Don’t Lose Her by Jonathon King is the latest in in his Max Freeman Mystery series, and Netgalley and Open Road Media gave me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Full disclosure: This was the first book I’ve read with Max Freeman in it, and I believe it’s the first Jonathon King book I’ve read.
In Don’t Lose her, Max Freeman is tasked with finding US district judge Diane Manchester, who’s been kidnapped – oh, and she’s eight months pregnant, by the way. She’s snatched right off the street in the middle of the day. The few witnesses have no useful information, and the one person they suspect of being behind the kidnapping – the drug lord currently in her court docket, who seemed to have threatened her and her child mere minutes before she disappeared – may not be the culprit.
Max Freeman is a former cop, and though he knows the law, he doesn’t always follow it exactly in his search for justice and the truth. In his search for Diane, nothing is off-limits. His friend, Diane’s husband Billy, is filthy rich and more than willing to let Max off the leash to spend money and ignore the boundaries of the law if it means his wife and unborn child are brought home safely.
The blurb was incredibly intriguing to me. I expected a fast-paced thriller that would keep me turning the pages late into the night, trying to figure out who had taken the federal judge, why they did it, and what would happen to everyone involved.
The book was a good book, overall. It was not quite the intense thriller I expected. It actually seemed to move at a rather sedate pace, really. I didn’t feel much of a sense of urgency at all. I was intrigued, of course, and I did want to know who had kidnapped Diane, and why, and what would happen, but it wasn’t a breath-holding, panicked, stay-up-half-the-night-because-I-just-gotta-know-what-happened kind of book. It felt more like the characters would just pause, stand there and wait for my return when I needed/wanted to stop reading.
The plot seemed a bit thin, again with that lack of urgency. I won’t say there were gaping holes, because I don’t really think there were. But it just didn’t seem like a…meaty kind of book, if you know what I mean.
The characters were not really detailed, either, I felt. Some characters, such as Max Freeman and his girlfriend, Sherry, were obviously characters introduced in previous books. Therefore, I feel my lack of knowing them is more my own doing, since I haven’t read the other books in the series. But the judge and her husband didn’t seem to be very fleshed out either, and the kidnappers seemed rather one dimensional. I felt like I wanted to get to know everyone better, even the kidnappers, but every time I’d get a little taste of getting to know them, we’d bounce off somewhere else and never get back to getting to know them any better. It was a bit disappointing in that regard.
Does this mean I didn’t like the book? Not at all. I actually quite enjoyed it. While it wasn’t fast-paced, and I would have liked to see more character development and perhaps a thicker plot, the book still holds its own. It’s a nice little read when you want something you can enjoy without having to invest a lot of thought or time in, something you can read without feeling like you need to take notes in order to follow the plot.
As my first introduction to Max Freeman, I think I was intrigued enough to want to read another of his tales, get to know him a bit better and see if he’s the kind of hero I want to continue to read about.
Jonathon King has a good grasp of the descriptions of the Everglades, and Florida in general. I did enjoy reading a brief mention of the city of Ocala, which is near where I live and is the city in which I do my “city” activities (remember, I live in a very rural area).
Overall, Don’t Lose Her is great as a light read – perhaps a book to take to the beach or poolside, or some back porch reading in the morning before it gets too hot. It’s also a good read at bedtime – particularly since, if you need to get up early the next morning, you’ll be able to rather easily put it down.
Don’t Lose Her will be released on June 2, 2015, and you can pre-order/buy it here: