Frost Line by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

Lenna is Strength, a manifestation of the Tarot card, and powerful beyond reckoning. But when she’s pulled into the human realm and tasked with protecting a young boy, everything is thrown into chaos. Lenna’s not supposed to be here, interacting with mortals. She’s definitely not supposed to be drawn to the sexy mercenary sent to retrieve her by any means necessary.

As a Hunter for magical beings, Caine’s duty is simple: return this compelling, impossibly attractive woman and secure the long lost Tarot deck that made travel between worlds possible. Instead he’s drawn into Lenna’s dangerous rescue mission and blindsided by his growing feelings. But there is more than one enemy to contend with. And as the clock runs out, failure means not just the loss of an innocent life and the woman Caine has come to love, but the destruction of Lenna’s entire world.  –Harper Audio; 2016

Review:

Frost Line has a lot of great concepts.  The idea of a humanoid manifestation of a Tarot card is what peaked my personal interest.  Now if Frost Line had fleshed out any of those concepts and ideas it might have actually been a great story.

The story opens strong with the child’s perspective of his mother’s murder.  The child; Elijah, runs to a friends home to hide in a closet, that just happens to have a magical Tarot card deck that allows Lena Frost to enter our world. If the brief fish out of water plot line of Lena trying to navigate our world had been stretched out a bit longer, perhaps we could have been shown more world building differences between our world and Lena’s and the connection between them, but no.  That is all pushed aside to build the romance between Lena and Caine, the Hunter sent to bring her back home and maintain the balance of the universe.

Outside of the brief sexual tension between Lena and Caine; that is quickly sated off camera, there is no real tension throughout the story.  We know who killed Elijah’s mother so no mystery there. And despite everyone looking for Elijah, no seems to connect him with people fitting Lena and Caine’s description as they walk around Georgia, not bothering to disguise their appearance. Making the fear of the police non-existence.

The only ‘threat’ is a mustache twirling, tie a woman to the railroad track, cartoon villain who sends his own Hunters to collect Lena and the deck for his own means.  No big elaborate master plan, just to create chaos somewhere, anywhere, maybe over there, but chaos will be had! The henchmen sent to get the deck are either dealt with quickly by Caine or share a connection with Lena that stops them from attacking her, but is never explained.

Frost Line is full of missed opportunities to flesh out more interesting concepts like; how a ancient magical Tarot deck got in a closet in the suburbs?  What effects would the Earth feel if Strength never returned? Could Lena really be replaced? What are the other worlds like? Instead these ideas are passed by to focus on a cliche romance that has been done a million times already and was not impressive the first time it was done.  —Borrow it.

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