Lynn H. Blackburn’s new Defend and Protect series novel: “Under Fire” (a review)

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I am always ecstatic to get a new suspenseful thriller to read–especially when it’s by Lynn H. Blackburn. And this one definitely did not disappoint! Let me tell you more about Under Fire!

About Under Fire

Lynn H. Blackburn’s fantastic Defend and Protect series are the very best of special agent books. United States Secret Service agents and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation face an array of criminals who will stop at nothing to achieve their wicked and cruel aims. But the agents are just as determined to stop them. In the Defend and Protect books, there are crossover characters, as two of them (in each book) get the main storylines; but they all work together to serve the U.S. and those they’re protecting. Under Fire joins Blackburn’s other series titles of Unknown Threat, Malicious Intent, and Targeted. I’ve read them all—and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this newest addition!

In Under Fire, special agents Zane Thacker and Tessa Reed meet after a long time apart. When they’d gotten to know each other before, Tessa had faced some serious personal issues, and pursued healing before reclaiming her Secret Service position. Now she’s back in Raleigh while Zane works in the D.C. area. While each has feelings for the other, those feelings have remained unspoken while they text each other, frequently, as friends.

Now they’re both in Raleigh, as the president will be the guest of honor at a fundraiser held at the home of a friend. The Secret Service is tasked with ensuring that he’s safe while there…but threatening emails have begun to pour in, and the agents have to check out each one. That’s frightening enough, but totally within the agents’ purview. What’s making Tessa, Zane, and the others especially concerned is the fact that someone seems to be targeting Tessa. And that person seems to know a little bit too much about her…and a frightening incident from her past.

My thoughts

WHAT a satisfying book, and fantastic addition to the Defend and Protect series! I loved getting to see my favorites from previous books–Faith, Luke, Gil, Ivy, and of course Zane–and Tessa! Blackburn developed both the protagonists’ characters so beautifully. Tessa, who’s overcome a serious issue, but who’s still facing scars from that, but from the shame and embarrassment connected with events with Zane that happened earlier. She’s also very much a woman in a man’s world (my note: the U.S. Secret Service definitely recruits women. In my research, I found statistics that ranges from saying that 9% to 25% of current Secret Service agents are female.) And while most of Tessa’s colleagues respect her knowledge, abilities, and strength, there are always those who…well, you know.

So, despite her exceptional abilities to perform her job, Tessa still has some damaged parts of her soul. As does Zane. And as can so often happen, those damaged areas in each of them do conflict. Watching them try to see if they can work out their differences, and depending on their faith in God, was as fantastic to watch as their professional challenge of rooting out the actual threats potentially facing the president on his upcoming Raleigh visit.

I will personally never be an agent of any kind–but I adore reading wonderful fiction about them. Under Fire combines fascinating agents, great friends, and a mystery that no one is sure is solvable. Get yourself a copy of this wonderful book!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.

“Targeted” ~ a new 3-in-1 book review

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Recently, I had the opportunity to read 3 novellas by 3 of my favorite writers of romantic suspense–all in one book! The book is Targeted, by Lynette Eason, Lynn H. Blackburn, and Natalie Walters. I received a copy of this marvelous read from Revell. Let me tell you my impressions!

About Targeted

In this fantastic collection of romantic suspense thrillers, all in novella form, readers meet 3 strong women who are suddenly, and unexpected, the target of nefarious plots. And three fantastic men come alongside them to help…and get more than they bargained for!

