Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.Tess’s fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue’s Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect.
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Today should have been the day of her baptism. But instead of being dunked in the cool water of the church's baptismal, Police Chief Tess O'Rourke coughed, eyes squinted and burning because of the hot smoke swirling everywhere. She wore a nose and mouth mask, but it barely helped. A lightning strike fire was raging. Half of Rogue's Hollow was under a mandatory evacuation order.
She hopped back in her patrol vehicle as the Coopers, the second-to-last holdout family on this rural road she was evacuating, grabbed their kids and a dog, climbed into their truck, and reluctantly left their property. The husband, Garrett Cooper, wanted to stay and defend the home, and he'd slowed Tess down considerably, eating into her margin of safety.
"The house is a hundred years old — we can't just leave it!"
"Garrett, the house can be replaced, possessions can be replaced — your life can't be." Tess tried to reason with him and got nowhere. It was Janie refusing to leave without him that finally worked to change his mind. Tess witnessed a tense fight between the pair that ended when Cooper recognized that his wife wasn't going anywhere without him. And fighting to save a hundred-year-old structure on two wooded and brush-choked acres, with the wind driving the flames this way, was foolhardy to say the least. Finally common sense won out. The only way he'd save his brand-new pickup was to drive it out with his family in it.
Even now, in spite of helicopter and plane water drops, Tess could see the flames swirling and consuming on a seemingly unstoppable march. They were off to her left now, roughly behind Arthur Goding's place, and the wind was driving them along the ridge of hills that bracketed the boundaries of Rogue's Hollow. Arthur had left his home without argument, taking his dog and loading his livestock into a large trailer.
"Have to trust this all to the Lord," he'd said.
The property next to Arthur's, a onetime pot farm, was vacant, so no worries there. Nearly everyone else, including Bart Dover, who owned the property at the end of the road, had already evacuated as well. Dover's farm was at the western boundary of Rogue's Hollow. He hadn't wanted to wait or to take a chance, so he left with his family at the first sign of trouble. Tess wished everyone had been so easy. There was one last resident Tess had not been able to contact — at the end of Juniper, a gravel road that cut south, between here and the Dover place. Fighting with Garrett Cooper had put Tess on the razor's edge of danger; the safe time cushion the fire captain had given her was expiring.
"Edward-1." The radio crackled with her call sign.
Tess yanked off the mask to answer. "Edward-1, copy."
"Fire is advising that you hurry. The wind has shifted, and they can't guarantee you won't be cut off."
"I've got one more home. Five, ten minutes, max."
"10-4, will advise."
Tess wiped sweat from her brow as she pressed the accelerator, able to breathe again inside her air-conditioned SUV. She followed the Coopers' truck down the long, bumpy driveway. They turned right to head to town and safety, while she turned left.
The last property on Juniper was the largest at 105 acres, and it backed up to a hillside that could erupt into flames any minute. Tess was barely acquainted with the person who lived there. A bona fide recluse, Livie Harp was sometimes the lead topic on all channels of the Rogue telegraph, the thread of gossip that wound itself everywhere through the Upper Rogue valley.
That gossipy thread told Tess that Harp had bought the property in cash, several years ago, before Tess came to Oregon. Everyone labeled Harp a "prepper" because she'd spent months having the property renovated and "fortified," as Tess's friend Casey Reno liked to say. The Harp property was as off the grid as possible with solar panels, well water, a septic system, a greenhouse for vegetables, and no listed phone. Tess had heard that Harp even butchered her own meat.
Tess learned from Pastor Oliver Macpherson that Harp seemed to be trying to come out of her shell.
"Twice now she's come to church. She comes late, sits in the back, and leaves early, but at least she's putting her toe in the water."
Tess had worked in the Hollow for over a year and had seen the woman only a couple of times, in her car, an old-style Land Rover that almost looked armor-plated, driving back to her place.
In southern Oregon, a lot of large properties tended to look like they were built — and stuck — in the nineteenth century. But Harp's place was all twenty-first century. One of the improvements she added to her property was strong metal fencing and an equally heavy security gate. Tess had heard that she had an intercom system and cameras everywhere, and that when she transacted business online and deliveries came, they didn't get past the gate. She'd provided a chute for packages to be pushed through, so they were safe on the other side of the gate. Livie herself would come and get the package only after the delivery person had left.
Tess wasn't certain how much the gossip she heard could be trusted, but as she pulled up to the gate now, it was obvious that the security here was formidable. Mindful of the cameras on either side of the fence, she punched the intercom.
The minute or so before there was a response seemed like an hour. Tess was about to punch it again.
"Can I help you?"
"This is Chief O'Rourke. Ms. Harp, there is an out-of-control forest fire heading your way. I'm ordering a mandatory evacuation."
