The Wrong Woman, author Leanne Kale Sparks’ debut novel, is a classic and realistic police thriller novel that is remarkably engaging. The plot follows FBI Special Agent Kendall Beck and Denver Police Detective Adam Taylor as they investigate their own respective cases only to find links between the two. Full of suspense, drama, action, and very realistic (as far as I know) investigating, the plot of this novel is full of layers, depth, twists and turns, and intelligent intensity.
With two major crimes and two investigators, through much of this novel there are really two plots. Both of them are extremely strong and equally gripping. Sparks really succeeded at creating a real sense of urgency that runs through the novel and keeps the plots equally intense, then increasing that as they weave together to make one very complete thriller.
Leanne Kale Sparks is obviously very gifted at creating characters. Each character brings something important to the story and everyone fits together in the perfect narrative puzzle withing The Wrong Woman.
Special Agent Kendall Beck is a strong female protagonist who is passionate about her friends and her job. It was refreshing to have a character who was devoted to her career, but also had a life outside of her career. It was a nice break from the normal trope of workaholic, myopic cop who does nothing but drink and work. That’s not to say Kendall didn’t have flaws – she is a well rounded character. Her fiery temper gets her into trouble throughout the novel, but for the most part, she is a compassionate and relentless woman who feels very realistic and human.
Adam Taylor is not quite as flushed out as Kendall, but he also doesn’t have to be. He is more laid back, calm, and it is a nice contrast between the two. Adam does have a strong backstory to go along with his character. With his past relationships and past choices, it is easy to see how he has become the man we see in the novel.
While reading The Wrong Woman, the strength of the writing really glows. Readers are wholly transported into the gritty, dark world created in this novel and the story absolutely sucks in its audience. Sparks has such a clear vision of her world in her mind and, very impressively, she knows how to use her words to transport her vision from her mind to the pages and into the reader’s imagination. A truly gifted story teller. This is even more impressively done when getting the readers to feel exactly what the characters feel…the tension, stress, trauma, frustration, love, and pain that the characters feel, the readers feel it all right along-side.
Just as much as the realistic characters make the novel feel real, the writing makes everything feel real and genuine.
As with most of my critique sections, I struggled with this one. It was difficult to find a flaw or whole in the novel so I ended up basing my critique on personal preference. As powerful and well-written as the descriptions within the novel are, I sometimes felt that there were too much. I would suggest leaving some things to the reader’s imagination, but, as I said before, Sparks obviously has a clear vision and goal in what she is writing so it is absolutely understandable. (I know that is a pretty weak criticism, but I needed something and it was the best I could find).
This crime thriller is fantastic. A story that will keep you entertained, tense, and guessing right up until the end. I absolutely enjoyed reading it and look forward to future novels from Leanne Kale Sparks. Head over here to get your copy and dive into the wicked world of The Wrong Woman.