she pulled off her boots and walked barefoot to the springs, still clad in her jeans and shirt.
“Well, you look like you’re having fun.”
“We are,” Celia said. “Aren’t you going to join us?”
Jaime flashed a grin. “Of course I am.”
She unbuttoned her jeans and let them slip down her legs, stepping out of them in one motion, then pulled her T-shirt over her head and tossed it on the ground. “Move over, Sandra honey, I’m coming in.”
The older woman laughed as the very naked Jaime splashed down around her.
“Jesus Christ,” Sara murmured, but her eyes refused to obey her command to turn away. She stared as Jaime dropped her jeans then nearly gasped as she tore her T-shirt off, revealing a tanned torso and two unbelievably perfect breasts unencumbered by a bra. Surely to God she’s not going to…strip. But she did, purple panties joined the pile of clothes and a completely naked Jaime Hutchinson splashed into the hot springs full of straight women.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594930829
- Publisher: Bella Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Narrator: Abby Craden
- Gerri Hill Online
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