⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 Stars)
Code of Conduct is a full-length romantic suspense novel, can be read as a standalone and is book#1 in the Cipher Security series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Universe.
We follow the story of Shane P.I (not her real name), who (as the fake name suggests) is a Private Investigator who specializes in catching cheaters. Shane also has a prosthetic leg, is super athletic and determined, and with the help of her amazing crazy-scientist-like prosthetist, Sparky is always going above and beyond.
While Shane is trying to catch cheater extraordinary Dane Quimby she inadvertently grabs the attention of Cipher Security, a high-end internet security firm. Enter Gabriel, a tall, dark and handsome security expert, and a former UN Peacekeeper with a fierce protective streak that finds its focus on the beautiful P.I.
From then on there’s a lot of suspicious activities, detective stuff, investigations, and a VERY slow-burn romance brewing. I have to say never quite hooked me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good and interesting book, but maybe the genre just didn’t do it for me. I struggled to keep my focus on the characters and a lot of times I had a hard time connecting to the story as Quimby didn’t convince me as a major threat. The romance was so slow burn that by the time that Shane and Gabriel got together I wasn’t as invested in them anymore. There was a big revelation that happened around 95% of the book that I thought could have happened in around 50%. I think if they connected earlier the stakes of survival could have been raised, therefore introducing more drama.
However, here are a couple of things that I liked about the book overall:
- I’m loving all the heroines from the new Smartypants Romance books. They are so fierce and independent, even in their holdups, they don’t need a knight in shining armor. They learn to heal and love, but that’s their choice. Events caused Shane to lose half of her right leg, but she is strong, beautiful and completely capable. It’s amazing to see so much representation and fierceness in all these books.
- The book was very modern and relevant, it approached themes like the NSA, artificial intelligence, internet & data security, to racism and police brutality.
- Really interesting supporting cast.
- Oscar the dog. Enough said there.
Even though I struggled to connect sometimes I can absolutely appreciate the writing, and while it might not have been my favorite book is one that left me with interesting thoughts that will stick for a while.
I also got very curious to know more about Sandra and Alex, and later found out they are from the first book in the Knitting in the City Universe – Love Hacked, so that will definitely go straight to my TBR.
This was an ARC sent to me in exchange for an honest review. Code of Conduct is out now on all platforms. Download your copy here: https://smartypantsromance.com/books/code-of-conduct/