Present Danger

Author: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic start to a thrilling new series! Goddard gives readers a thrill ride with a perfect setting and engaging characters that make a wonderful story.

After being with the FBI for years, Jack Tanner has come back home to Montana to his aunt and work as a detective for the local police. When he is called to out on a search and rescue mission in the national forest, he ends up finding a dead body. In order to find the killer, he must work alongside US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. He and Terra have a history and it isn’t a good one. He left her to join the FBI and seeing her again brings up all the feelings he thought he had left behind. It doesn’t take long for Terra to tie the murder victim with dangerous traffickers involved in archaeological artifacts. Each new clue they turn up brings the danger closer to home and Terra and Jack have little time to find the killer before someone else gets hurt or worse.

Elizabeth Goddard has started this new series with a bang! The action started at the beginning and had me hooked. Terra and Jack have a complicated past which makes their working together that much more difficult and makes the story that much more entertaining. Giving them history shows the tension between them as they work the case more believable. The setting in the rugged mountains kept me engaged in the story. I loved the way Terra worked hard to prove herself with her past and living up to her mother’s reputation, even with all the odds stacked against her. Both Terra and Jack have pasts they are either trying to live up to or get away from and show they are better than that. With each of them holding on to the past, it is hard of them to see what is right in front of them in the present.

As with most romantic suspense novels, the romance side is difficult if rushed and I don’t want to give away anything but the relationship felt a little forced at the end to me, that would be my only negative comment on the whole book. So many great characters in this book and such a great story that I can’t wait to see what comes next. I recommend this story to those that love a good romantic suspense read and will enjoy the start of a new series. 

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Beirut Protocol

Author: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: Marcus Ryker #4

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Good overall story, but a little different than what I expected.

Marcus Ryker has had his fair share of action and adventure coupled with loss and heartache.  He’s been a marine, secret service agent, CIA liaison, and diplomatic security special agent who has traveled to Russia, Korea, Israel, and all parts of the middle east.  He’s frustrated attacks on the president and Israeli prime minister, participated in an assassination of a global world lead, and thwarted terroristic agendas.  So, when he and his partner Kailea are out making rounds to prepare for the Secretary of State’s arrival and are ambushed the last thing you expect to happen is that he is captured by Hezbollah agents.   If they figure out who they’ve captured, there is no way they will be ransomed or returned.  They will be taken to Beirut and sold to the highest bidder of Ryker’s enemies!  Can he pull off yet another escape and save his team?  Or is this the end of Marcus Ryker?

This series has been loaded with action since the first book and this one kicks it off in the same style.  Until they are captured?  What????  How did this happen?  Marcus always gets out with a narrow miss, but not this time.  What ensues is torture, deprivation, and a less than expected storyline dealing with Hezbollah, Iran, and the Kairos terrorist organization.  It’s really not what I expected to for this series or these characters.  Plus, none of the characters really progress in development in this book.  Everybody pretty much stays the same with a fast pace and short chapters to keep the story line moving.  Overall, it just didn’t have the same feel to it that the previous books did and the faith element that readers have seen with Marcus becomes stagnant as well.  Had this been the first book, I would have had a different opinion and could have seen the characters grow from there, but this one just fell a little flat.  I’m not sure if this is the last book in the series, but I hope that there is one more mission to really hit the nail on the head.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Unknown Threat

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

By far the best Romantic Suspense book I have read this year! Fans of Blackburn will not want to miss this fantastic read!

When three Secret Service agents all die with unusual circumstances Special Agent Luke Powell knows he is lucky to be alive and is now on a mission to find whoever is responsible for taking out his fellow agents. After more agents are attacked and Luke is injured, the FBI is called in to help. FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is put in charge of the investigation and uses every resource at her disposal to figure out who is targeting the Secret Service. She has worked on a task force with several of the agents attacked and doesn’t mind working with Luke once again. Even injured, Luke refuses to leave the case to the FBI with his team being the target. Together they work to save the rest of the team and bring down the monster dead set on killing them all.