"I have no intention of leaving."
"Maybe you didn't hear me. There's a raging fire —"
"I heard you. I'm not deaf or stupid. I'm also not leaving my home, my property."
"Fire personnel will not be able to respond to your residence in the event you need help."
"I'll be fine. I'm not asking for help. I can take care of myself. I have defensible space."
The intercom clicked off. Tess had only a second of openmouthed shock before her phone rang. It was Oliver. He hadn't wanted her to go, telling her that she'd already completed her duty when it came to warning people and facilitating evacuation. A recent fast-moving fire in northern California had amped up his angst; people there lost their lives when the fires moved toward them so fast they had no chance to get away. Putting herself directly in harm's way was not in her job description.
"Tess, you need to get back here now!" The emotion in his voice touched her deep inside, making her wish she could hold his face in both hands and assure him that she was fine.
Tess heard debris smack her car, and she felt it move as a strong wind gust slammed into it. She'd been in a car pelted with sand during a sandstorm in the Arizona desert years ago, and that was what this felt like.
"I'm heading back now," she said and then realized the phone was dead, the connection dropped. She plopped the phone on the seat next to her, frowning because she knew Oliver was justifiably worried. Briefly, she considered a radio call to the incident command center so someone could let him know that she was okay.
Tess looked in her rearview mirror and saw a tornado of flames. She was certain the house she'd just left was lost. The flames were angry, clawing at the sky, and the smoke dark and ominous. She jammed her car into reverse as a large explosion rent the air, deafening even to her with her windows rolled up. The Coopers' propane tank must have exploded. As if shot from a flamethrower, fire squirted across the road. Tess was cut off.
She reached out and punched the intercom again. There was no choice but to hunker down with the recluse.
But would the woman open the gate?
Tess waited for a response even as her rearview mirror showed a wall of smoke and flames coming closer.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Cold Aim"
Copyright © 2019 Janice Cantore.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.5 Stars COLD AIM is another nail-biting suspense in this series set in a small town with Chief O'Rourke trying to protect those she loves and do her job while again facing evil. Readers will enjoy the suspense, sweet romance, themes of faith and redemption, and these lovable characters. An excellent addition to the series! I've enjoyed this series so much! I loved the small town, with all its charm and the tight-knit community with its own problems. I especially loved Tess and Oliver and how their relationship kept developing. Tess is just such a fabulous character! I fell in love with her in the first book, but she's still learning and she's still human. I also loved Oliver! He has such a good heart, but also isn't perfect. I appreciated his admiration and love for Tess as he tried to figure out what he should do about their relationship. The romance was definitely not the focal point of the story, but it played a huge role and I liked how it was weaved through everything that was going on. The suspense was pretty much nonstop, with danger looming constantly. The criminals in this story were brutal and cold. Human trafficking is such a huge issue and this story definitely poured some light on that and the evil people who gain from it. It's a tough subject to face, even in a story. Things got so crazy that I wasn't sure what was going to happen. There were a few places I had to suspend belief (like at the end when someone shows up when that wasn't really realistic), but it still worked out overall. I also really appreciated how the author handled the inspirational elements of this story. I could feel Oliver's calming pastor voice, his wisdom, but also appreciated that he had his own insecurities and doubts. I liked how some of the characters were questioning and trying to work through their doubts and the hope that faith gave them. I also liked that the story didn't portray redemption as something that can just wipe away what has been done, that God does love all His children, but that there are still consequences that must be met. A somewhat balancing act between justice and mercy. In the end, was it what I wished for? I've been so excited to read this and it didn't disappoint! It's a story full of suspense, danger, faith, great characters, and romance. Definitely recommended to Christian romantic suspense readers! Content: Some difficult subject matter regarding human trafficking, but non-descriptive, and violence. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
Janice Cantore’s third novel in her Line of Duty series, Cold Aim, provides a fascinating view of law enforcement and crime in the 21st century. The author’s experience as a 22-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department in California gives readers an authentic and realistic glimpse into the dangers that law enforcement face as they risk their lives daily to protect the citizens of this country. I read the first book in the series, Crisis Shot, but I did not have the opportunity to read the second book, Lethal Target. With that being said, Cold Aim can be read as a stand-alone novel. The author provides insight into events that occurred in the small town of Rogue’s Hollow and Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s history prior to this novel. Readers may enjoy reading the entire series to get a better understanding of Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s background and previous occurrences in Rouge’s Hollow, but it is not essential for understanding the storyline in Cold Aim. Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s journey continues in Cold Aim as she assists the FBI in hiding a witness in human trafficking case, despite a huge safety risk to her small town. With all the evil she has seen during her career in law enforcement, Tess’s faith continues to waiver, but her close friend and confidant, local pastor Oliver, believes in the power of prayer and the ability for people to change after accepting the grace of God. In this action-packed novel, Janice Cantore immediately captures the attention of the readers and keeps them highly invested in the storyline until the very last page. Cold Aim is recommended for readers who enjoy realistic suspense novels filled with inspiration, hope, and light on the romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
