Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review ~ THE HACKER by Nancy Herkness

The Hacker (The Consultants, #2)
by: Nancy Herkness
Series: The Consultants
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Montlake Romance

When a personal trainer and a computer genius are caught in the dark web, there’s a lot to fear and a love to fight for in a heart-racing novel by Nancy Herkness, award-winning author of The Money Man.

Dawn Galioto is an expert in self-defense and the most in-demand personal trainer at her Jersey gym—a perfect position for a woman fighting her way out of a troubled past and the anxieties that come with it. Then, after complaints about baffling Wi-Fi glitches at the gym, Dawn calls in disarmingly hot, high-powered computer consultant Leland Rockwell. If she can trust anyone to fix her on-the-job problems, it’s Leland. As for healing her off-hours fears, time will tell.

The cybersecurity genius of KRG, Leland sees a lot to admire in Dawn. She’s strong, quick-witted, and sexy. And something of a puzzle—one Leland wants very much to solve. If only she’d let him. Every new reveal brings him intimately closer to Dawn, but there’s another, more dangerous riddle to decipher. After going undercover to solve her Wi-Fi problem, Leland’s found a dark workplace secret. As Dawn’s past threatens a burgeoning romance, the deepening mystery they’re discovering threatens their lives.

I generally don’t review books that are DNF’s for me. However, my reason for not finishing Nancy Herkness’s The Hacker was because I felt blindsided by what was in the book, and left shaken. I wanted to warn others, so they wouldn’t feel the way I did.

The Hacker is one of those books that NEEDS to come with a trigger warning. Nowhere does Nancy or Montlake mention that there is at least one scene in the book that could be a trigger for someone. Not on a page at the front of the book, not on Nancy’s website, or any of her social media accounts. The blurb only mentions the heroine, Dawn, has a troubled past.

Dawn and Leland know each other because their best friends from The Money Man are now engaged to be married. The two have spent time together as part of the group, but have never really been one on one with each other. When some of Dawn’s clients at the gym she works for start complaining about wi-fi not working and attempts by management to fix the problem seem to fail, Dawn turns to Leland for help. What he uncovers is more than he expected and becomes a problem he can’t turn his back on. During this time, the two act on their mutual attraction. Leland knows that Dawn is holding herself back, but he doesn’t know why.

60% into the book, Dawn relives what happened to her at the age of 19/20 years old when she was seconds away from being sexually assaulted by three guys. I think Nancy is a wonderful author. She writes scenes that really put the reader into them. Dawn reliving the most tragic day of her life was no different. As I said, there was no warning this scene was going to be in the book. Dawn and Leland went from having a really good time in the pool, to her remembering what the day was like and what she was doing. Now, for some people, this might not be a big deal. But for others, this is real. The scene Nancy described has happened to someone. In fact, I will say it has happened hundreds of times to multiple someones. I feel it is callous to put the scene into the book and just be like oh well. It’s as if the thought is that someone who has been assaulted wouldn’t read a romance book. The romance genre is all about overcoming your past to find love.

Reading is escapism for people. Reading romance allows you to fall in love over and over again. People need to know that they are worthy and deserving of love. People need to know that their past doesn't dictate their future. Men and women need to know that there are good, decent, understanding people in the world, just waiting to meet them and fall in love with them. People who won't treat them poorly. Authors and publishers are in a fantastic position. They have the power to let readers know that through the books they produce that all of this is true. They just need to remember there's a fine line between fiction and reality. Things authors and editors think up can, will, and do happen. Give readers a heads up. Let them decide if they are in a place where they won’t be traumatized.

While I stopped reading The Hacker at 60% of the way through, I can say the true suspense part is extremely slow going. Outside of knowing something really bad is happening at the gym, the suspense is non-existent. I have no doubt that there will be a scene or chapter that will ramp things up and have you on the edge of your seat, as Nancy did in The Money Man.

**Received an ARC from the author and reviewed voluntarily.**

Rating: 1 Star DNF at 60%

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