  • In Lynette Eason’s On the Run, FBI agent Daria Nevsky comes home before a trip to find her front door opened…and a would-be kidnapper ready to take her against her will. Where, she doesn’t know; and a wound from a knife fight sends her to the hospital, where she meets Dr. Ryker Donahue. He’s willing to go the extra mile to help her (despite her clearly-qualified abilities and strength). But the two have more danger ahead of them, and to survive, will they need to go it alone?
  • Lynn H. Blackburn’s Deadly Objective introduces readers to physical therapist Emily Dixon. She has been working with the U.S. Vice President’s son, Mason, after an injury sidelined him from golf. The Secret Service agent, Liam Harper, who’s assigned to Mason is one of the few who can deal with the teen’s moods and disrespect. But when an attack begins against the Vice President’s residence, the agents whisk Mason, Emily, and the Vice President’s family and staff to a safe house. But they don’t know who masterminded the attack, or if there’s another one ahead.
  • Caught in the Crosshairs, by Natalie Walters, rounds out the trio with CIA officer Claudia Gallegos. Her efforts overseas in another operation connect her to a Saudi prince who reaches out to her for help. When she arrives, however, she’s too late. And former Army PSYOPS officer Ari Blackman (rumored to be the James Bond of the CIA) has the job of debriefing Claudia. (That doesn’t go well.) But Ari might just have the means to save her life, a little later.

My thoughts about Targeted

I was thrilled to read Targeted–and actually couldn’t put it down once I began reading it! The three stories about three amazing, courageous women–women whom you’d love to be friends with in real life–mix perfectly together to provide readers with a novel-length read.

Although Daria, Emily, and Claudia don’t actually meet each other in the books, they’re all living and working around the same Washington circles: the Secret Service, the FBI, and the CIA. And, they’re quite different, but all appealing in their own ways. Daria (from On the Run) has a horrible family history that still affects choices she makes in the present. Emily (of Deadly Objective) is wary of a romance with any Secret Service agent, because she’s observed that these exceptional people are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect those they serve–and while she admires that fully she doesn’t want the personal risk of falling in love with one of them. And Claudia (Caught in the Crosshairs) has spent her life proving she doesn’t have to do what her mother wants her to do with her life. And she certainly doesn’t trust the so-called playboy who uses his charm and good looks to discover secret information. (Of course, that info saves lives–but Claudia is irritated by that skill and its effect on other women.)

Each of these women is so relatable (yes, even if you’re not an agent yourself, as I am not!). I loved each protagonist. And the men were equally as awesome, in all their different ways. And the suspense! Just fantastic, dangerous, unexpected events in each book target the duos. You will hope for the best, for each of them–both in relationship and in getting out of danger alive!

If you’re fans of each of these authors’ books, you’ll appreciate their characters from their previous works that get woven in here and there. Fun! This book, both in part and in total, is a wonderful read. Pick it up over your holidays if you’ve got some reading time ahead!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions expressed here are my own honest thoughts.

Lynn H. Blackburn’s awesome new addition to her Defend and Protect series: “Malicious Intent” (a Revell Reads review)

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About this time last year, I had the extreme pleasure of reading Lynn H. Blackburn’s fantastic Unknown Threat, the first in her Defend and Protect series, courtesy of Revell Reads. And I’ve just finished her incredible book #2 in the series, Malicious Intent, also courtesy of Revell Reads! I just can’t recommend this series to you highly enough. Let me tell you a bit more.

About Malicious Intent

Once upon a time, Ivy thought she would grow up and marry her childhood love, Gil. That was before events transpired that separated them, and, Ivy imagined, would keep them apart forever. How could Gil and his family ever forgive?

Since then, Ivy completed her university and even doctoral studies, and founded a company devoted to the creation of exceptional prosthetic devices, especially for those who’ve lost a limb. Hedera, Inc., is finally poised to begin clinical trials on a prosthetic that seems incredibly likely to change the world for amputees.

That is all before a series of events that might get Ivy killed…and delay the trials, perhaps forever. Counterfeit money. Criminal trespass. A forced interrogation. And worse.

But these have a most unexpected consequence: they bring Ivy face to face again with Gil. Now Secret Service Agent Gilbert Dixon. And Ivy can tell he is both as shocked to see her as she is to see him; and, more, that all those years of distance haven’t lessened the connection their hearts once built.

The question is, can Ivy survive long enough to see if more than just a past love is possible?

