White Roses Calling by Dakota Hudson is an excellent thriller with a heavy dose of romance. I really enjoyed the pace of this book, which increased as the story came to its climax, at which point I found myself furiously turning pages to keep up with the action.
Alex Chambers, a butch police sergeant with Los Angeles Police Department, meets Sydney Rutledge, a straight and beautiful Assistant District Attorney, in a court case where a notorious serial killer is being tried for the White Rose Murders. He is convicted and found guilty.
Alex and Sydney find themselves attracted to each other and so begins a slow burn relationship. Entwined in this relationship is the realization that there is a copycat serial killer who is targeting attorneys around the Los Angeles area and getting closer to Sydney with each kill.
We meet Sergeant Alex Chambers in the first few pages of the book, chasing a man on foot through city streets and bouncing off the hood of a car. She finally catches him by cornering him and grabbing him as he tries to run past her. She ends up sitting on him, and having to punch him, to enable her to restrain him. You thus realise, early on in the story that she is athletic, fit and can look after herself. In addition, by the end of the first few scenes you also understand that she is experienced and capable in her work environment where she has been successful for fifteen years. She was in the Marines for twelve years before she joined the police and this shows in her calm and unruffled behavior. As a confirmed bachelor, she left her previous girlfriend over a year ago when she tried to get them to move in together. Alex is really captivated by Sydney and manufactures ways of accidentally meeting her.
Sydney Rutledge is a rising star in the Attorneys office, both successful and charming with a queue of men who would love to take her out. The White Rose Murders case is the biggest and most high profile of her career. She finds herself attracted to Alex and meets with her often during and after the case, and at times finds herself flustered. Sydney doesn’t know how to deal with the attraction and sends signals that both Alex and her friends pick up on. She finds herself jealous when Alex is approached by other women and thus begins her realization that a kiss with a woman years ago and her current feelings mean that she may be a lesbian.
Both the lead characters have supporting characters who provide emotional and physical backup throughout the story. Sal and Tiffany are Alex’s best friends; Sal is a task force Sergeant with Alex, and Tiffany is his girlfriend who is an ER Nurse. Sydney’s best friend, Tyler, is also an Assistant District Attorney and they work together. She has known him since college when he came out as gay.
The Writing Style
This story was really well crafted. It started with a police chase, and here I must say that Dakota Hudson’s police background is really evident. It was excellently written and a real humdinger of a start to the book. As the romance took over and the story progressed with the court case, the writing took a much gentler edge, full of slow burn romance and humour. As the search for the copycat serial killer increased, the action sequences involved really brought the book alive. I just loved how Alex sought to protect Syd using her physical strength, not bowing down to male superiority.
The contrast between the slow burn romance and the thriller were really well done. I really enjoyed how Dakota Hudson characterized the search for the copycat killer, which is a slow process and often in this type of case there is very little evidence to take the case forward. The book gives the reader that sense of frustration that both the police and the public has, and shows how experienced intuition can help to solve a case.
I didn’t attempt to solve the crime early on and waited until things revealed themselves; there was a good twist to the story, but I can see how some people could say that it didn’t have enough layers to be a serious mystery/thriller contender.
This is Dakota Hudson’s first book and it is a really good read. The action sequences in particular sold me and with a heavy dose of passion buildup, it is a real winner. If you want your thriller with a heavy dose of romance or vice versa I think this book is for you.
Excerpt from White Roses Calling by Dakota Hudson
“Nice job, Ms. Rutledge,” Alex said.
“It’s not over by a long shot, Sergeant,” Sydney said as they made their way through the courtroom. “Remember, this is Los Angeles. Home of the jury that couldn’t convict O.J. Simpson.”
“Yeah.” Alex placed her hand on Sydney’s arm. “I know you were under a lot of pressure from your office to just produce my source. I’m truly sorry to put you in that position.” Alex shrugged and her shoulders dropped, “I just—”
“I understand.” Sydney smiled reassuringly at Alex when their eyes met again. “Really, I respect what you did. And it’s all worked out so far, right? But we know the defense is going to make this an issue for the jury. Are you ready for their attacks?”
“I’m thinking you’re gonna make sure I am, right?” Sydney smiled and nodded as Alex pushed the door open, allowing Sydney to precede her into the third floor hallway of the court building. Sydney was experiencing the same feeling she’d had numerous times in the past during meetings with Sergeant Chambers. She silently wished for the contact to be prolonged as they continued down the hallway toward the elevator lobby.
“So, your office decided to make it a capital case, huh?” Alex asked as they waited for an elevator.
“Yes. We filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty this morning.” Alex nodded. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.” Sydney glanced up to watch the numbers above the elevator doors count down and then gave in to a spur of the moment impulse. “I’d kill for a cup of coffee. Join me?” she asked Alex as the elevator doors opened.
“Sure,” Alex said.
They stepped into the elevator and Sydney wondered why the sergeant’s acceptance of the invitation gave her such a warm feeling and brought a smile to her lips.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781619291713
- Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises
Dakota Hudson Online
Note: I received a free review copy of White Roses Calling by Dakota Hudson. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.