REVIEW – The Man Behind the Cop
Author: Janice Kay Johnson
Copyright: 2008 (Harlequin); 243 pgs.
Series: Harlequin Superromance #1489
Who: Karin Jorgenson and Bruce Walker
Where: Seattle, Washington
The Man Behind the Cop is an intense read. The book deals with domestic abuse and kidnapping. Both the main characters are in professions that deal with these issues on a daily basis.
Most of the story is told through the eyes of Bruce Walker, a homicide cop with the Seattle Police Department. Bruce participates in the Big Brother program and he is a mentor to twelve-year-old Trevor DeShon. He is also about to start teaching self-defense classes at a women’s mental health clinic where the heroine, Karin Jorgenson, works.
Karin is a counselor at A Woman’s Hand. Her patients are women who have been abused or have been raped. One of her patients, Lenora, has finally decided to take her children and leave her abusive and controlling husband. Karin has given her specific instructions on what NOT to do when leaving an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, Lenora fails to heed all the advice and she is brutally attacked outside the clinic. Lenora is grievously wounded and it is not known if, or when, she will regain consciousness. Worst of all, her children have been taken and their safety is in question.
Close by when the attack occurred – but not close enough to have seen or stop it — Bruce takes the case. He is the product of an abusive household. His father was controlling and he took his anger out on his sons. Bruce’s mother never did anything to stop it nor had the guts to take her sons and leave. Being a cop and volunteering to mentor Trevor, and teaching self defense to abused women are his way of helping others in similar situations. Bruce’s biggest fear is that he’ll turn into his father. He doesn’t dare risk getting seriously involved with a woman and having kids is even further out of the question. He’s extremely fond of Trevor, but let’s the boy down when he refuses to be his foster father after Trevor’s mother disappears. Disappointing Trevor bothers Bruce and the situation is made worse, as far as Bruce is concerned, when child services informs him that Trevor’s father will be getting custody of the boy. Wade DeShon, a recovering alcoholic, used to hit his wife. Bruce is convinced that Wade hasn’t changed at all.
Bruce and Karin have an instant attraction and Bruce can’t seem to stop thinking about her. While he’s investigating the disappearance of Lenora’s children, he finds himself wondering what her opinion would be on things he learns and what she might be doing at any given moment. As for Karin, she’s fallen in love with him, but she also realizes that she has her work cut for her. She wants to help Bruce understand that he isn’t like his father and that he’s great, loving man. Bruce’s ability to excuse Trevor’s drug addict mother — who’s probably dead — but can’t give Wade the benefit of the doubt, frustrates Karin. He can’t seem to accept that some people can change, especially if there is a strong motivation for the change.
This is definitely Bruce’s book. He’s a great character, even when he’s stubbornly clinging to the belief that he’ll morph into his father if he got too angry or pissed off. Fortunately, Karin is a grounded, quiet person. Normally. The scene where she gets into his face about his issues is my favorite. It didn’t surprise me when this book was nominated for a RITA.
Started: 19 March 2009
Finished: 23 March 2009