My thoughts

I LOVE Lynn H. Blackburn’s writing! She is masterful at creating suspenseful and captivating storylines. Her characters are genuinely interesting people who’ve devoted years, talent, and amazing skill sets to rising to places of excellence in their fields. And, they are deeply connected to their friends and those they love. All of these make Blackburn’s newest, Malicious Intent, a fabulous read filled with characters I truly rooted for and a book I couldn’t put down.

Ivy and Gil are both SO appealing. And their sweet relationship, which was devastated by life events neither caused, was such a loss. It was a fun ride to watch them come face-to-face with “the one that got away”–for once, an equal loss on both sides.

Gil’s fellow agents (and committed friends) in both the Secret Service and the FBI exemplify what the highest and best candidates can bring to those professions. (Yes, I realize that they’re imagined characters in a book. They were still AWESOME.)

And then, there’s the story! Who on earth would want to stop someone from bringing amazing prosthetics to market? Ivy doesn’t know. Neither does Gil, nor do his fellow agents. But the clock is ticking. And they might not survive discovering the answer.

I would say that Malicious Intent is one of my favorite suspense reads of the year. I do love a fantastic police procedural (although really, this would be more of a Secret Service procedural). Malicious Intent definitely qualifies as a fantastic example. Excellent characters (who also, I forgot to mention, love God), a sweet love story, and a well-paced story that is filled with unexpected danger. You will love Lynn H. Blackburn’s newest. Don’t miss it!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. Here, I’ve expressed my own opinions honestly.

“Unknown Threat” by Lynn H. Blackburn (a review)

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Hi there!

If you love inspirational suspense thrillers, you’ll love the new Lynn H. Blackburn book I just finished! Revell Reads sent me a print copy of Unknown Threat. It had engaging characters, fascinating suspense, and an appealing story. I couldn’t put it down!

Luke and Zane are out for their Monday morning run. They used to run as a trio; with their friend and fellow Secret Service agent Thad. But Thad was gone and now it was just the two of them. They lost Thad when his car exploded as he turned the ignition one night. There are no clues, and there is no explanation for the crime. But the guys are trying to move forward even as they mourn the loss of their friend.

As they finish their run around the lake and head back toward the parking lot, a shot rings out; and Zane falls to the ground. Luke dives to the asphalt beside him. Zane is hit, but still alive. Shots continue to echo and both are injued. Then, something all too familiar happens again; Zane’s car explodes. Luke and Zane survive but other agents aren’t so lucky. Who could possibly be targeting the Secret Service in its Raleigh, North Carolina office?

FBI agent Faith Malone is put in charge of the investigation. Faith, and her boss, believe that Luke’s and Zane’s attack is connected to Thad’s murder earlier. But they have no idea who is seeking to decimate the agents. There have been no trips to North Carolina by the president or the vice president. And other agents are now under attack. Then, they discover that there was a woman in the car with Thad in the explosion. A woman that was not his wife.

Faith and Luke, who’s recovering from his own injury, are desperate to protect the other agents and discover who’s behind the shootings and explosions. Could it be the head of the local mafia? They reach out to confidential informants, other agents, and the medical examiner’s office. There just don’t seem to be any clues they can follow.

Before the investigation is over, an incredible story of loss, lies, love, and crime will be revealed. And Faith and Luke may discover, despite their allied yet often-competing agencies, that they might be just right for each other romantically. But to pursue a romance, they’ve both got to survive an ever-deepening and extremely dangerous case. Will they be able to come out on the other side?

Lynn H. Blackburn is a master weaver of the suspense story. I loved all the characters and I was fascinated with the storyline. (I’m a definite fan of the police procedural, and this was such an exciting one!) I couldn’t have predicted the way things would have turned out; Blackburn kept me guessing til the very end. I was thrilled to find out that she has another novel coming out in this “Defend and Protect” series. I can’t wait, and I definitely recommend this book to you!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.