Series: New York's Finest #1
Published by Forever on July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.
Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.
First of all, and I’m not the first to mention this, that cover is all wrong. The first real description we have of Luc is from Ava’s point of view – “…tall, broad shouldered, and gorgeously dark-haired.” A few pages later she references his “…dark hair and Italian coloring.” There are several other references to his dark hair and “dramatic” coloring as well. The cover does not match that description at all. I know authors don’t have a lot of say in their covers, so I doubt Lauren Layne chose it, but it makes you wonder if whoever did design it ever looked at the basic description of the book or its characters.
Anyway – on to the book itself. I struggled with this one. Ava Sims is a reporter who wants to do a story on Luc, the NYPD officer who recently made headlines diving into the river to save a little girl who had fallen in. Luc absolutely, unequivocally does not want to do this, but the order comes down from higher up, and he doesn’t really have a choice. They want to turn it into a three-hour special, so Ava is planning to shadow Luc for 2 months in order to get the story she needs. Sexy times ensue.
I struggled with several aspects of this. The story itself… Look, Luc dove into that river a few months ago, and some tourists caught it on video on their phones and uploaded it to YouTube or something, so now Luc can’t walk ten feet without someone, usually a woman, stopping him for a selfie or asking him to sign their bras or something. That concept, in a book released in 2015, rings a little hollow to me. Internet celebrity is fleeting. Even though Luc is a gorgeous man in a uniform, it seems a little unlikely to me that months after the fact, a grainy cell phone video is still generating this much reaction. And 2015 was not a great year for the public image of cops in general and the NYPD in particular. Not that any of that was referenced in this book. So I can understand Luc’s higher ups wanting to cash in on the little bit of positive press they’ve gotten. I just can’t really understand a national outlet wanting to do this story, a three-hour primetime special, no less, on a story that’s months old.
Luc’s main reason for not wanting to do the story is that he wants to avoid the spotlight. Another case he was involved with around the same time as the river dive went very badly, and he wants to avoid any mention of that, and wants to be sure none of the people involved in that story are named or brought into the spotlight. It’s pretty obvious from the first time we meet Luc’s family that they’re hiding something from him about that other case. And this is another thing that bugged me about the story. Without giving anything away, what they’re hiding is fairly unlikely. In a story that was so dependent on internet fame and reporters digging around looking for stories, it’s highly improbable that Luc’s family would have been able to keep this particular bit of info from Luc and from the press in general. View Spoiler »A little girl had been kidnapped. Luc and his partner were confident they’d found her, but they had to wait for confirmation of a warrant before they went barreling in to the house where she was being held and rescued her. While they were waiting, the little girl was killed, and when they did finally go in, Luc’s partner was killed. Luc’s father, the chief of police, paid off the press to keep everything under wraps. That’s just… it’s not a thing that could happen. A cop was killed. The NYPD is an enormous organization. There is no way paying off some reporters would result in absolutely not one word of the dead cop getting out. There’s just no way. Also – I’m not a cop, and most of my knowledge of cop procedure comes from Law & Order marathons, but I really thought that if a cop truly believed someone was in danger, they could enter a residence? Does anyone know the rules there? I mean if an on-duty cop is walking a street and hears someone in a house screaming for help, they don’t have to wait for a warrant, do they? I would have thought that if they truly believed a kidnapped child was inside a certain residence and was in danger of being killed, they could have gone in. But, again, I’m not a cop. « Hide Spoiler
Luc and Ava were a little hard to root for, too. Luc really, really did not want to do the special, and he’s a dick about it to Ava. I mean, truly a dick to her and her co-workers. Refusing to answer questions, not giving her any information she needs, just generally acting like a toddler having a tantrum. Ava dealt with it a lot better than I would have (obviously, since she ended up sleeping with him). Even once he seems to come to an understanding about the fact that this is going to happen whether he goes along with it or not, he eases up a bit, but only a bit. He still comes across as a dick to most of the people around him. As an example, he goes into the studio to film a part of the interview, and flips at when the makeup artist comes toward him. He’s a dick to her, a dick to Ava about it and refuses to listen to anyone who tries to tell him he needs it. They weren’t coming at him with eyeliner and mascara, by the way. They just wanted to put a little powder or something on his face so he wasn’t glowing on camera. But instead of realizing that these people are professionals who know what they’re doing and certainly know better than he does how this is going to look on TV, he’s a jerk and refuses, then looks completely exhausted and crappy on TV. I’m a big believer in listening to people who are good at what they do. Cop info, makeup artistry, reporting? Nope, I will never tell those people I know more than they do and I will always listen to what they advise. Now, filing, invoicing, travel schedules, keeping a completely scatter-brained engineer in line? That I can do. I am the expert there – you should listen to me if you have questions about those topics.
Ava was hard to understand. She was so ambitious, completely focused on her career, but also didn’t want her career? Her family is one of those super-successful families where nothing is good enough unless you’re the absolute top. Ava’s local reporting gig is frivolous and ridiculous because she’s not a national anchor. So she’s been pushing herself to be a national anchor when what she really wants is to be an investigative reporter. But even once she figures out that she doesn’t want to be a national anchor, she continues to do things to further that part of her career. It was a little hard to understand.
Luc’s family, on the other hand, was fantastic and the reason I’ll probably read the next 2 books in this series even though I didn’t love this one. All of the men in the family are cops, his mom and dad met when she was his secretary. His sister, Elena, isn’t a cop, she’s a defense attorney. Luc’s dad says that he didn’t want Elena to be a cop because he “loves his only daughter”, which brings up some pretty gross gender politics at work in this family since all four sons are cops, but I liked Elena and would love to read her story, if she gets one.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough. Bottom line – this wasn’t my favorite Lauren Layne book, but I’ll keep reading the series anyway.