Set in Australia, but with a decidedly American feel to it, LETHAL IN LOVE is a serialised novel in six parts. Fascinating idea and one that I've always wondered why somebody hasn't done. Released over a period of time, each episode is probably best described as a long novella in length, each advancing the suspense and the romantic side of the story. Although to a reader somewhat disconnected from the world of romantic suspense, I will confess the "romance" aspects read substantially more like "lust" for most of the novel. (Having read all six episodes back to back, I'm going to have to refer to this as a single entity for the purposes of this review).
It's a serial killer story with the romantic twist being the attraction between homicide detective Jayda Thomasz and Seth Friedin a reporter. They meet up when they both join a swingers club for their own reasons. The attraction between them is instantly electric and their desire for each other overwhelming. Their introduction into the story comes at a rapid pace, along with what seems like a cast of thousands. I will confess to getting horribly lost and confused early on whilst characters with names like Jayda, Seth, Liam, Bec, Hackett and Brian (and now even with all my notes I can't for the life of me clearly remember his part in the action) popped up from everywhere. Needless to say, in the early episodes you're going to need to concentrate to keep up. You're also going to need to do some work to sort out the foundations of the serial killer story as the action starts out well down the path of the case. There's a serial killer in town - the police know that when the reader arrives. They know the MO, they seem to have a connection between the victims - and they have Thomasz already going undercover - into the swingers scene to try to attract attention / flush the killer.
Once the initial confusion of getting to know who is who and why they are where they are, the plot settles into itself and things become a little easier to follow. Which then provided a number of challenges. The lust aspect of the relationship between the two main characters is pretty full on - and it seemed to go on forever. For this reader the biggest problem that presented was a tendency to overshadow and muddy the waters. For the longest time Thomasz reaction to the murder of somebody very close to her just didn't ring true, and became mightily distracting.
Which means I'm working my way to the biggest problem I had with LETHAL IN LOVE and that's the balance between the suspense and the romance. In this case the romance / lust won hands down - making the serial killer aspects constantly less focused. Given many of the aspects of the case, and not just the personal connection to investigators, it just felt wrongly balanced and very off putting as a result. And that, for a dedicated crime fiction fan, just didn't work, although it could be that romance readers will find it more to their liking.