Review: Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) by Laura Harner and Lisa Worrall

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Continental Divide coverBumped to Missing Persons after an argument with his Captain months prior over a case he solved,  Phoenix PD Det. Remy Remington knew he was onto something big when he discovered that his latest missing persons report for a young boy was just one of 6 young men to have disappeared in the Phoenix area recently.  Although the boys had been reported as runaways, the details and timing of the disappearances made Remy’s cop instincts twinge and not in a good way.  Not trusting his Captain after past events, Remy starts to dig deeper on his own into accounts of missing boys elsewhere in the nation and comes to the attention of  an international squad already deep into the same investigation.  One phone call later and Remy finds himself on the way to London and a case that will change his life forever.

In London, Inspector Jamie Mainwaring is looking at the cases of 6 young men who have disappeared in the London area in recent weeks and immediately he knows something is terribly wrong.  As he starts to research the disappearances of young men in other areas, his computer searches send out a signal to a special branch of Interpol and soon Jamie finds himself assigned to Interpol who needs Jamie’s name as Lord Mainwaring as much as they do his skill as an inspector who spotted the pattern.

Remy and Jamie must find a way to work together even as their personalities and social status serve to drive them apart…at least at first.  The men find their attraction to each other growing stronger as their case gets larger and more evil in scope.  Soon it’s a race against time to recover the boys and solve the case, before the criminals and the boys disappear from England.  When it all comes down to culture and cowboys, can the two mesh their approaches and put aside their feelings to catch the criminals and bring the boys safely home?

I was introduced to Laura Harner through the Pulp Friction group and loved her Triple Threat series .  So I was really looking forward to the Separate Ways series and I have not been disappointed.  Continental Divide,written with Lisa Worrall, marks the start of a tumultuous relationship between American Remy Remington and British Lord Jamie Mainwarring (that’s Mannering to us in the US).  And how diametrically opposite these two characters are.  Remy, the Phoenix PD Detective,  is all brash cowboy in outlook and approach.  He likes working alone as his dark past has taught him little about trust and working with others.  Only his high solve rate and intelligence have kept him on the force to date and that’s about to change.  Remy is quite the dark character and this case only makes things worse, from old nightmares reappearing to being a “fish out of water” after landing in London with a partner he underestimates from the start.  Remy is someone people are afraid of at first meeting and later afraid for when they get to know him, an absolutely wonderful characterization.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Jamie Tristen Mainwarring, forty-second Earl of Fordham, and to his mother’s dismay and disapproval, an Inspector at Scotland Yard.  Under constant pressure by his high-powered and influential mother, Lady Mainwarring, to marry, settle down and run the estate, Jamie has persisted in going his own way.  That includes being out about his sexuality and becoming an Inspector.   Cultured, intelligent, and loyal, Jamie goes out of his way to avoid conflict with his mother while still trying to be his own man away in London, a balancing act he is not always successful at.  He’s also very pretty and that combined with all his other titles and characteristics lead Remy to underestimate him and his skills as a police officer.  It might take the reader a little longer to relate to Jamie given his social status and attitude towards his overbearing mother.  But once the reader accepts Jamie, then the man works his way into the reader’s affections never to leave.

It’s that clash of cultures and backgrounds that ignites first an attraction and then love that is so realistic, so believable that it hurts. It is so easy to see how that rough, gruff American cowboy with his boots and well worn jeans  manages to attract the urbane and civilized Lord Jamie.  Jamie has never met someone like Remy before and the authors show us how completely Jamie is unseated by someone outside his social range who never “fawns” over him as others normally do.  Of course, the flip side to all this is Remy with a background of child abuse so dark and so horrific that you almost bleed for the man the more his pain filled past is revealed.

Tying the men together is a case so chilling, so appalling that you will feel a bit nauseated as the case unfurls.  I think one of the things that makes this case so dreadful are the recent articles on sexual slavery world wide that are appearing in the media.  Harner and Worrall get it right. The authors steadily increase the anxiety and dread the readers are feeling as more details about the boys situation come to light and the race to rescue them unfolds across a London background.  Another element I appreciated, while hating the authenticity of it, is that the authors understand and chronicle the reality that nothing will ever be the same for the rescued boys. That those boys that were found are profoundly damaged and will require long term psychological and emotional help if they are to even make a semblance of recovery.  Too often I have seen this aspect of abuse glossed over and I was happy to see this issue treated so responsibly.

Now about that romance.  Yes, there is one, a romance as complex and intense as the men themselves.  It is also one that can’t last, at least at the moment.  That is just not realistic considering each man’s responsibilities and continent of residence. Note that the series is called Separate Ways and is four books long and that will tell you volumes about what is in store for Remy and Jamie.  This is a love that has a long path to travel before the men can be together or at least I am assuming that ending.  We won’t know for sure until Spring of 2014 when the final story in the series is released.   Is it worth the journey you will take with them?  Absolutely!  These men are going to tear you apart, make you bawl gallons of tears, shock you and make you laugh as well as shout in anger.  I have done all that and more and still find myself breathless in anticipation for that last story.

The only reason this story did not rate a 5 rating is because I know what’s coming.  Harner is taking this series to  even greater heights with Oceans Apart and Moving Mountains.  Trust me, it just gets better and better, deepening in complexity while changing and widening the relationships of Jamie and Remy as their saga continues.  So consider Continental Divide a solid, compelling foundation for the suspense and gripping stories to come.  I highly recommend this book, this series and these terrific authors who told it so well.  Follow me over to the next in the series, Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2). You won’t be sorry, shocked, angered even, but not even remotely sorry!

Books in the Separate Ways series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) written by Laura Harner, Lisa Worrall
Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) written by Laura Harner
Moving Mountains (Separate Ways #3) written by Laura Harner
Untitled Fourth Book coming in April 2014

Book Details:

ebook, 225 pages
Published March 9th 2012 by Hot Corner Press (first published 2012)
original title Continental Divide
ISBN13 9781937252120
edition language English
series Separate Ways

8 thoughts on “Review: Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) by Laura Harner and Lisa Worrall

  1. “It might take the reader a little longer to relate to Jamie given his social status and attitude towards his overbearing mother.”

    Maybe it’s a British thing but I found it very easy to relate to Jamie, his situation and his problems and felt more emotionally distant from Remy. But it was still a terrific story and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I’m a bit worried that the very thing that put you off, ie Jamie, that I enjoyed will be missing from it with Ms Harner writing solo.

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    • Elin, it’s not. Jamie, in fact, grows in depth and heartbreaking experience as the stories progress. But he is always a product of his background and culture. The characterization remains true in that respect.

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      • 🙂 that’s a relief. I’ve seen several co-written series where the balance slips once one of the writers bows out. I found the book excellent. I love it when there’s a bit of romance but the plot takes the foreground.

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