Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason
ISBN: 978-0800720070
Published Feb 1, 2012
Trade paperback, 352 pages

This was a fast-paced, action-packed suspenseful novel; the first book in the Deadly Reunions series. Alexia Allen is a smokejumper with a difficult past. After an incident at work, she decides to return home for her high school reunion and to re-connect with her estranged mother. But shortly after she arrives, she stumbles upon a murder scene, is accused of committing it, and finds herself the target of a killer. Handsome detective Hunter Graham is on the case, and as the attraction grows between them so does the danger as the killer closes in on them.

I was quickly attracted to this book by the cover (gorgeous!) and the story premise. I enjoyed reading it. The author really knew how to build the suspense, making the fear palpable. Some of the action was a little over the top. In one week, Alexia was accused of murder, was shot at several times on different occasions, was almost run over by a van, was stalked, was accused of arson, was attacked, kidnapped, etc. But the author pulled it off, even as she also dealt with Alexia's budding romance with Hunter, her relationship with her mother and finally coming to terms with what happened in the past.

I loved that there were continuous twists and turns, and I didn't know where the story would go. Just when I suspected who the killer was, the author threw in unexpected sub-plots involving several characters that now became suspicious. The ending was unexpected because although we find out who the killer is, the story does not end there. One needs to read the second book to find out why someone hired a killer to get rid of Alexia, and what exactly happened that night ten years ago that prompted all of this. So although I knew this was a series, I expected it to be a complete story, with the next books in the series involving the same main characters solving other situations. The cliffhanger ending left me... hanging.

This is Christian fiction and the author intersperses Bible verses and the message of God's love for us, his protection and the need for forgiveness and acceptance of the past. All themes that are good. This is done in between flying bullets and exploding cars. Fine. What was harder to believe, though, is that everyone around Alexia is a church-going and practising Christian, from the detective, to her high school friend, her mother, the neighbours, and even an FBI agent. I can understand her friend and mother, but undercover, gun-wielding agents? Somehow they don't fit the Bible's version of Christ's followers, who remember Jesus words that “all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt 26:52)

Author Lynette Eason clearly knows how to write thrilling novels with a touch of romance. If you don't mind some of the small issues I had with this novel, it's a quick and exciting read.

Note: This book is rated V = Violence for scenes of murder, hitting and shooting. Nothing gory.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product. This book is available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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