Anne Marsh’s “Hot Zone” will probably be either hit or miss for a novella of its length. I was able to read a short blurb of it in the Winter release snippet for Kensington Books, then requested a galley of it. The story revolves around a woman on the run named Sarah Jo who happens to come upon a group of firefighters while working for a group of cooks. The cooks have this thing each year where they randomly kiss the firefighters, and Sarah Jo just so happens to pick Dade to plant a steamy kiss upon.
Dade’s caught off his guard (in more ways than one), and there’s a bit of an insta-lust between them after the said kiss and some romantic interludes. But Sarah Jo carries a secret and much of it has to do with a deputy (Thad) who’s hard nosed about pursuing her.
I honestly think that if this had been given novel treatment, it would’ve had a little more standing for the story it presented. (There were a few ick points with me, such as Sarah Jo’s drive by kiss meeting with Dade and also Dade’s reluctance to untie Sarah Jo after a rough encounter. But there may be some people who aren’t as bothered by that as I was.) It’s a decent effort for a mystery/suspense/thriller with romantic interludes, but it felt just a touch too quick for me to digest. I felt that even for the major characters established – Sarah Jo, Dade, and Thad – something was missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I realized that there could’ve been more development.
Still, quick read and a decent effort for what it provided. I’d read more from Anne Marsh in the future, notably to see how her longer work comes across.
Overall: 2.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Kensington.