Title: Red Hourglass
Author: Scarlet Risque
Genre: Thriller, Romance
Series: First in the Hourglass series
Rating: 4 stars
A POWERFUL, MYSTERIOUS woman finds a homeless girl in a New York subway and adopts her. Janet swears loyalty to the White family and they train her at their Academy as a secret agent. Before long, her transformation into the Red Hourglass—an assassin—is complete. She is ready to start her missions in service of the White Queen.
In order to learn the whereabouts of her real mother from the White Queen, the Red Hourglass must stop the planned expansion of Wilmar Enterprises. She goes undercover to infiltrate Wilmar, and she is hired as the executive secretary to the Chief of Security, Conan Casey.
Janet works diligently to uncover all Wilmar’s secrets. She soon learns that Conan Casey, her target, is heir to the billion dollar Wilmar organization. She falls prey to his dark seductions and twisted secrets … and they leave her gasping for more.
She unwittingly bets her stakes on a dangerous game of love. Where do her loyalties lie? Will she betray Conan for the White Queen, or fall in love with him and give up all hope of finding her real mother? And will they get out alive?
The first in the Hourglass series - a dark coming of age thriller romance novel about finding one's identity with dominance and submission romance scenes against the backdrop of capitalism, undercover agents, poker and tango with an infusion of eastern and western philosophy.
So I have just realised that when I first published this review, it managed to delete itself so this is take 2 of my review for 'Red Hourglass'!
Any synopsis that contains traces of badass female assassins and steamy Romance immediately grabs my attention and so I was super excited when presented with 'Red Hourglass'.
I really loved how original the plot was and the different links tied into the main plot. Although at times I found it a tad predictable, there were times where I was not expecting the twists that arose and this kept me gripped. At times I found I simply couldn't put this book down and every chapter ended with me wanting to squeeze in another before bed time (one more chapter inevitably turned to many many more).
Another feature I loved was the way in which the characters were linked to each other. I thought Conan was so hard to read and it was difficult to gauge how I felt about him. This allowed me to empathise with Scarlet a lot more and really helped me engage with her as the main character. I also loved how the White Queen interacted with her agents and vice versa and thought this relationship was a new concept and fun to get my brain around.
The characters themselves all added to the plot and were more complex than first meets the eye, which was sort of perfect. I thought the skill in which Risque adapted the characters steadily but surely and gave them all different personalities and purpose was really great. I would love to have had more development on Conan's family and thought scenes with them, particularly at the end were rather rushed and crammed in and would have benefitted from more attention.
One thing I was not expecting was the adult nature of the romance in the novel. With the 'fifty shades' craze still at its height, for many the steamy scenes would be an enticement, yet for me they were a little graphic and often laughable I found (this may just be my immature brain of course!)
The writing style was accessible yet not to basic, which was wonderful as you could imagine a lot but your brain wasn't going into overdrive trying to figure out words or over the top descriptions.
Overall, a fast paced, action packed read and would recommend to any adult who is into thrillers and crime reads.