Crash into Me immediately hooked me in during the first few pages. Sonny was the type of heroine I love, tough, brave, determined and kick-ass. You see her kick a fellow cocky (male) agent’s butt in the first chapter and can’t help but grin.
Our hero is sexy, recluse and surf pro Ben, if a little arrogant, trying to raise his slightly wayward teenage daughter and hiding himself away from the world since his wife’s murder, which he became a prime suspect for. As another woman is found murdered in exactly the same way, Sonny goes in under cover with the aim of getting close to Ben.
There are many parts to the plot. The core of it focuses around the murder mystery, there are several contenders for the villain and the story weaves its way cleverly until the end. I did guess the killer, but I seem to be doing that a lot lately, maybe I’m reading too many mysteries? So I didn’t hold that against it. Then you have the relationship between Sonny and Ben, the relationship between Ben and his daughter Carly who is self-harming herself, and there is the love story between Carly and James an abused, but brave fisherman’s son. There are so many components to the story, that it is a very detailed and layered book. It is written with obvious warmth and passion, but it also becomes perhaps slightly cumbersome at times because of it. There was a hell of a lot going on – romance, teen romance, suspense and murder mystery, as well as drug and psychological problems, it could easily have been stretched out into two books
I loved both love stories that of Ben and Sonny which was fiery, sexy, complex and wild. Then in contrast the tenderness and youth of Carly and James was a lovely comparison. The ‘grown up’ relationship tempered the angst of the young-adult one. Each character has got some very serious issues. As I mentioned Carly self-harms and James has an abusive father, then you have Ben who is a recovered alcoholic/drug-addict and Sonny herself who has been raped years before. It doesn’t make this book a light read, but it does make it interesting and each of the characters rounded and multi-dimensional.
The undercover part of the story was the part that didn’t always sit that comfortably. You watch Ben and Sonny begin to fall in love, where Ben doesn’t even know Sonny’s real name, and she’s running behind his back stealing items for evidence. There’s a part of me that knows this was meant to be part of the – is he, isn’t he the killer – plot, but it didn’t make the love story very clean for a while, and in general I like clear cut.
I disliked how Sonny went through a stage of inadvertently doing everything to discredit herself as a good cop. Sleeping with the suspect, lying about developments, hiding evidence and not confessing her own personal involvement. It all went a bit too far. Especially as Sonny is portrayed as such a career cop, it didn’t sit well with how her character. I think is because I liked her so much, it annoyed me that she did such crazy things.
But as much as these elements irritated, I still really did enjoy this story. I loved how Ben was arrogant at the beginning thinking how easy it would be to sleep with Sonny and she led him on a merry dance. The Carly and James story really was lovely, I think James was the best character of the book actually, so brave and tortured and noble. Carly did need a good slap a couple of times, but she grew on me. The surfing setting was great, I loved the beach and was jealous of the glorious weather.
Crash into Me did have a few issues where there was too much going on or the characters didn’t behave in a way either I didn’t like, or didn’t quite sit well. There was also some personal developments in Sonny’s life that didn’t get concluded. But overall it was a really good read, with some great romance, against a super backdrop. I will definitely read something by Jill Sorenson again.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Crash into Me by Jill Sorenson
Bantam (Jan 2009)
Ebook: 464 pages