Lynette Eason returns with the first in her Deadly Reunions series, When the Smoke Clears, another romantic suspense that she is well known for. While I really enjoy Lynette's writing, a couple of things bothered me with this story. Thanks to the cover art I was anticipating some thrilling scenes about a female smokejumper but these did not eventuate, to my disappointment. While the back cover copy indicates Alexia is on leave, at some point I imagined we would see Alexia in her element, even more so when learning her back story and what had drawn her to such a risky career in the first place. The other frustration was the over kill (pun intended!) when it came to the attempts on Alexia's life, that at one point seemed to be occurring every few pages, and kept pulling me from the story. That said, all is not lost! Lynette's strong writing is evident on all other aspects of the tale, from the underlying mystery, the attraction between Alexia and Hunter, and good characterisation. Hunter's brother Chad provides extra conflict and interesting family dynamics and I like that threads of intrigue are not tied up leaving them to flow through the series. The high expectations I have for Lynette's stories was not quite met with this one, but I would still recommend it and will look forward to the second in the series, When A Heart Stops, releasing this October.
I really enjoy Eason's suspense writing. She usually has me turning pages from the very beginning - starting off with action from the get-go. I will say, that with so much danger facing the main character in this book, it's a little unrealistic that she escaped it every time, but it makes for a good fiction read all the same :-) So far I have guessed the bad guy in all of Eason's stories, but that almost makes it more nail-biting when you know have a good guess what is coming. Good ending - I wasn't expecting that, but I won't elaborate so I don't spoil the ending - you will just have to read it for yourself ;-)
This novel of course had romance (and that part was pretty much predictable), but the mystery that kept me sitting on the edge of my seat was anything but predictable!
Lynette kept me intrigued and mystified as to who the perpetrator was surrounding the attempts on the main character Alexia's life as she returns home for her high school reunion. I was taken by surprise when I figured out who it was.
I shed a few tears as Alexia dealt with demons from her past. It was good to read how her circumstances brought her closer to God and not farther away from Him. We humans have a tendency to run from Him, don't we?
As a heads up this is a murder mystery with multiple murders occurring, but no really graphic details were revealed.
This book was definitely worth the read and I cannot wait for the sequel!
Alexia Allen is a stong, competent firefighter. So when she finds herself under investigation and on leave, she makes the difficult decision to visit her estranged mother and attend her high school reunion. Upon her return home, she finds a dying man in her mother's home and she is suddenly the person of interest in his murder investigation. It's not the first time this town has looked on her with suspicion and the past still haunts her. When Detective Hunter Graham seems to take a personal interest in keeping her under supervision, Alexia balks, but soons comes to appreciate his protection when further incidents arise. Will Alexia be able to clear herself of present and past suspicions? Will her budding romance with Hunter survive the accusations, incidents and danger?
Lynette Eason is one of my favorite authors for Christian suspense/romance novels. When the Smoke Clears is the first book in the Deadly Reunions series and it did not disappoint. Eason's flawless writing combined with the mystery and suspense aspects of the plot kept me hooked throughout the whole story. Alexia's character was complex, well-developed and authentic. The story had plenty of closure and yet the epilogue now has me awaiting the next installment in the series. I recommend this book if you are looking for an inspirational, contemporary romance with plenty of suspense.
Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."