4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
As a new year dawns in the capital city, dual scandals rock the Metropolitan Police Department—and Lieutenant Sam Holland is right in the middle of them. Chief Farnsworth is catching heat for the way he handled a recent homicide investigation, and Detective Gonzales is accused of failing to disclose an earlier connection to the judge who decided his custody hearing.
When Gonzo’s fight for his child turns deadly and he has a shaky alibi, Sam must defend two of her closest colleagues. All while her husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano, settles into his new office at the White House.
Nick begins to wonder if the president is using him for a political boost, and his worries mount over a complication in the plans to adopt Scotty at a time when Sam is being put through the wringer by the always-rabid DC press corps. As the evidence against Gonzo piles up, Sam suspects someone is gunning for her—and her team.
Even when a book feels a bit too formulaic and the mystery isn’t so mysterious, you can still enjoy it. That’s how I feel about the Fatal series. I stay for Sam being a kick-ass career woman, who refuses to take a back seat for her husband’s very important career. I stay for Nick, who loves his wife and son beyond words. I stay for the added PoVs of the supporting characters, who are helping keep the narrative fresh. I stay because it’s nice to read a book where the bad guys get what they deserve and the good guys get a happyish- ending. Of course, it can’t be too happy, because then we wouldn’t get anymore books.
Time moves slowly in the Fatal universe; only a year has passed since the beginning of the series. In this installment, Marie Force seems to be tying up various threads, while opening up a few more that might take the series in a slightly different direction. Fatal Scandal wraps up the major Stahl arc and introduces a possible new villain in this Ramsey fellow. And with so many engagements and pregnancies happening this time around, I only hope that the crimes don’t take a back seat in the future. What I love about this series is the balance of romance and crime solving, though more time in Sam and Nick’s loft wouldn’t be a bad thing.
With its typical not-quite-cliffhanger endings, things are left open for Jeannie and Sam’s developing friendship and more Jeannie in general with the upcoming rape trial. Major things also seem to be happening with Sam’s dad, Skip, after his surgery. It’s not looking good so far. And of course, we have the inauguration and Nick actually being VP to look forward to. I can’t wait to see Sam try to be Second Lady.