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#Book Review #A Thin Disguise (Richter 2) by Catherine Bybee #Romantic Suspense @Montlake

A former gun for hire and a federal agent find themselves on the right side of love but the wrong end of a bullet in this Richter installment from New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee.

On a fateful night in Las Vegas, FBI agent Leo Grant is working on a critical detail in a high-profile child prostitution trial when a beautiful woman jumps into the path of a bullet meant for him. Little does Leo know that the woman is Olivia, an ex-assassin who is seeking redemption one good deed at a time.

One minute, Olivia is lunging in front of Leo on the Vegas Strip. The next, she’s waking up in the hospital in a haze of pain with no memory of her past, her enemies, or even her own name.

With Olivia suffering from memory loss and completely unaware of the danger she is in, it’s up to Leo and Neil MacBain’s team of operatives to keep her safe. With Olivia and Leo both unaware of her past crimes, the two have little reason to avoid their growing attraction. Slowly her past seeps in through the cracks as she struggles to find the answers of who she is. When the veil is lifted and her dark past is staring her down, Olivia must turn her back on Leo and the love she can never allow herself to have, and race to find her would-be killer.

Publisher: Montlake
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
348 pages
Series: Richter (#2)
9781542009959, 1542009952

Previous Book in the series: Changing Rules (my review)

My thoughts:
A Thin Disguise is Book 2 Catherine Bybee’s fast-paced, addictive Richter series. Fans ofCatherine Bybee are going to be delighted with this newest addition. The book has the same gripping, ‘can’t-put-it-down’ quality, and it was nice to see the familiar faces again.

This is the story of Olivia Nought, a graduate of the same military boarding school in Germany, where Claire, the protagonist of the previous book, got her unusual set of skills. Olivia wasn’t as lucky as Claire, who was practically adopted by Neil McBain and given a chance to do good by working for McBain Security and Solutions.

Can this book be read as a standalone?  Yes, but if you have both books, it is better to start with Book 1, as the second book deals with the same human-trafficking  case Claire and Cooper solved in Changing Rules. Olivia is helping Neil’s team protect Marie, the key witness in the case, before and during the trial. If Marie survives, she is supposed to go into a federal protection program and start a new life with a new identity. I’m not going to say anything else to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible.

FBI agent Leo Grant is as invested in the case as Neil’s team. When he gets a call from Claire to stop getting too close to one of the cousins of the powerful criminal on the trial, he isn’t too happy. Apparently, he is interfering with Neil’s ‘maverick’ security. Then while he is trying to work out who it is, Leo gets almost shot. A beautiful girl Leo has just been trying to chat up takes the bullet and has to be rushed to the hospital to save her life. Needless to say, Leo is feeling guilty and responsible for what happened to Jane Doe (the girl didn’t have any documents on her). When she wakes up, she cannot remember anything. Something is connecting the girl to Neil’s team, although nobody wants to confide in Leo. Neil persuades Leo that he and his people will take care of her until she gets back her memory and Leo takes sometime off his work to stay with them.

Leo and Olivia come from the opposite sides. A relationship that can never exist, can never work in real life, but there is a strong romantic attraction they can’t do anything about. Leo needs to make some tough choices, while Olivia…she has a lot of past to put behind before she can allow herself get attached to anyone. If you’ve read Say it Again from Catherine Bybee’s First Wives series, you know why Olivia is so cagey and quick to flee in order to protect the people she cares about.

Similarly to the first book, Catherine Bybee strikes a fine balance between the romantic and mystery elements. The pace was a bit faster at the beginning when the narrative was action-movie -like and a bit slower in the middle to allow for Olivia’s healing and the development of the relationships. The end was as thrilling and full of action as Catherine Bybee’s faithful fans have come to expect from this author.

Can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for the ARC provided in exchange for an  honest opinion.

Related titles:
1 Say it Again (First Wives #5)
2 Changing Rules (Richter #1)

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