"Someone seems to be after me and I'm not sure why."
~Alexia Allen (page 143 of When the Smoke Clears)
I love a good suspense novel, don't you?
Last week, when I was searching for a book to read in my oversized to-be-read pile, I had a few criteria. First, it had to be a novel that would quickly capture my interest. It must be one that I don't want to put down until I read the very last word on the final page. This time around, I was looking for an author I had previously read before. And lastly, I needed to be finished with it in two or three days, so I could get back to work on my own manuscript.
When my eyes landed on Lynette Eason's When the Smoke Clears, I knew I had found a winner. Previously, I had enjoyed her suspenseful Women of Justice series. They captured my interest and I could hardly put them down! Since I had finished each of the books in that series in less than three days, I figured the same would be true of When the Smoke Clears.
I was right.
Here's my own brief summary of the first book in the Deadly Reunions series:
Since she's been suspended pending an investigation into a piece of faulty equipment, firefighter and smokejumper Alexia Allen decides to attend her 10-year high school reunion in the hometown she fled immediately after graduating. As she's confronted with her troubled past, a series of murders casts a murky shadow on her future. Will Alexia evade the killer long enough to clear her name in both cases looming over her? Or will she run away from her problems like she did as a child? Or will the killer catch up to her before she has a chance to do either?
Just thinking about this book again gave me the chills! I can't wait to start reading the next installment in this gripping series!
If you are a fan of Christian suspense novels and have not yet discovered Lynette Eason, you should run (don't walk!) to your nearest library or book store and pick up one of her titles. She does not disappoint readers looking for a good crime drama with lots of twists and turns. When I read a Lynette Eason book, I know I'm getting a tightly written story that will keep me up at nightâ€”the perfect and expected thing for a suspense novel to do! It leaves me so interested in the plotline, I don't want to put it down. Besides that, I get so anxious to discover the killer that I couldn't sleep a wink even if I wanted to.
I've decided that next time I read one of Lynette's books, I'm going to make my own suspect list and see if I can figure out whodunit before the big reveal at the end of the novel. I challenge you to do the same!
Okay, it's obvious from the beginning that this is the kind of book that will grab your attention in the same way someone can grab the front of your shirt and insists on keeping it until the last page. Apparently, someone is VERY determined to destroy Alexia Allen's life from the beginning of the story. This is the kind of book that should be made into a movie (that's how I pictured the plot unfolding while reading it).
Even though Alexia is a firefighter and smokejumper (had to look this one up and found it on Wikipedia_. A smokejumper is a wildland firefighter who parachutes into a remote area to combat wildfires), the book only has her on active duty at the start. I really wish there had been more parts of the story allowing her to be an active firefighter. She thinks like a first responder and firefighter throughout the book, but she doesn't get to play a hero in this book as a killer hunts her down.
As great as this story was, there were a few things I didn't enjoy about it:
Police officers are killed
There is intense abuse in Alexia's family
There are minor characters in the story who question Alexia's innocence
There are some parts of the plot that are left unanswered (which leaves room for a sequel but I really wanted more questions answered)
In spite of the above mentioned, I was really taken with this story. One thing I loved about this book, someone names her pets after Star Wars characters_.what a treat to read about Yoda and Chewy! When the Smoke Clears is extremely well written, nonstop action, and there is no profanity as we watch constant attempts on Alexia's life and those around her. There are three house fires, one explosion, and several unexpected attacks so there is plenty of violence but I considered the purpose to all of it and realized the MAIN message in this story was about forgiveness. There is much tragedy in Alexia's family that causes her to leave home the day she graduates from high school and so many things go unanswered or are forgotten because of the trauma she experienced. She has several flashbacks in the story and finally understands all that happened. She learns how much God loves her, starts reading her best friend's Bible, and learns to pray for the first time. It is a nice ending and despite my not liking everything that went on, the story had my full attention and that's evidence of great writing!
to a series. This is the story of firefighter Alexia who while struggling with her past, returns home after a 10 year period to find a dead body in her family home.
One thing I can always count on with this author is that she always starts things off with a bang and doesn't let the momentum slow throughout the book.
With Alexia I liked her character and I loved the fact that she struggles with her relationship with her mom as well as her budding relationship with God. This was something I could relate to. She was confident but not overly so. She had human strengths and flaws.
Our hero, Hunter Graham, I wasn't sure how I felt about him. On one hand he was a strong competent cop who excelled at his job. One the other hand, this whole competition thing with his brother Chad, made some parts feel to high school for me.
I'm thrilled that some of the mysteries will continue on into the next book. I really enjoy series that are tied together with a common thread. I am looking forward to reading the second book.
I love Lynette Eason books. She is one author that I lend out of my library a lot.