Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Border Line by Kristi Belcamino: Reading Room Review

Gia Santella is back for book #8 in Border Line, and it is another thrilling page-turner by Kristi Belcamino that leads this series' many fans on a trip through dangerous and intense territory. There is nothing easy about the situations in which Gia finds herself (or involves herself), both the story-lines and Gia are full-force, take no prisoners and fight to the death. Passionate about her life, her friends, and her projects, Gia is the person you want by your side and on your side. I love her strength and generosity, and now, in Border Line, readers are getting to see some softness in Gia, too. It's not a weakness. It's a softness in caring about how her actions and words affect others, not just spinning through life with her own agenda. 

Part of Gia's new maturity is due to her relationship with James and their adjustment to his injuries from the last story. Living together and admitting that she loves James and wants it to be long term has resulted in Gia being more mindful of what's important to her. Of course, Gia's aunt, the Queen of Spades, helped Gia get her drinking and other bad habits under control the last time the two of them met, with healthier eating and a physically challenging regimen that Gia still adheres to. Life with James and her dog Django is going well, and they are getting ready to enter one of their favorite Mexican restaurants in the Mission area of San Francisco when they have a young girl thrust in their arms by a frantic woman pleading with them to take the girl and get her to safety. The woman claims that the ICE agents chasing them will mean death for the child if she is caught. Well, Gia has a major protective streak in her, so she and James whisk the child away in Gia's jeep, narrowly escaping the clutches of ICE. 

Back at Gia's loft, seven-year-old Rosalie confirms something else that the woman with her had said, that Gia was not just some random person they chose to help. Rosalie tells of a woman in black that had given them Gia's and James' names as those to seek in saving the child. Gia knows at once that the woman in black is her Aunt Eva, the Queen of Spades. Gia feels that the only thing she can do is to keep the child at her loft and try to find the woman who fled the scene after forcing Rosalie on them. While Gia's goal is to reunite Rosalie with her family, there is a surprising easiness with which she and James (and Django) settle into having this child in their lives. And, it's quite evident that Rosalie enjoys being with them. But, Gia has to shake herself and focus on finding family with whom to give Rosalie over to.

Of course, this is Gia Santella, and nothing is ever simple. There is so much more to Rosalie's story than just avoiding ICE agents and a disadvantaged life in Guatemala. There is the deepest, darkest, most evil kind of danger that awaits Rosalie outside of Gia's and James' protection. While James is no longer a part of the police force, he is busy trying to prove the deep-seated corruption of the force, a corruption that almost killed him. So, it is up to Gia to figure out who the players are and why they so desperately are trying to grab Rosalie and make her disappear. Nothing upsets Gia more than evil being visited upon innocent people, and she must call upon her most bad-ass self to fight a force that hides itself behind the riches money can buy and takes what it wants however it needs to. Gia has been up against ruthless before, but with children's lives involved, the stakes are the highest they've ever been.

Kristi Belcamino has once again given readers a high octane tale with one of crime fiction's most fascinating characters. It is little wonder that Gia Santella has captured the minds and hearts of so many readers, with her steely determination to fight the greatest odds to right a wrong. It's always a good reading day when Gia is the story. And, like Gia, Kristi Belcamino, never shies away from tackling the difficult subjects.

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