Blurring The Line (The Firing Line #1) by Kierney ScottBlurring The Line by Kierney Scott
Published July 2014
Series: The Firing Line #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
four-half-stars
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.
 

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When DEA agent Beth Thomson recruits ex-soldier Armando Torres as an undercover agent, she knows she has hit the jackpot.

He will infiltrate ‘Los Zetas’, one of Mexico’s deadliest cartels, and expose their drug-running into the USA. In turn, she promises to turn a blind eye to him finding and killing the rival cartel member who shot his best friend. Beth is good at overlooking the gruesome details of her job; her focus is the bigger picture – nailing ‘El Escorpion’, the mysterious and most-wanted leader of the ‘Los Treintas’ gang.

Torres soon climbs the cartel ladder, and has the tattoo markings to prove his loyalty. So when a secret meet with Beth goes wrong, his cover is strong enough for him to save her from his fellow gang members. His silence hints at the horrors he has performed to get him where he is, and his brutality and strength both scare and arouse Beth simultaneously. The heat between them is unprofessional and yet undeniable. But has he gone rogue? Can Beth trust him to put her mission before his own revenge? And can she trust herself with him?

When DEA agent Beth Thomson hires Armando Torres into her team, she has no scruples whatsoever. She knew very well Torres would have his own personal reasons to go undercover to infiltrate the Los Zetas gang and find “El Escorpion”, leader of the rivaling cartel Los Treintas.

Now that Beth is one name closer to finding El Escorpion, she decides to meet with Torres in person after over 2 years to update him. Yet, during their meeting, Beth becomes more and more aware of the fact that Torres has been successfully working his way up the gang food chain and that he might have become rogue. That’s also when she realizes that she can’t shove the dirty details of Torres’ involvement with Las Zetas under the rug. She can’t forget that she was the one to put him into this situation in the first place. And last but not least, can she trust him enough to give him the name that he’s been looking for over two years?

But it’s too late to dwell on that, since their meeting went wrong, and a hit has been ordered on Beth’s head. Will Torres just let her be another necessary casualty for him to finally seek revenge for his best friend, or will he help Beth?

What I loved about this book:

  • The peculiar character set and their chemistry
  • The unusual context, and twists in the story
  • The breath of fresh air this story brings, and the very perfect pace!

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The actual gang war part wasn’t as detailed/explicit as I’d expected
  • The cliffhanger!

After having read tons of bleh books with excruciatingly slow pace, uneventful storylines and slightly stupid characters, Blurring The Line was a book that came just at the right time for me, with a perfect storyline and great characters that keep me on my toes throughout the book. My last reads pretty much revolved around sappy Navy/SEAL romances and office romances, and reading something darker with more action definitely brought me a breath of fresh air.

I absolutely loved how peculiar the characters were. Beth was a complete anti-hero to begin with: a less-than-average beauty, apparently married to her job, a cat-lady… and also a very strong and willed woman who isn’t scared about the huge taskforce that she’s been assigned, and hell-bent on finding the Los Treintas leader.

However, in all her determination, she is somehow scared of Torres and of what he represents. He slowly makes her realize that the reason why she’s been so fearless is her capability of ignoring and denying all the ugly truths – and she realizes she just can’t do this anymore. Yet, despite her fear of him, she also feels oddly comfortable with him and shares with him facts no one else knew about her. Beth is a very organized, rational, black or white person with some crazy traits. She pretty much doesn’t trust anyone apart from her mother and sister because she’s been burnt before, so opening up to Torres seems right to her, yet unnatural at the same time.

Torres was perfect too – in the beginning of Blurring The Line, it was difficult to gauge him: is he helping out Beth out of pity, out of personal interest for getting closer to his target, or is there really something about her he can’t resist? Is it because she represents the “normality” that had been missing from his life for 2 years now? Little by little, Torres morphed from an allegedly cold-hearted killer into a trustworthy partner and friend. And a playful and teasing lover, too. He has all the control and respect in the circles he operates in; yet, he can’t control himself around Beth. Beth and Torres are, at first glance, completely unlikely as a couple. But the chemistry between the two of them is definitely there, and becomes incredibly hot and leads to a lot of built-up tension and to some very steamy scenes.

“Objectively, you’re as average as they come. But fuck if I can be objective about you. To me, you are beautiful. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met and it pisses me off because I have no idea when or why it happened, but here we are.”

As far as the writing is concerned, I found it really great. It was a 3rd person narrative, mainly from Beth’s POV, but which sometimes jumped over to Torres’ thoughts. The pace was absolutely perfect and fostered a very enticing story an character development, as both Torres and Beth are confronted to many situations that do not come with a playbook. There were quite a few unexpected twists in the story and in the character’s actions. I enjoyed every page of it since Blurring The Line was definitely filled with action and suspense.

What’s more, the story does not only revolve around Beth and Torres’ involvement, but digs deeper into both their issues. While we are only scratching the surface as to why Torres is so dead bent on finding El Escorpion to act out his planned personal revenge, we do get the full scoop on Beth’s story. We actually learn that the DEA was not her career choice to begin with, and that there are bigger reasons forcing her to stick with her assigned taskforce and carrying it out until the end.

“Everything will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”

The only thing I found just a tad lacking in Blurring The Line was how the actual gang war/mission was described. While it is the whole motivation for Beth and Torres to even spend time together, all they do is travel and get phone calls from the offices informing them what’s going on. Apart from one specific scene, they are not actually doing anything, which I found strange. I also had a lot of difficulty grasping the time/space element: especially when it came to Torres, since he was always in a different place. Within a matter of hours, he would travel from Texas to Mexico (and back) or even be in Colombia the next hour . Yet, we never get the actual scoop of what’s happening or what he’s doing when he is there. But well, it didn’t mess that much with the whole reading experience so I can close an eye on that.

The last 20% of Blurring The Line were extremely enjoyable. However, it was less enjoyable seeing the page count increase and slowly realizing this book would leave a huge cliffhanger in its wake. needless to say I was so high-strung I went on Amazon as soon as I finished the book and put my hands on Part 2: Holding The Line, which features a very interesting and exciting blurb. Can’t wait to read on!

Detailed Rating
Storyline
4.5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Writing
4.5 Stars
All the feels
5 Stars
Overall: four-half-stars