Books & Literature

Book Review: Hot Pursuit, by Rebecca Freeborn

Armed only with her instincts and some scant personal information from a brief encounter, frustrated journalist Sarah Burrows jets off to Europe with her ex’s best mate in search of a missing person. But to get the story, they’ll have to learn to navigate Europe and their tricky personal circumstances.

Want a whirlwind trip through Barcelona, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam? With Rebecca Freeborn’s debut novel, Hot Pursuit, you’ve got it! This powerful new women’s fiction writer is putting cosy mysteries with a good dash of adventure, danger, and romance firmly back on the ‘must read’ list.

Sarah Burrows is a frustrated journalist who wants a chance at the hard-hitting investigative stories but is stuck writing a beauty column for gossip rag, Women’s Choice. On top of that, she’s heartbroken and broke after her boyfriend up-and-left without explanation. Life seems pretty grey until one night out with friends, she meets a mysterious, sexy Scotsman. In an attempt to get over her ex, the two nearly hook-up but inexplicably, the Scotsman disappears before anything other than a good chat eventuates.

Next morning, doubly dejected, Sarah learns her stranger is an indie musician, famous in Europe and now wanted for murder. He’s skipped the country and Sarah thinks she might just know where he’s hiding. An inexperienced journalist, Sarah nevertheless convinces her dragon-lady boss to send her on the trail of what could be the story to make her career and save the house she’s now paying for solo.

Armed only with her instincts, scant personal information gleaned from the encounter, and her feisty outlook on life, Sarah jets off to Europe. There’s just one fly in her ointment – photographer Nick who’s been sent with her. Nick is charming, sexy and annoying as all hell. He’s also Sarah’s ex’s best mate, and one-time-lover. The two do not get along. At all. But to get the story, they’ll have to learn to navigate Europe and their tricky personal circumstances together.

Hot Pursuit takes the reader through some of the world’s most famous and beautiful cities. If you’ve been there, you’ll recognise many of the settings in this story and if you haven’t, it will make you want to go. The chase for the missing musician whips along at a cracking pace, matched only by the cracking jibes that fly between Nick and Sarah. The writing is top-grade, dialogue witty and descriptions of food will make your mouth water.

Romance is certainly a big part of this fun read, but it never overtakes the main plot and that mystery will keep you guessing right till the end. Sarah is a flawed, likeable protagonist who feels like a friend from the first page, and Nick surprises by showing he’s far more than the sexy but arrogant pig he first seems. There are plenty of unexpected twists and the story takes on a far darker turn than you might expect. And if you can predict the end, you’re one heck of an experienced crime reader!

It’s about time fun, quippy, fierce women’s fiction made its way back onto publisher’s lists and it’s heartening to see this rip-roaring read out in the world. Thank goodness it’s the first in a series because I can’t wait to see more of Sarah and Nick.

Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Twitter: @SamStaceyBond

Rating out of 10:  10

Distributed by: PanteraPress
Released: April 2018
RRP: $29.99

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