The start of this new series by Lynn Blackburn is her best work yet!! So much action, drama, suspense, tension, with just a little bit of romance at all the right spots. I absolutely loved the way this story started with a bang and didn’t let up. There was no slow build to the more suspenseful moments, they started from page one and didn’t stop. This is one of the ways Lynn Blackburn has gotten so much better with each new book and one of the best in romantic suspense, top notch writing with no “extra” just to add to a word count. So many books have the same boring plots that end the same and you don’t even have to read the whole story to know what’s going to happen or how it will play out. I genuinely found myself on the edge of my seat while reading Unknown Threat and can’t wait for the rest of the series. I loved the little throwbacks to other characters in her previous series and fans will love seeing these characters make an appearance. This is a fantastic start to a new series, and I think readers will fall in love with these new characters. I recommend this series to fans of romantic suspense, especially if you like it heavy on the suspense. If you have never read anything by Lynn Blackburn, I highly recommend starting here and then diving into all the others.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Black Coral

Author: Andrew Mayne

Series: Underwater Investigation Unit #2

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The second book in the Underwater Investigative Unit series heats up with a fantastic opening, simmers a little in the middle to allow readers to catch their breath, and then concludes with a satisfying boil to make a tasty and delicious read.

Sloan McPherson has once again used her diving skills to help in an investigation and found more than she bargained for. At the bottom of a Florida pond, Sloan finds a van with four bodies inside that disappeared almost thirty years ago. Everyone involved in the investigation believe it was just a tragic accident, but Sloan sees something more and is convinced it was murder. More and more evidence surfaces linking more and more cold cases to the van. Sloan and her unit work to find the predator that has been on the lose for years and their investigation might have just reawakened the dormant monster more dangerous than any they have faced yet.

Black Coral had one of the best opening chapters I have read in a good long while. The suspense and tension were so thick I caught myself holding my breath at several moments. The middle fizzled a little bit with a slower pace, but the end was a satisfying conclusion that left me ready for more from the UIU. Sloan is a great and intense female protagonist and it was nice to see her tackle the hard jobs and moments and not let the men tell her she couldn’t handle it. Her relationship with her daughter brings a relatable element to her as a character and makes her not so stiff as when she is on the case. Most of the characters from the first book are back, and a few new ones to spice things up, make for a fun and mostly enjoyable read. There is a fair amount of language so it is not recommended for younger readers, but I do recommend for fans of suspense thrillers. 

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Cast the First Stone

Author: David James Warren

Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #1

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The start of the new series by superpower writers Susan May Warren and James Rubart along with David Warren will knock the socks off readers! This will be at the top of my best of the year list without a doubt!

Rembrandt Stone left his career of being a Minneapolis Police Detective to be home with his wife and daughter and avoid the dangers the job brings. After his former mentor dies and leaves him a box full of cold cases and an old watch, Rembrandt is pulled back into a world from long ago, a world he thought he left behind. Not sure if it is a dream or some new reality, Rembrandt finds himself in his world from twenty years ago, back at the scene of the crime of the first cold case he opened from the box. If he can solve the cases that have haunted him for decades, maybe justice will be served. But at what price? Will it change just the past or will his future be changed as well?

This is a review I have had to sit and ponder on for a few days. The story was so good, so fast, and so great that I am dying to get my hands on the rest of the series. This is a spectacular time-travel story that deals with regrets, second chances, mistakes and how important it is to appreciate the things we have and to not only wish for what we don’t. As Rembrandt finds himself in the past trying to solve his old cold cases, readers see him struggle with trying to remember the details but also wondering how he got there. The raw emotion on the pages pulled me in and held me so tightly I had trouble doing anything else until I turned the last page. This is a story with relatable characters full of flaws, passion, and so much more.

Honestly, there wasn’t much about this story that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve read Susan May Warren and James Rubart for years. When I heard they were collaborating on a new series, I knew it would be epic, but I had no idea how great it would end up being. The story read so quickly it will be one readers can pick up and read in one sitting, If you have never read anything by Warren or Rubart this is a great place to start, and if you have read others by them, be prepared to be blown away with this new series. The fact that there are five more coming all this year makes me giddy. Books like this are the kind of escape we need with the crazy world we have right now. I recommend this book to all readers that love thrillers, time travel, suspense and all the things that make up a great novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Obsession

Author: Patricia Bradley

Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic suspense read with tension at all the right spots! Fans of Patricia Bradley will not want to miss this one.

