Another of the novels sent to me by Xcite Books. The sequel to An Executive Decision, which I loved reading. This review contains spoilers in the content section but you can skip that if you need to.
Warning: SPOILERS ahead!
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
“Identity Crisis is the second novel in the Executive Decisions trilogy written by Grace Marshall, otherwise known as KD Grace. I was really looking forward to this one because I enjoyed An Executive Decision very much and wanted the next instalment of this series straight away. That being said, when the book finally arrived on my doorstep it took me a long time to bring myself to read it. I knew there was going to be a long gap between this book and the next one and I didn’t really want to have to wait ages between them.
As I mentioned at the end of my last review, this book doesn’t really focus on Dee and Ellis at all, though they are still in it. This made it somewhat easier for me to hold out on reading this novel, though I was definitely curious as to how it would be handled. The new main characters are Kendra (Dee’s best friend) and Garrett (Ellis’ brother). Does this make the book less enjoyable? What do they get up to in this novel? You’ll have to read this review to find out!
The cover for this novel was designed by The Design House, just like the last one. It is a dark purple with a purple type of smoke curling over it, in the same style as An Executive Decision. Apart from the writing across the top that mentions Xcite‘s winning of the ETO Best Erotic Book Brand award for three years, you wouldn’t notice that this book was erotica. In this way it is somewhat discreet, which I often appreciate. The font and layout inside the book matches all other books in the Xcite Books brand, as always.
Unfortunately this is yet another book left with typos. I shan’t point them out this time but it is sad that this seems to be the standard with Xcite Books. I think I will be surprised one day to find a book without any – and that isn’t how it should be!
PR guru Kendra Davis is delighted when her heroine, the reclusive, romantic novelist Tess Delaney, hires her services. But her excitement is short-lived as she discovers that Tess is none other than Garrett Thorne, the bad-boy brother of business tycoon Ellison Thorne. Ellison is engaged to Kendra’s best friend and she blames Garrett for the comedy of errors that nearly destroyed their relationship. But Garrett is desperate. His alter-ego, Tess, has been nominated for a Golden Kiss Award, and to hide his identity he needs Kendra to play Tess for the night at the awards ceremony. All goes to plan until ‘Tess’ is stalked by a mad fan and the two unite to protect the author’s identity. Is there room in this strange ménage for romance? Can a woman who doesn’t exist understand their hearts better than they do? ⏎
As usual, please expect spoilers to be in this section. While I try to keep them vague I do not always manage so if you are bothered about things like that then please skip to the overall section to read my thoughts about the book as a whole.
As I’m sure you already know from the synopsis, this novel is somewhat different from the last one. Though both are about keeping secrets and protecting people from the press, this one is more to do with the darker side of human nature. To put it simply, this novel is as much a love story as it is a look into the mind of a stalker.
I was genuinely impressed with the way that Grace Marshall wrote this book. There are normal chapters as one would expect but there are also ones that are more secretive. Not only do we know the what is going on with the main characters but we get chapters and sections from the stalker’s point of view, in his own words. His identity is kept a secret up until the last few pages and there is no real indication of who it is until the reveal. I assumed it was someone else, actually, but that turned out to be my own imagination or perhaps a red herring.
The emails and texts he sends to people are very threatening and in some ways, quite scary. I know for sure that I wouldn’t want to get any of them and I imagine a lot of other people would feel the same way. There is a palpable sense of danger from the things he says and does and I didn’t really doubt that someone like him would actually do them. There are a few moments in Identity Crisis that had me tense and worried for the safety of the characters. The idea that someone could be that close to you and ready to harm you without you even knowing is one that will probably make me nervous for a long time to come.
On a more positive note, the love between Kendra and Garrett is one I think seems realistic. The deep hatred they have for one another lingers from the last book and burns into this one too. Their lust is easy to understand even as they tell themselves the other person is awful; attraction can sometimes come just from what someone looks like, after all.
The progression from hate to love is handled very well and you can see it in both of them every step of the way. They have sex many times throughout the novel and after each time they start to get a little more affectionate towards one another. Of course, they still fight a lot but that’s to be expected when two strong personalities go head to head. It is clear to see how much they care for one another by the end and I found that heart-warming.
The only thing I can really criticise about this novel (apart from the typos which aren’t really Grace Marshall’s fault) is the fact that it ends on a very similar note to the last one. I am all for romantic things and I decided to let it lie in the last book because it felt like a fitting end but to have the same thing happen on pretty much the same page (the last) seems a little bit off, especially since the character of Kendra seemed set against it for the rest of the novel.
I could understand why this would happen but it seems a bit convenient to end it there again. I’m sure the third novel will go into it a bit but it didn’t feel particularly satisfying this time – it felt a little like she was giving them the same end so that their love was just as valid and I wasn’t keen on that. I’ll have to wait and see what she does with The Exhibition. If it ends in a similar way I’ll know if this is just a coincidence or if it is the only way that Grace Marshall seems to be able to end her stories. ⏎
Grace Marshall has done it again; she has written a novel that I find incredibly difficult to put down! I finished it in less than 24 hours, which was much faster than I read An Executive Decision. I think the reason for that was definitely more to do with the plotting and emotional changes than it was to do with the sex. While the sex scenes are pretty good, there are a lot of them. This meant I was never impatiently trying to flip forward to satiate my desire for raunchiness and could focus on the story instead.
Identity Crisis also does a great job of laying the foundation for the next book in the series, The Exhibition. Much like An Executive Decision, this book could have been standalone or the end to the series but it teases just enough to allow you to get excited about the next instalment, which features neither the Dee and Ellis couple nor the Kendra and Garrett one. If you want to find out who the novel will focus on, you’ll have to read this one or wait for its release.
I feel much about this novel as I did about the last one; I want the third volume of the Executive Decisions trilogy in my hands as soon as possible. I can barely wait to read The Exhibition!”
You can buy Identity Crisis from Xcite Books by clicking the image.