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Friday, 5 June 2015

Book Review: Blurring the Line by Kierney Scott

Last Updated: 04 May 2021

Blurring the Line by Kierney Scott book cover

AD* | When DEA agent Beth Thomson recruits ex-soldier Armando Torres as an undercover agent, she knows she has hit the jackpot.

He will infiltrate ‘Los Zetas’, one of Mexico’s deadliest cartels, and expose their drug-running into the USA. In turn, she promises to turn a blind eye to him finding and killing the rival cartel member who shot his best friend. Beth is good at overlooking the gruesome details of her job; her focus is the bigger picture – nailing ‘El Escorpion’, the mysterious and most-wanted leader of the ‘Los Treintas’ gang.

Torres soon climbs the cartel ladder and has the tattoo markings to prove his loyalty. So when a secret meet with Beth goes wrong, his cover is strong enough for him to save her from his fellow gang members. His silence hints at the horrors he has performed to get him where he is, and his brutality and strength both scare and arouse Beth simultaneously. The heat between them is unprofessional and yet undeniable. But has he gone rogue? Can Beth trust him to put her mission before his own revenge? And can she trust herself with him?

Blurring the Line is the first book in Kierney Scott’s The Firing Line trilogy. It follows the story of DEA agent Beth Thomson as she works to find ‘El Escorpion’, the elusive leader of the Los Treintas gang.

But Beth’s work isn’t getting her anywhere. To help, she recruits ex-soldier Armando Torres as an undercover agent. Tasked with infiltrating Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s deadliest cartels, Torres needs to help Beth expose the gang’s drug-running into the USA. In return, Beth promises to turn a blind eye to Torres’ goal of finding and killing the rival cartel member who killed his best friend.

It doesn’t take long for Torres to climb up the ranks within the cartel, and soon even Beth has to question his loyalty. Who does Torres really work for? Can she trust him? And why can’t Beth stop thinking about him?

I’ve read a lot of positive reviews of this book, so when I was sent a review copy I was pretty excited to read it myself. Unfortunately though, Blurring the Line didn’t manage to live up to my expectations.

I’m not saying it was bad, because it wasn’t. It was okay… Just nothing more than that.

I suppose in the end this book wasn’t really my kind of thing. Although I regularly read books from every genre out there, sometimes a book just doesn’t connect with me for whatever reason.

But regardless of all that – God, do I want to buy the next book so I can find out what happens next! This book has one of the best cliff-hanger endings I’ve read for a long time. It’s not just on the edge of the cliff, it’s teetering right on the very edge on the most unstable bit of ground possible. So I warn you, if you read this book, you will have to read the next one too! (Holding the Line, book two in the series, is currently on my Goodreads to-read shelf!)

But anyway, back to the review.

Especially at the start, the author didn’t really marry the two components of the story (the romance and the DEA/cartel stuff) together well. They felt mismatched, like two completely different books had been merged together, and not well at that. But in fairness, this did improve throughout the book.

I also got a bit confused with all the cartel and drug-running stuff. It obviously didn’t help that I know virtually nothing about that world anyway, but I do think it could have been made clearer. I kept forgetting who people were and what was happening, which often made me lose the thread of the plot. But despite that, sadly the whole thing was a bit predictable. It was obvious that Beth and Torres would get together and the cartel would eventually be brought down, and there were no real surprises until the very end with that cliff-hanger ending.

Beth is a good character, she’s complicated and intriguing. But I couldn’t help wondering if she’s supposed to be an OCD workaholic cat-lady, why are so many men falling in love with her? It just seems contradictory. Plus Beth herself had a massive U-turn with her feelings about Torres. One minute she’s scared out of her wits around him, the next she’s inexplicably in love with him. It’s not logical, and it doesn’t really make sense. Also, the whole backstory and subplot with her family seemed a little over-the-top and unbelievable. Was it all entirely necessary? I can only assume it’s there as a set-up for the rest of the series.

I also liked the character of Torres. My only criticism is that I needed his backstory to be clearer. His motivation could have been portrayed in a much better way – we know he joined the cartel to get the chance to avenge his best friend, but I wanted to have more depth than that. Considering he’s one of the main characters, I would have liked some more information so I could relate to him more.

One particular feature I liked about the book was the fact that the cartel and gang members had redeeming features. It’s obvious that they were the villains, but they weren’t just bog-standard two-dimensional baddies. Granted, they didn’t have particularly significant redeeming qualities, but no-one is completely bad, and it was refreshing to have an author recognise that.

So to summarise, Blurring the Line was okay. Not outstanding, but definitely not bad either. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t really invested in the story or the majority of the characters, so I didn’t have that all-important emotional connection. It’s a shame, but there you go.

Rating: 3 stars

Blurring the Line is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 

Will you be reading Blurring the Line? Let me know in the comments below!

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