Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn – Interesting plot and characters, but had a convoluted ending

When I saw that Lynn H. Blackburn had a new book out, Unknown Threat (Defend and Protect, Book 1), I wanted to read it because I had enjoyed her earlier novel Beneath the Surface

Unknown Threat’s plotline sounded intriguing.  US Secret Service Special Agents Luke Powell and Zack Thacker went out for an early morning run and when they return to their vehicles suddenly, they are under fire.  As they are lying on the ground looking at their vehicles, they realize that their cars are wired with bombs.  Will they survive until help comes?  Who in the world is trying to kill them and for what reason?  FBI Special Agent Faith Malone has been assigned to investigate these attacks and try and protect the remaining US Secret Service team in Raleigh.

This fast-paced story drew me in from the beginning.  Interesting to think about how people who risk their lives to protect others might respond when they are targeted?  I liked the character Luke Powell and the US Secret Service team, their friendships, and their commitment to one another. 

I didn’t quite connect with Faith Malone, she seemed more like a caricature of a tough single woman who sacrificed her personal life for career advancement.  The repeated Cherry Coke references kind of got old.  It was understandable why Faith might be attracted to Luke who was a decent nice guy, but I didn’t understand what he saw in her. 

Faith’s sister Hope was a very likable and refreshing character.  I would like to see her in future books of the Defend and Protect series.  It was hard to understand how the character Special Agent Janice Estes kept her job.  Was she incompetent or just plain corrupt?  She wasn’t very believable. 

While I liked many of the characters, I struggled a bit with the plotline.  It was very convoluted and I don’t see how a reader would have been able to figure out the mystery.  The story ended rather abruptly and if it hadn’t been for the last chapter summarizing whodunnit and why I don’t think I would have put the pieces together.  Not sure that the motives of the bad guys were believable.   

There wasn’t much about the Christian faith included in the storyline.  But I did appreciate that there was no profanity or sexual immorality.   

The good: likable characters and an interesting scenario.  Not so good: the convoluted plot and ending and one of the main characters wasn’t very likable. 

Would I recommend Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn?  If you like Lynn’s books give this book a read.  This is the first book in the Defend and Protect series and some of the characters will be carried over to future books.

I would like to thank Revell Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H Blackburn – Likeable Characters and Interesting Scenario Make for A Good Read

I love mysteries and suspense novels and that’s what drew me to read Lynn H Blackburn’s newest book Beneath the Surface, the first book in the Dive Team Investigations series.

The story begins with homicide investigators, Ryan Parker and Gabe Chavez, training for underwater crime scene investigations when they discover a body.  What started out an exercise has now developed into a murder investigation.  To help with the logistics, Ryan reaches out to a neighbor and old friend, Leigh Weston, to see if the police can use her dock for a few days.

Soon, Leigh has some troubles of her own when she’s driving from home from work and her brakes give out.  Was it mechanical failure or something more nefarious?  Ryan and Gabe’s case load just got busier as they take a closer look in to Leigh’s accident.

What I liked best about this book are the very likable characters.  They are people I would like to know, I cared about them and about what happened to them.  It’s made all the more interesting as the mystery unfolds with new developments in both cases and unexpected twists.  I found the underwater crime scene investigation fascinating and enjoyed trying to figure out “who done it.”

Something the character Ryan said in the first chapter, “No one deserves to die forgotten.”, drew me in and I knew I would like this story.

I appreciated how Lynn wove the Christian faith into the lives of some of the characters and I hope that aspect of the story continues to be developed in the next book in this series.  Lynn’s knows how to tell a good story without resorting to filthy language or sexually explicit scenes.

There were times that the story seems to drag a bit as the story unfolded.  But it didn’t bother me too much because I liked the characters and interesting storyline.

Lynn Blackburn is an author who is new to me and she’s going on my list of authors whose work I want to read.  I look forward to reading her earlier and future novels, especially book two of this series.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Lynn H Blackburn’s new novel Beneath the Surface in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.