Hit & Run is the first book I’ve read by Freya Barker. I don’t believe it will be my last, provided I can find the time to read everything I want to read. While there is so much to discuss in this story, I want to focus on only a few points.
The two main characters are compelling and relatable.
In Rose, you’ve got an innocent, unsuspecting woman who sees something she wasn’t supposed to see and suddenly this puts her in danger. She is a character the reader immediately relates to because she is your average, overworked, underpaid, 40 something single woman who’s hopes and dreams were never realized because life happened. When I say life, I mean the ailing health of her mother who never thought too highly of her in the first place.
In Jake, you’ve got a military veteran with an unspeakable past who has chosen to cope with life as a civilian by turning to a big-time, family owned private security firm. Things are going well in this firm until their key client does something he shouldn’t have done. In protecting the client, he finds himself hopeless drawn to Rose.
In Grant, you have Rose’s best friend, confidant, and coworker who is a flamboyant, large gay black man. I love this character, and a lot of his lines are funny and don’t seem contrived at all. But, I do fear they do toe the line between being a little too cliche. In some sense, he plays a form of comic relief to Rose’s tragic character. He also served to push her beyond her tragic situation and go for what she most desperately needs while reminding her to proceed with caution. He also reminds her of all of the things that make her exceptional attractive, and I am not just referring to her physical traits.
The overarching conflict in this story is compelling.
I touched upon this a little in my character descriptions, but I’ll go a little further. Basically, Rose is tracked by an unknown assailant out to silence her, even though she has literally said nothing of what she has seen. What first begins as an assignment to keep Rose safe, because a struggle for Jake to keep things professional. I won’t go into detail how this works out. But, I will say, Rose definitely has her eyes for Jake. So, there are two arcs occurring simultaneously: the sexual attraction turned beautiful romance and the ever present danger of just staying alive.
It unfolds in a smooth, natural way. There does seem to be a couple, with the most prominent being Jake rushing to see Rose because he realizes she is likely in danger. Then, he seems to forget about this completely and the reader is launched into a steamy sex scene. Later, Jake realizes he never told her about the danger. So , I’m left wondering how much of a military veteran and security professional Jake really is that he’s let himself turn to his most base desires for sex. But, that was the only point where I felt the story fell a little short in believability. Simply because I was lead to believe this danger to be so incredibly urgent that he had to rush to Rose, only for the two to wind up having sex.
A lot of stories end, then putter along for another twenty pages to wrap up the arc. When I got to the last 20% of the story, that’s what I though Ms. Barker was doing. But I was pleasantly surprised by an unresolved conflict that worked itself out in the end. I say that, because I’d completely forgotten about the detail dropped so much early and so quickly. I was also pleasantly surprised that my own prediction was correct, though the reasons why it was correct was also a surprise.
Craft, style, etc.
Suddenly there are a bunch of books out for adults that are written in first person present tense. When did that become a thing? For some reason, it works. Or, at the very least, Freya Barker makes it work exceptionally well. The present tense gives this story a sense of urgency, happening in the now feel. It also, in some ways, plays out like a film, even at the moments where we are getting into the character’s head.
This story is also told from alternating points of view between Rose and Jake. The voices are distinct from each other throughout, so it’s very clear who is speaking even without the subheading indicating it as belonging to Jake or Mary.
Regarding the employment of sex in the story.
I would describe it as poetic, rather than pornographic or erotic. It is an expression of love that does develop and build over the course of the story, culminating into something very beautiful in the final encounter.