I don't know why I requested a review copy of Beowulf, as I didn't particularly enjoy the last Ronie Kendig book I reviewed. Perhaps I thought I should give Ronie Kendig another chance. I'm glad I did.
Timbrel Hogan is a dog handler with private firm A Breed Apart, working with Beowulf (surprise!), an explosives detection dog. James Anthony "Candyman" VanAllen is more than half in love with her, even though she won't give him the time of day. When Timbrel and Beowulf are assigned to Tony's unit, the two are forced to work together in a suspenseful plot that moves from Iraq to the US.
There were still aspects of Beowulf that didn't appeal to me. I thought there were too many minor characters, and I had trouble working out who many of them were (and were they even relevant to the story?). There was a glossary of military terms at the start of the novel: I would have found a list of characters far more useful. And while I know Ronie is known for "rapid-fire fiction", there were times I felt the writing was too rapid-fire. It almost felt as though she hadn't finished one thought before moving on to the next. And I found the parts where we moved to Iraq confusing, as it wasn't clear who the viewpoint character was, or what their connection was to the main plot.
But I really liked Timbrel and Tony (although I didn't quite get what Tony saw in Timbrel at the start). They were both flawed but real characters, both with their own internal struggles. Tony has a strong Christian faith; Timbrel moves from not believing in God at the start of the book to a Christian faith at the end. And I really liked the progression of their relationship, and the way Tony demonstrated endless patience with Timbrel, reflecting God's endless patience with us. This, to me, was the strength of the book.
Thanks to Barbour Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Let me say something I usually say at the end of a review when I have thoroughly enjoyed a book_don't miss reading this series! While the series started with Trinity, and continued with Talon, then ending with Beowulf and can be read as stand alone, I believe readers will appreciate the storyline more if all three books are read in order.
The author gives us a glimpse into military life along with its' dangers and ever presents threats, as well as telling us how the military trains handlers and their dogs. In this particular tale, we watch the ever-growing thread of romance between two team members that started in Trinity. The sparks that fly between the two are both funny and exciting to read. On a wider scale, the audience will watch as a terrorist is slowly planning revenge against the Great Satan. While this man is bent on destruction, he also mentors a young orphan he randomly picks and then the hatred begins to blossom out of control for both man and boy.
One characteristic I really appreciated the author having as part of her characters' personalities and lives is being a Christian. The way she crafts her characters makes them appear as real people, flawed and all, not perfect or unreal. Another positive for the series is that each book ends with a story about real servicemen who are also dog handlers. The readers can act to support these special people and families as well as four-legged friends as different foundations are shared to help the audience have a concrete way to help those who serve.
While I am sorry to see this series close, I look expectantly to the next book from this author, Raptor 6, coming out in May 2014 that starts off a new series. I want to thank the author and anyone who shows support in various ways to our servicemen and women all over the world and to those who are the unknown heroes. Where would America be today without our brave military and the sacrifice their families make every time they are called to serve?
I couldn't wait for Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog to come out but was also wondering how it could ever be as good as Trinity and Talon. I knew it would be an awesome book because it was written by Ronie Kendig. Not one of her books is even mediocre, they are all great, but to top her previous books was not possible! Well, I was wrong. Beowulf was the best of the A Breed Apart series.
Candyman was a favorite of mine in the previous books, so I was excited to see where his story with Timbrel would go. I have to say, this book takes you on an emotional ride. It's not too often a book will bring a tear to my eye, but this one did. You can NOT read Ronie Kendig books and go away without feeling a deeper sense of pride and respect for our Military.
I knew nothing about the Military Working Dogs before reading A Breed Apart series. These dogs are a huge asset to our country and need to be recognized for their work! I highly recommend these books to everyone and I'm impatiently waiting for May when Raptor 6 from The Quiet Professionals arrives
Typical Ronie Kendig nail-biter winner! This book will keep you flipping pages late into the night!
Timbrel Hogan and Tony "Candyman" VanAllen's story has been one that I have been anticipating since book one. I was not disappointed! Tony and Timbrel are both relentless when it comes to their relationship; Tony not taking no for an answer (even after she called the cops on him!), and Timbrel stubbornly refusing to let him in. Their relationship takes on a new level in this book when they are thrown together once again on a mission.
Beowulf- a big, mean, drooling bullmastiff- is the only "boy" Timbrel wants in her life; and he seems to agree, fiercely protecting her from any potential suitor. With his special training in chemical weapon detection, Beo is called to sniff out bombs in Afghanistan, and stumbles across something deadly.
This book will have you laughing, crying, and hanging in suspense at its twisting and heart-wrenching plot. So get some coffee, a warm blanket, and snuggle up and settle in for an edge-of-your-seat kind of experience!
If you're after a lighthearted read to carry you off to pleasant places, don't read this book! If you don't want to have vivid mental pictures and hardhitting action, don't read this book!
"Beowulf, Explosives Detection Dog" is the third in Kendig's "A Breed Apart" series, which honors the dogs who serve our military in different ways. It's hard to believe that Ronie hasn't been in the service herself with her fast-moving, tense writing about the members of ODA452, which is a Special Forces military team, and their participation in combat with the dogs and handlers from A Breed Apart Ranch, which trains military dogs.
"Beowulf" focuses on Timbrel, Beo's trainer/handler, and "Candyman" Tony James VanAllen. Their story is told with honesty and gut-wrenching emotion. After just two chapters, I was entwined into their lives and story and following every twist and turn of the fast-moving plot and tense action scenes. Again, it's hard to believe that the author doesn't have military experience, as she touchingly deals with the sensitive subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the havoc that it can play on families who care for and live with the brave soldiers who deal with this malady. But don't think that she spouts all of the traditional platitudes that dismiss the real heartbreak that comes with PTSD.
One thing that I really loved about this book is the way that the author brings humor and playfulness into a hard, biting, real story, that you just KNOW could be playing out somewhere in the world today, despite the fact that this is a fictional story. And being a Christian myself, I love how Kendig winds the saving love of God into the lives of her characters in a way that mirrors every Christian's daily battle with self, and every seeker's journey towards Christ.