Emma Watson is a Natchez Trace Ranger and historian. She has been working at a historical landmark when shots are fired at her. With her life in danger, the authorities are called  to keep her safe and the one person she never wanted to see again is assigned to protect her. Sam Ryker is a district ranger and when he sees Emma after being called about her being shot at, all his old feelings for her come rushing back to him. Their time together was good, and he never understood why she broke off their engagement. Emma doesn’t know if the shooter is someone mad about her work at the landmark or a delusional secret admirer who is trying to get her all to himself.

Patricia Bradley is a fantastic Romantic Suspense author and her Natchez Trace series is continuing to be one of my favorites. The relationship between Sam and Emma had me from the get-go. I was wrapped up in their past drama and the trouble Emma is now experiencing. The writing in this book is probably her best yet with the story being tight, characters that act naturally and help the story progress, and some of the most intense moments that kept me glued to my seat. Something about the way Emma was written and her stalker made for great writing; she was in danger at so many moments and yet she refused to give up or give in no matter what came next. This is the second book in the Natchez Trace series and this time we get to see Emma and Sam, other characters from the series make an appearance as well. Even though this is the second in the series it isn’t necessary for readers to have read the first to enjoy this one. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy this addition to a fantastic series. I recommend this to fans of Bradley’s writing and even those that might be new to her as an author and want to give a great book a chance.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Network of Deceit

Author: Tom Threadgill

Series: Amara Alvarez #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A top-notch thriller with fantastic characters that pull at the heartstrings and keep you cheering them on until the very last page.

Amara Alvarez made headlines after rescuing nearly fifty kidnapped children and is finally getting what she wants, a chance to work in San Antonio’s Homicide Division. With her first case, she is almost in over her head when a teenager dies suspiciously at a local water park. As the investigation picks up speed, Amara finds herself in the middle of the danger by cybercriminals who know her every move. Her leads are few and far between and those above her are threatening to move her investigation to cold case files. Amara resorts to unconventional methods to solve the case and prove herself to those who say she doesn’t belong in Homicide wrong.

The second installment in the Amara Alvarez series starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. This is my kind of suspense novel, a top-notch strong female protagonist that will stop at nothing to do her job and prove others wrong. Amara is a wonderful female protagonist that I love to follow and cheer her on during her journey. Each new chapter led to a new adventure and tension that kept me glued to the page. The family dynamic really helps the story tremendously by making her and so many of the characters more relatable. The story flowed well, and each new twist worked great (especially the one at the very end, made the story ten times better, and it was believable!!) When an author can put an amazing believable twist like this at the end of a book it is something to be celebrated, not a lot of authors are able to write like this.

Amara has a tough time with those she works with but doesn’t let it deter her from accomplishing her goals and helping others and solving crimes. Tom Threadgill is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors, not much about his writing that I don’t enjoy. Even though this is the second in the series, readers won’t have to read the first to enjoy this one. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a fantastic suspense novel that will leave them smiling after turning the last page.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

A Stranger at the Door

Author: Jason Pinter

Series: Rachel Marin Thriller #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Far better than the first in the series! Readers will not want to miss this spectacular thriller!

It has taken a long time for Rachel Marin to get to a good place. After years of hardships and very difficult situations, she is finally happy adapting to life as a single mom and working alongside the local police department. When one of her son’s teachers is murdered and she is called into help on the case, her perfect little world starts to crumble. After the investigation begins, she discovers an email the teacher sent to her shortly before he was killed. As she is working with the department to find those responsible, an old friend she never expected to see again shows up in her life and threatens to reveal all she knows of Rachel’s past. While she is trying to help determine who murdered her son’s teacher, he is being recruited by someone looking to use her son to keep her in line if she gets too close to discover the truth.

