Vanessa Jessup returns home from her sophomore year of college with a dreadful secret that she must disclose to her parents. She is pregnant by her psychology professor, who disappeared off the face of the earth after she told him she was pregnant. Now Vanessa is forced to put college on hold and think about what she's going to do with the life growing inside of her.
Brill Jessup, on top of learning of her daughter's untimely pregnancy, is investigating a difficult case that could threaten her career as the Sophie Trace sheriff. A maniac killer has been stabbing police officers, putting them in the hospital, and killing most of them. Brill suspects he is targeting her, so she puts her entire family on lock down in their own home. She can only imagine who will be stabbed next...
At first I didn't think The Real Enemy needed a sequel, but I thoroughly enjoyed Vanessa's subplot. However, her subplot was the only good part of the entire book. Brill's case was only slightly better than the case in The Real Enemy.
The cast of characters is virtually the same as that in The Real Enemy, only they have improved. Most of them have actually developed personalities and are imperfect. This gives me hope for Kathy Herman in the future because good characters can overshadow a mediocre plot.
Brill's subplot, another "big case" is the only thing keeping the book off of the Elite List. Though the showdown was better than the showdown in The Real Enemy, it was still rather predictable. I think this series would have done better with a normal, character-based book, and not another "suspense" plot.
I loved Vanessa's subplot because it has a very original end, one that I did not expect. I've never even seen an author end a pregnant college student plot like Kathy ended Vanessa's. I can now happily expect more original things like this from her in the future.
Even if Kathy had eliminated Brill's unnecessary case, it still would not have been five stars because the Jessups have gone from being the broken family in The Real Enemy to being the nearly perfect family. Kurt and Emily are downright annoying characters, even though they are the only bad ones.
All in all, if Kathy keeps this up, she'll have an Elite book in no time.