July is a month of suspense here at Spire Reviews. Sprinkle in a little romance and the books highlighted this month should hold appeal for all readers.
Thomas Nelson, 384 pages
I always look forward to reading Sibella Giorello's next novel. Her (romantic) suspense is intelligent and challenging. Her prose is mature, and her relationships are authentic. You won't find eye-rolling romance in her novels--it's all very real. If you haven't read Sibella's work before, I encourage you to start with her debut, The Stones Cry Out, and work your way through all five Raleigh Harmon books. You'll be begging for more.
After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.
Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who's fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger-and more sinister-is ruining Emerald Meadows.
She's never felt more alone.
Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can't turn to her family for support. They're off-limits while she's undercover, and her mother isn't speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh's fiance wants them to begin their life together-now-precisely when she's been ordered not to be herself.
With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who's behind the track's trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiance will make things better-or worse.
Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she's faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.
B&H Books, 400 pages
This is the fourth book in which Struecker and Gansky have collaborated, all centering around a Special Operations team. Each book could be classified as Page-Turning action yet the authors deftly weave in a subtle faith message. Where Gansky brings years of writing expertise, Struecker's Ranger experience (Black Hawk Down fame) brings authenticity to the characters. As with Sibella's series above, if you haven't read any of this series, I encourage you to start with the first, Certain Jeopardy, where you'll first meet the Spec Ops team. I guarantee you'll speed through all four novels.
Amelia Lennon no longer wears a uniform or carries a weapon. An Army trained Foreign Affairs Officer, she's negotiating a dispute with the Kyrgyzstan government that threatens to leave the U.S. without an airbase in that region. She traded her gun for the power of words, but now she needs both.
While following her government contact - Jildiz Oskonbaeva, the lawyer daughter of Kyrgyzstan's president - Amelia witnesses an attempt to abduct her. She manages to prevent the kidnapping, but now the two women are on the run in a city that's erupting into chaos.
Master Sergeant J.J. Bartley is the Special Operations team leader tasked to rescue Amelia and Jildiz.
With two new members in his unit - one with a secret that could endanger everyone's life - J.J. must soldier his unit through crazed mobs intent on overthrowing the government. Back home, his pregnant wife is misinformed that her husband and the team have been killed. But before this is over, Bartley will find out that's the least of his problems.
Tyndale House, 384 pages
I was pleasantly surprised by Janice Cantore's debut, Accused. I enjoy romantic suspense when an author doesn't overdo the romance angle, when the romance seems organic to the story. Cantore wrote it perfectly. I'm certain Abducted will be as deftly written, and I can't wait to pick up my copy.
After solving the mayor’s murder and exposing corruption among the top brass in Las Playas, Carly Edwards is happy to be back on patrol with her partner, Joe, putting bad guys behind bars. For once, everything in life seems to be going right.
But then everything starts going wrong. Slow to recover from an injury, her ex-husband, Nick, begins pulling away just as they were starting to get close again. Meanwhile, when Joe’s wife lands in the hospital with a mysterious illness, their baby is kidnapped. As Carly chases down every lead in a desperate search to find the baby, her newfound faith is pushed to its limits.