Review: Pearl by Freya Barker (GEM #2)

Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Buoni Amici Press.

Pearl is the second book in the GEM series by Freya Barker, and while this features a different couple, there is a continuing story arc, so I believe it's important to read the books in order, i.e. Opal before Pearl. The main characters this go-around are Janey Fisher, who goes by the alias Janey Han and carries the operative name of Pearl, and Lee Remington. She works for GEM--Gather, Evaluate, Mobilize--which is a covert and privately funded group that seek to locate and rescue missing and exploited minors. Led by Jacob Branch, the group is composed of Opal, Pearl, and Onyx--Katherine Jones, Janey Fisher, and Rajani Baqri, respectively--plus Mitchell Kenny, formerly of the FBI. Pearl is playing catch-up, trying to locate an accomplice involved in the child exploitation ring they're desperate to shut down. Pretending to be a teenager in order to get close comes with its own set of complications, but having to deal with the freelance journalist doggedly keeping tabs on her while Lee chases down his own leads is whole new hazard.

After the events in the series starter, I started counting the days before the sequel was to be released. It was clear even back in the first book that Janey and Lee were going to have one heck of a connection once they allowed themselves to delve deeper. I seriously liked seeing those layers they had being peeled back the closer they got and the more comfortable they became with each other. Trust wasn't something that came easily, especially in the case of Janey, but that made it all the more gratifying to see her and Lee build a strong foundation to their relationship. The romance aspect of the story is top-notch, but the mystery and suspense were nothing to sneeze at either. There are more answers this time around, but there are also questions that remain unanswered, and that tension? Well, it continues to build, and I cannot wait to see what Freya Barker has waiting for readers as the countdown begins for the third book, Onyx. Five stars for Pearl.

Release Date: 25 August 2023

Date Read: 20 August 2023

Learn more about Freya Barker.

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