"Cold Aim" was another great book by Janice Cantore. This is Book 3 in the Line of Duty series. It follows Police Chef Tess O'Rourke. The book starts out with a devastating fire that is affecting numerous residents. Then an FBI agent shows up asking for Tess' help in hiding a witness involved in a human trafficking ring. Although there are two different incidents happening, the author did a great job keeping everything together. I love how Janice Cantore is a retired police officer and how it shows in her writing. She is a very talented author that gets my attention from the first page to the last. I have read everyone of her books, and I can't say that I've ever been disappointed in any of them! I highly recommend her books to everyone out there. If you like good, clean romantic suspense, she is the author for you! I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
This is the third novel in the Line of Duty series that focuses on Tess O’Rourke, the new police chief in small town Rogue’s Hollow. It’s probably best to start with the first book (Crisis Shot), so you can catch up on how Tess becomes the police chief. In Cold Aim, Tess finds herself dealing with protecting a witness in a human trafficking investigation. Cold Aim delivers the suspense, as the bad guys in this novel stop at nothing to track down this witness. All of your favorite Rogue’s Hollow characters are back, but readers get introduced to the mysterious Livie Harp, a prepper with her own fortress of solitude, as she steps in to defend the Hollow. While fueled by action, this novel delves into Tess and her new relationship (don’t want to spoil it in case you haven’t read the first in two in the series). The romance is sweet and deals with how complex Tess’s job is while she balances her professional and personal life. I definitely would check out Cold Aim for this summer’s new release. If you haven‘t started the series, there’s no better time to start than right now.
Cold Aim by Janice Cantore did not disappoint. Janice is one of my go to authors. I also enjoyed this cover; I didn’t realize Oliver was so cute Tess is a great character. I have enjoyed seeing her grow through the series. In Cold Aim she is helping the town recover from a devastating fire and trying to protect a federal witness. The hermit in town was my favorite secondary character in this book. She was tough and prepared. My favorite scene was with her at the women’s shelter. She took charge. Cantore adds those elements to a book to make it real. The daily struggles of a police officer both at home and on the job. I enjoy the comradery between the fellow officers. The book has the action and adventure you love in a great suspense novel and the thought provoking elements that you come to expect from Cantore. Do police officers and clergy make a good couple? I highly recommend the book. It can be read alone but I would recommend the series. Sexual content - this is not really a romance even tho the feelings between Tess and Oliver are moving forward. He does hug and kiss her and having feelings for her. Violence - 2.5 Janice does a good job of keeping out the details but human trafficking is sad and disturbing, we have victims of is in this book I received this book from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
This is book three in the Line of Duty series, even though this is a stand alone book, books one and two (Crisis Shot and Lethal Target) gives you lots of history into the characters in this book and they are both good reads. All three books focus on Police Chief Tess O'Rourke. This one she must help protect not only her town but a high-profile human trafficking witness, whom is not the easiest person to protect. When her weak faith is put to the test will Tess learn to rely on God or turn from him? Tess and the handsome pastor Oliver, sometimes balance each other and sometimes they appear to clash. Janice Cantore does an amazing job at putting you in the mind and heart of the police. Her books are full of suspense, problem solving and more. There is a touch of romance in this one but it is by far not the main focus. If you like contemporary police suspense type books you will like this one. There are many twist and turns in this book.
Oh my gosh, this book was amazing. The author has you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end, and will keep you guessing just as long. I really liked this book, I had a hard time putting it down. I like Tess she's a stubborn, hard headed, independent person who will stop at nothing to protect those in her town and those she loves. I Loved Livie she was so amazing a strong too. I think so many books now a days make the men the hero, but I would have to say there were a lot of female heroes in this story. I felt like I was not reading fiction, but non-fiction in a sense. There were so very tough subjects in this story but things that are very much happening in every day life. I really had nothing bad to say about this book and I can't wait to read more from this author. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I was under no obligation to post a review and have given my honest opinion
Cold Aim, Line of Duty by Janice Cantore Cold Aim is a fast-paced romantic suspense that kept me at the edge of my seat. I fell in love with the characters and would love to read more about some of the minor characters. There was a strong storyline of faith, the dangers of human trafficking and just pure evil. I give Cold Aim 5 stars and can’t wait to read more in this series. Although it was the first book in the series I have read, it was easy to follow along. It can be read as a stand alone but I plan on reading the first two books in the series because I enjoyed it so much.