Title: Save Your Breath
Author: Melinda Leigh
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
What it’s about: Olivia Cruz-a crime journalist and writer—returns home from her parent’s house on a Thursday night. She calls her boyfriend, Lincoln Sharp, in order to set up a meeting with him and his Private Investigations team consisting of Lance and Morgan, to discuss her recent project. She goes to sleep, and is woken up in the middle of the night by a man in a mask, who kidnaps her from her bed. Knowing that she needs to leave signs behind of a struggle, Olivia does her best to leave crumbs for Sharp.
The next morning, Sharp gets a phone call from Olivia’s mother, frantic because Olivia did not pick her up for her appointment with the doctor. It is not typical of Olivia to miss her mother’s appointments or other events that she has planned. As a result, Sharp, Lance and Morgan head over to Olivia’s house, where they assess the situation. They call Stella, Morgan’s sister who is a police officer on the force, to report Olivia as missing.
The more the team digs into the kidnapping, they are confronted with two cases—Olander and Cliff Franklin—and the more they investigate the two cases, the more clues they find that the Olander family was involved in a secret militia organization and that Cliff Franklin murdered more women that he was suspected of murdering but whose bodies were never found.
Morgan and Lance survive a bombing attempt, while Sharp gets more desperate as the days go by, lashing out and breaking the law in numerous ways, in order to find Olivia.
In the meantime, Olivia is confined to the cellar belonging to her captor, where it is cold. Her captor visits her two times, bringing her a hot meal both times; however, Olivia is unable to finish her meal as she ends up in a coughing fit. Her asthma, which is triggered by the cold air, makes it hard for her to breathe, but Olivia fights back on two occasions. On the first one, she uses the string from her pajamas, and is able to knock off the mask from her captor, revealing his face. The second time, she actually knocks him down with stones inside her socks, and runs away, but with a hurt foot, she is unable to get far and hides in the water.
Morgan, Lance, and Sharp’s investigation leads them to the home of Stephen Holgersen, who is the brother of Olivia’s agent, Kim Holgersen. Lance and Sharp head on their own, through the booby-trapped field and a fight with Stephen ensues. Kim shows up and holds them at gunpoint, at which point Morgan shows up. The ladies shoot each other, but Morgan was wearing her Kevlar vest so she was unhurt, while Kim gets shot in the shoulder.
Ultimately, it turns out that Kim was under pressure because her of her divorce, and needed to get the money to pay off her ex-husband because he was suing for half the value of the condo. She concocted a scheme with her brother in which Stephen kidnaps Olivia, holds her for a weekend, and releases her under the guise of killing her, but really letting Olivia escape. The idea was that the media attention into Olivia’s kidnapping and her “courageous” escape would make her famous, which would in turn ultimately drive up the value of Olivia’s book and potential film based on her book.
Lance and Morgan get married with all of their family on the lake’s beach. Lance surprises Morgan with a honeymoon to Italy, while Morgan surprises him with a baby grand piano.
My Verdict: Olivia Cruz’s agent is one crazy person to have done what she did. I cannot understand how desperate you have to be as a person in order to do something crazy like this. I do have respect for Olivia as a character because she has proven that she can come up with ingenious ways to fight back against her attackers. She’s not fully helpless, even though she seems to be, and despite her asthma weakening her, she still manages to hold her own.
My heart goes out to Lincoln Sharp, seeing how upset and heartbroken he is over Olivia’s disappearance. It’s easy to empathize with him, especially knowing how much he cares for Olivia, although to be honest, his actions are wildly out there. It was really frustrating to see how he got into a bar fight, and also started to not care about breaking the law in order to find Olivia. While I understand his emotions overwhelmed him, his actions made me like him less as a character, and he lost my respect because of it all. I truly believe that there are a lot of people out there who do not take the route that he did, no matter how despairing they were of the situation of not finding their loved one.
Lastly, I’m super happy for Morgan and Lance, who got married in this book. It is evident how much they care for each other, in the way that they protect each other, look after each other, and take are of each other. It’s not a perfect relationship, as has been evidenced throughout the other books, but it’s a relationship that works well for them.
Overall, aside from Sharp’s machinations, the book was good, but it is starting to become the same plot line throughout the series—Morgan/ SHarp Investigations takes on a client who claims to be innocent but the Police Department of Scarlet Falls claims is guilty of a crime. Then Morgan and Sharp Investigations actually investigate, and one up the Police Department/ Sheriff’s Office in the crime, after which they prove their client’s innocence. I would like to see a change up in the story plot line in this series, otherwise, it will get boring pretty quickly.