Leverage by Nancy Thompson

I waited for Nancy Thompson’s sequel to her high-tension debut novel, The Mistaken, with a lot of excited anticipation. And it lived up to my expectations.

Leverage takes place a few years after where The Mistaken left off and follows Tyler, Hannah, and Hannah’s son Connor as evils from their past, which they thought had been long-buried, return with vengeance. Connor believes his college friend was pushed off his balcony to his death rather than having jumped, and then he falls in love his dead friend’s girlfriend. Tyler looks into the death of Connor’s friend to find that the Russian mafia folks he thought he’d dealt with a few years ago may be back for him. Tyler will do anything to protect his family from the rage and menace of the mafia, even if it means committing the one act he promised himself he’d never do again: murder.

Leverage has a high level of suspense, even more so than The Mistaken. The non-stop action makes it impossible to put down. The plot points are strung together will skill at a perfect pace, forming a cohesive story that is satisfying emotionally. Similarly, the characters have realistic emotions that are relevant to their situation and are superbly portrayed in the writing on every page. The only times where the characters’ reactions are a bit strange are when they have sex at relatively unrealistic times, like when they are in extreme danger. However, these scenes are written well and will have romance fans enjoying the story and these sensual scenes immensely. Nancy Thompson shows her skill in developing and conveying her characters’ emotional depth to great reader satisfaction in Leverage.

While all the protagonists are super attractive (which is sometimes hard to believe but definitely fits as a trope of the romance thriller genre), their personalities are what shine in the story. Tyler's flaws are real and scary, making him a very complex protagonist. His anger issues and secret-keeping are part of what makes this novel so emotionally engaging. Since his character is so well developed, I felt true frustration when he did something he thought was for the best but which definitely was not. Tyler's perspective makes sense based on his prior experience. He doesn't succumb as a character to being too good or bad to be true: he feels like a real person, and his personality is consistent throughout the book. Same goes for Hannah and Connor. It's because they are not perfect protagonists that they feel real and therefore emotionally compelling.

It's hard to tell if there could be a third book in the series, based on the book's ending. But no matter what happens, I will be eager to read the next book Nancy Thompson publishes!

You can find Nancy Thompson on her blog here, and on Twitter here.