|Marie Ferrarella has always been a favorite of mine and she does not disappoint in this new entry in the Cavanaugh family series. She mixes romance and suspense without too much angst in the suspense part and without too much sentimentality in the romance section. I truly enjoyed Cavanaugh Judgment.
Greer O’Brien is a Cavanaugh by birth even if she just discovered the family connection recently. Raised thinking her father was a decorated war hero, she and her brothers were shocked when her mother revealed on her deathbed that they were really the children of deceased cop Mike Cavanaugh. The Cavanaughs were surprised too, but welcomed them into the family with open arms.
Greer is a detective and a good one. She was in court testifying in a drug case, hoping to put Eddie Munro behind bars for a long time. At the start of a lunch recess, Munro however, decided he wanted out. He grabbed a bailiff’s gun and tried to shoot the judge. He made his escape even as Greer jumped from the witness stand to tackle the judge in order to protect him from getting shot. That act of heroism (or stupidity depending on whose opinion you asked) has now earned her the protection detail of said judge.
Judge Blake Kincannon is just a little older than Greer and they have a history. Several years ago, Greer was the first cop on scene when a drunk driver sideswiped Blake’s car and his wife was killed. Greer did CPR for 15 minutes but could not save her. Greer and Blake had never discussed the situation but Greer felt a bit uncomfortable that she had let him down. Blake knew who Greer was but he has been determined and mostly successful in burying himself in his work and not thinking about that night. Between his work and taking care of his aging ex-Marine father, he has had his hands full. He appreciates that Greer saved him but resents the intrusion into his well-ordered lifestyle.
Greer moves in, quickly building a good rapport with Gunny, Blake’s dad. She gets them all invited for dinner at the main Cavanaugh home, endearing Gunny for life. The fact that she is cute and can actually cook seals the deal. Blake is not so easily won over. He liked his life to be orderly, predictable and basically mundane. He didn’t have to think or feel that way. But Greer disrupts his equilibrium. He is attracted for the first time since his wife’s death. He is enervated by their sparring and by Greer’s natural charm. He fights his attraction all the way and Greer has convinced her mind that she is imaging the feelings she feels because it is easier and it is less daunting than thinking that she might actually be falling for someone.
The danger is generally in the background, with minimal reminders that it is there until the finale. This is one weakness of the story. Granted this criminal was a really bad guy, but how many police departments are going to keep one on one protection for over a month if ever. They didn’t rotate; Greer basically moved into their house. While this seemed a little over the top, if you could buy this part, the story itself was well written, engaging and highly entertaining.
The resolution to the suspense is well done, with a few unexpected twists at the end. The ending to the love story is handled equally well. The style of Ferrarella shines and the reader probably won’t mind some of the obviousness or the sentimental ending. Cavanaugh Judgment is a good addition to the series and readers who have not read the previous entries will not be left out in the cold.