First, there’s a new BELLE CHASSE tour stop today, talking about the disaster that is DJ and holidays. An undead serial killer blew up her house just before Thanksgiving. Can Christmas be much better? You can find it today at Fang-tastic Books, and enter to win the tour prizes.
Yikes! Somehow, I read another book! I’m doing pretty good at reading a chapter a day. It’s not fast, but it’s an improvement. I’m also bouncing across different genres. My current read is (ahem) Susannah Sandlin’s STORM FORCE, and I might review that too.
Anyway, here’s a little about FLASH FIRE by Dana Marton:
When an American teenager disappears abroad, Clara Roberts, a by-the-book investigator on a secret mission, joins forces with Light Walker, a former Navy SEAL turned lawless mercenary, to save her. The sparks they generate–and the trouble they stir up–threaten to set the jungle ablaze….Nothing is what it seems in this fast-paced romantic thriller. As attraction grows into love, looming danger turns into all-out war. Clara and Walker must hold on to each other and race against time to survive.
THE WHY: This is the 2016 RITA winner (think “Academy Awards for Romance Authors”) for romantic suspense, which is one of my primary genres. Since my own LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP was disqualified from the competition in 2015 for not being a “real” romantic suspense, I wanted to see exactly what a “real” romantic suspense might be, in the judges’ opinions.
THE GOOD: Both Clara and Walker have great, distinctive voices, and the book is well paced and beautifully written. There’s a nice, playful humor popped into appropriate places (ie, when things aren’t going to hell in a hand basket around them). The setting of the Mexican jungle amid warring drug cartels is both timely and interesting and while I don’t KNOW how believable it is, the setting is written convincingly enough for me. There are no real too-stupid-to-live moments, and the suspense is played up nicely. And Clara holds her own as a character against Walker, who could have easily stolen the show. Walker is real hero material in the end, but author Marton didn’t flinch at making him do a couple of really questionable deeds when we first meet him.
THE DIDN’T WORK FOR ME: So, Clara and Walker are fleeing through the jungle, being chased by deadly cartel guerillas with big guns. They jump off a cliff into the water, Butch and Sundance style, and all the while, she’s thinking how sexy he is with his muscles and his perfect jawline and he’s thinking somehow he’s attracted to her despite the fact that she’s built like a board. Now, mutual lust is a requirement for romantic suspense, and I get that. But I thought there was too much of it and not always at realistic times….which might be why my romantic suspense got DQ’d. There was probably not enough lusting during life-and-death situations. I also thought the excuse for Clara to be in Mexico to begin with (it involves her cancer-riddled father and a missing underage girl) was a little thin.
THE VERDICT: This is a solid, fun read, with great characters, skilled writing, a good mix of suspense and humor, and despite the abundance of lustful thoughts, a story that never veered into out-of-place love scenes. I’d give it a solid 4 Gators!
Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook of FLASH FIRE. Have you ever read a novel set in a Mexican jungle? I think this was my first.