JoAnn Ross sets her latest romantic thriller, No Safe Place, in post-Katrina New Orleans "where folks have a certain way of doing things."
Chicago homicide detective Kate Delaney travels to New Orleans after she learns her twin sister has committed suicide. Certain her sister was murdered and unfamiliar with the city, she hires a private investigator to assist her in learning the truth. The PI she chooses, Nick Broussard, ex-Navy SEAL and ex-NOPD, seems perfect for the job: he's intelligent, physically fit, motivated, resourceful, good with weapons, and - not necessarily a bad thing - reckless.
That they find an immediate mutual physical attraction is a given; whether they will act on it is another matter. After all, Kate's sister is dead and she has a lot of unanswered questions. The last thing she needs is some Cajun hotshot scrambling her mind.
As a romantic thriller, the emphasis in No Safe Place is heavy on the romance and light on the thrills and suspense. There is almost nothing in the way of atmosphere: Kate and Nick could be on a boat in Seattle, or Bar Harbor, or Miami. This is unfortunate since New Orleans is practically synonymous with sensuous and sultry. Character development is non-existent and the plot is mostly recycled. The vast majority of the narrative can be attributed to either Kate or Nick as verbal, mental, or physical interplay. It's a bit tedious in places, but interesting enough to keep the pages turning.
However, where No Safe Place fails is in some sloppy editing. Time frames appear to be arbitrary. Characters forget things that they previously knew. Inconsistencies in the plot, rarely a strong point in this genre anyway, are conveniently overlooked. Fans of the author's previous novels will forgive these lapses; new readers may not.