As I picked up this book to start reading it, I thought about the first in the series, Hide Away. It was good, but not that memorable and nothing I planned to really read again. So with that in mind, I decided to give the author another shot and I am sure glad I did. I flew through the pages of this story and loved every minute of it. I had such a connection to the characters and was pulled in quickly. The way Pinter used Rachel being a mother and willing to do whatever it took to protect her family coupled with the antagonists using her son against her was so beautifully written. As a mom, I was drawn into the story by this and couldn’t put it down. The plot was great, characters were engaging, and it is an overall great thriller.

For me, one of the best aspects was the last fifty or so pages, the way the story wrapped up played out exactly as it should, nothing felt forced or unbelievable. The characters had a very natural way of talking and reacting to whatever situation they encountered. Really, there isn’t much negative I can say about this other than I’m sad it’s over, I could have been happy reading more and more. Hopefully there will be another in the series coming out and another after that. There is some harsh language, violence, and sexual content that makes it for mature audiences only. With that being said I would recommend to those that enjoy a fast-paced thriller and a long weekend with nothing to do but sit and read. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A medical/legal thriller that gets darker with every twist and turn!

Caroline Bragg is excited to start her new job as legal counsel for Praecursoria, a research lab working on cutting edge therapy for cancer treatment. Along with the new job, her relationship with Brandon Lancaster has never been better. Just when she thinks things can’t get any better, her world comes crashing around her as the job she thought was so perfect starts to show all is not as it seems and with each new stress at the job her relationship with Brandon becomes more and more strained. Brandon has been running a foster home and one of the kids in his care, Bethany, is very sick and a candidate for the new research. When the treatment doesn’t show the same results for Bethany as others and things don’t add up as they should, Caroline starts to wonder if things in the company are not as good as she and others were led to believe. The more she digs, the more she discovers the danger she and others are now in and wonders how much she might lose to expose the truth.

I have always loved Cara Putman’s writing style. She is a lawyer and her legal thrillers have always been top notch with so much passion, emotion and realistic content the story flies by. Lethal Intent is more of a medical thriller than legal thriller to me; the story revolves more around the sick kids and research than anything legal and I think that slowed it down for me. I didn’t feel any real tension in the story until almost halfway through. At that point though the story did fly by and was much more enjoyable, just not the usual fast paced thriller I am used to from her. The characters each had moments to shine, I enjoyed Caroline’s tenacity and commitment to follow through in finding the truth. Brandon was determined to do anything he could to help those he cared about. This is the kind of story that takes patience and the pay out at the end is good if you stick with it and don’t give up after the slow start. I recommend this to readers that enjoy medical/legal thrillers with a little romance thrown in the mix.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Bone Canyon

Author: Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Smart and cunning homicide detective Eve Ronin is back to solve another case and this one puts her up against the most dangerous odds she has faced!

Dealing with the aftermath of wildfires in the Santa Monica Mountains, homicide detective Eve Ronin and her partner are called when the remains of a woman are found. Eve is the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles county Sheriff’s Department and not many are happy with the way she got her position. Eve doesn’t let anyone’s opinion deter her from doing her job and solving the crimes in front of her. The remains turn out to be from a missing person case from over six years ago and each turn in the new case exposes more horrors and more bodies. Eve is now up against the most dangerous odds she has faced and isn’t sure who she can trust.

This is the second installment in the Eve Ronin series and am finding myself more and more in love with this character. She reminds me of Tracy Crosswhite by Robert Dugoni, and that’s a big comparison since that is my favorite series by one of my very favorite authors. More and more male authors are writing lead female detectives and doing a bang-up job of it. Eve is a tough, gritty and determined detective that isn’t afraid to do the hard things to solve a case. Even though she is up against a department that isn’t for her, she knows she is where she belongs and is willing to do what it takes to prove herself. I loved the way she took whatever is thrown at her and get right back up, but also doesn’t pretend to be superhuman and show no pain. The times when she is with her partner and they banter back and forth were perfect, along with the investigation moments with the anthropologist, Daniel. Something about the way those two relationships were written really made the story flow well. I am still not a fan of Eve’s mom, she just annoys me, which I think that is the way she is supposed to be written so in that sense it is a job well done. There is a fair amount of language and sex throughout, none of it graphic, but enough to make me say it is for a mature audience only. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy a fun suspense thriller that will take no time to breeze through.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.