Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Rough Edges

Posted November 24, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Rough Edges

Rough Edges


Shannon K. Butcher

romantic suspense that was published by Signet on August 4, 2015 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dark and Stormy Knights, Burning Alive, Finding the Lost, Falling Blind, Kicking It

Fifth and last in the Edge romantic suspense series and revolving around the Edge Security firm and its manipulated operatives in Dallas, Texas. The couple focus is on Bella Blayne and Victor Temple.

My Take

I had to laugh — and Butcher snagged my attention with her opening paragraph. Ooh, baby…! It quickly descended into annoyingly dramatic melodrama, stupid statements, and stupider actions.

Bella spends more time whining about her rule on non-fraternization with the employees who work for her…and Victor is not an employee. He represents General Norland. Bella claims she wants a professional atmosphere, and she’s calling everyone honey and sweetheart?

I admit it has been awhile since I read an Edge novel, but I do not remember Bella being such a major pain or so stupid! She’s head of this security firm, and she acts more like a babe in the woods throughout the story. It’s one thing to be a kick-ass, hard-driving operative, but all the good-guy operatives I’ve read about think first. Sure, they’re emotional and desperately want to get someone back or get revenge. But they’re not so danged S.T.U.P.I.D. Gag. She rushes, leaps, and jumps into situations without thinking. I’m surprised that every one of her employees hasn’t quit or died.

The trope in which the character is too incredibly stupid to grasp that one needs to sleep and eat to operate at peak performance is widely employed in Rough Edges. Bella sounds more like a bratty child whose extremely rich father has been indulging her with her own toy security company. I can’t possibly imagine that she’s any good at protecting anyone or keeping her people safe.

It is quite possible that her actions are supposed to give you the impression that the sabotage done in her house is working, but Butcher does a lousy job of conveying that. In fact, I had no idea Bella had been taking showers at home.

LOL, oh, brother… Payton tells Victor that Edge will fall apart if Bella breaks. Please. It’d probably flourish. It’d be a better bet for Norwood and the powers that be without her.

I get that it’s not Victor’s fault that Butcher wrote him this way, and he does sound like a very effective man. But it’s hard to believe that someone as successful as he is at his job would want Bella anywhere near him in the field.

I know I missed reading Edge of Betrayal, 4, and I’ve learned that, for some reason, Gage willingly gave himself up to Stynger. Would have been nice to have some idea why he’d do such a dumb thing. Yeah, Butcher says it’s to save Adam, but from what I remember (and read) is that Stynger never gives up a man she’s got trapped. So, if Adam wasn’t in her hands, why would Gage put himself in her hands? Why wouldn’t he have some kind of high-tech tracking device implanted?

It’s interesting that Butcher sets us up for this conflict over what Victor’s parents would expect, and there isn’t one. Does Lila’s baby have a name?

I agree with Victor. Payton was out of line blurting out her secrets in front of her, and then he suddenly retreats into oh, “no. That’s too much of a breach of trust…” What?? He’s already done all this damage? And now he decides he can’t finish the job?

No, I’m sorry, it makes no sense to me that Payton could pay for what he’s done by walking away from it. I think he’s doing a better job of making up for it by trying to stop it. It’s simply another stupid statement from Bella. What was Butcher thinking??

I do enjoy Butcher’s description of Stynger’s mouth as a red slash. It’s one of those beautiful bits of symbolism that subconsciously tells the reader she’s a mean woman. I also had to laugh at Victor’s confusion about Bella wanting to use him. Is that a problem?

You know, her first three novels in this series were fun and full of romantic suspense. This one? Too incredibly lame. I can’t recommend anyone waste their time on this. I know I kept wanting to put it down and do some projectile vomiting…

The Story

In the world of covert operations, Bella Bayne knows how to get the job done. And with her work coming first, her personal life is coming in a distant second. Even though Bella would like nothing more than to ravish the rugged, handsome Victor Temple, she’s his superior, so it’s a strictly hands-off affair.

When Bella gets a solid lead on the location of Dr. Norma Stynger — the twisted mind behind Project Threshold — she must team up with Victor if they are to finally bring justice to the madwoman. But when Norma’s daughter risks her life to help the team, Bella is faced with the impossible task of deciding who will live and who will die…

The Characters

Bella Blayne has re-made herself into a kick-ass hardass. She’s on the List. Payton Bainbridge, the man who’d been as a father to Bella, is doing his best to make up for what he did on Threshold. Dan is the abusive husband who’s a cop.

Victor Temple is on loan from General Robert Norland, who is also trying to make up for his sins.

Edge Security is…
…a security firm started up by Bella and and funded by Payton Bainbridge. Gage Dallas (on the List) is a much-loved operative now in a hostage situation. Other employees include Clayton Marshall (on the List) hooked up with Dr. Leigh Vaughn (Edge of Sanity, 3), the firm doctor; Riley Conlan; Lila, Bella’s secretary; Mira Sage is the computer guru (on the List) and hooked up with Adam Brink (on the List) who had been working with Stynger — turned out that he’s Gage’s brother (Edge of Betrayal); Franklin; Sloane Gideon (on the List) and Lucas Ramsey (Living on the Edge , 1); and, Razor who’s hooked up with Tanner O’Connell (Razor’s Edge, 2).

Jake Staite, Razor’s friend, is still being held by the government (Razor’s Edge).

Threshold Project was…
…a series of highly illegal experiments done by the government. Dr. Norma Stynger is a mad scientist. In every sense of the word. She has no heart, no loving emotions. Jordyn is her entrapped daughter. Randolph was an Edge operative until Bella fired him for having no moral spine. Aaron is another operative. The White Room is a torture chamber Stynger enjoys using. Peter is one of the lab techs.

The List is a record of every person operated on in the Project. Charles O’Dell is head of security for some bigwig who wants to hire Edge. Senator Gregory Kerrington II was a loose end.

The Cover and Title

The cover uses a lit-up night sky in teal blues with a glowing yellow lower half with the city skyline edged in darker yellows, forming a backdrop for Victor’s action stance. His blond buzz cut, black T and jeans, and the gun in his right hand definitely proclaim him as the action hero.

The title has got to be about Bella, for she is all Rough Edges.