Review: Over the Line by Kelly Irvin

Over the Line by Kelly Irvin
Sarah Grace's Rating: 3 out of 5 bookmarks

Kelly Irvin is the author of numerous Amish fiction books, but Over the Line marks her fourth foray into the romantic suspense genre. Released June 11, 2019, by Thomas Nelson, this book is a wild ride into the border town of Loredo, Texas. Irvin uses her experience as a reporter on the Texas-Mexico border as the inspiration for her suspense fiction.

Gabriella Benoit finds herself drawn into a dangerous scenario involving cartels, gun smuggling, corrupt law enforcement officers, and a kidnapped ATF agent who also happens to be her brother. And her ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, is not going to let her face the danger alone. As Gabriella and Eli travel to Loredo to find her brother, Gabby's sister, two children, and a friend find themselves sucked into the danger. I loved the family element Irvin includes with these two sisters; the relationship was very sweet and realistic, and Gabby's interactions with her niece and nephew were adorable as well. Deacon Alder is a friend of Gabby's, and with her sister, Natalie, in danger, he couldn't help but get involved. I loved watching Deacon and Natalie's relationship evolve over the course of the book. I honestly wouldn't have minded if Deacon and Natalie were the main characters.

Kelly Irvin
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On that note, I have to admit I struggled greatly with understanding and liking our main characters throughout 80% of the book. Understandably so, Gabby carries a heavy load of bitterness toward Eli for past grievances. I could understand her angst, but when it saturated every single moment between the two characters--coupled with the awkward physical attraction--it just became too much and I grew frustrated with the both of them. Eli apparently has a past that haunts him, but no matter how much he tries to convince Gabby he loves her, he absolutely refuses to discuss his past or really anything personal at all. A relationship can't be built on that kind of silence, and I don't blame Gabby for trying to avoid Eli. But in the few years since they broke up, Eli practically stalks Gabby; regularly following her home, sitting in his car outside her restaurant, etc. As a side character told Eli: "If you weren't a cop, you would be considered a stalker." Eli also frequently treats Gabby like a child, telling her what she can and can't do, stealing her car keys to stop her from leaving town without him, and more. His actions and domineering attitude were more harassment than "love," although Eli claims he only wants to protect her. Sorry, that's inexcusable, and if I were Gabby, I'd be running the other way as fast as possible.

Granted, these are flawed characters, as we all are. But if I completely despise the main character...I think it might have been taken too far. Characters are everything to me in a story, so if I don't even like or am not able to relate to them, the book is not going to be a favorite of mine.

Story-wise, this one is a wild ride! Drama, suspense, mystery, and action combine throughout the book and kept me on the edge of my seat! I had no inkling of the conclusion until the end. The ending did surprise me in that the characters' arcs were wrapped up differently than I expected--but in a good way. Forgiveness and redemption are the main themes the author uses very realistically to wrap up the story. I enjoyed Irvin's vibrant writing style that describes the scene in a unique and colorful manner. One other issue I struggled with: throughout the book, there is minor swearing, abbreviations for crude language or swear words, and other rather crude phrases. These were all completely unnecessary in the context and only drew me out of the story.

All in all, if you are looking for a suspense-y read with lots of drama, give this one a shot!

Sarah Grace is a voracious reader, and if it weren’t for this crazy thing called “Life”, she’d be tempted to spend all her days in front of a woodstove, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other. A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things, and has more hobbies than she knows what to do with. When not reading, spending time with her ever-growing family, or buried in a textbook, she can be found painting, playing the piano, producing music and audio dramas, web designing, fangirling with her sisters and friends, or discussing technology with her brothers. Sarah Grace inhabits the State of Great Lakes and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a free copy of this book for promotional purposes. A favorable review was not required. This post contains affiliate links.

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