When The Smoke Clears

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Title: When the Smoke Clears
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Series: Deadly Encounters
Pages: 352
Released: February 1, 2012

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Alexia Allen, a smokejumper, almost died due to equipment failure and is ordered to take some time off while the situation is under investigation. With a little begging from her friend, Alexia decides to recuperate at her mother’s house and attend her high school reunion. Unfortunately, someone isn’t going to make that easy for her. Within hours of arriving home she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery unlike any other.

The conflicts ahead stir up old ghosts and she struggles with forgiveness, but with the help of friends, family, and a handsome detective, she might just be able to unearth the secret she’s been keeping for ten years.
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I didn’t expect anything of what this book dished out. I expected a mystery that was mainly involved in firefighters. I didn’t get it. However, that didn’t disappoint me. Lynette Eason weaved a surprisingly suspenseful story. This book kept me on my toes, which isn’t easy to do. Even more shocking, this author wrote this suspense so well and with so much mystery and conflict, that she actually prevented me from guessing who the killer really was. That is almost impossible to do, and because she did the near impossible, this author surprised me by creeping up to my top suspense author’s list and didn’t budge throughout the entire book.

One thing you can’t say about this book is that it’s boring or slow-paced. This book started going during the prologue and didn’t slow down for one second throughout the entire book. It’s literally one murder or attempted murder after another. The main character doesn’t get to relax for a minute before her life is put on the brink of death again. Now, that many encounters in the small course of a week is a lot to keep track of and most authors get as jumbled as the reader when trying to differentiate between each attempt, however, this author made each attempt different and organized. Never once did I have to backtrack to figure out what the characters were referring to nor did an encounter slip through the crack of my memory.

Not only is the suspense great but, the way the suspense is written is fantastic. This author practically strikes fear into the reader, she made the attacks and attempts so real I practically could see and feel the flames licking at houses and the bullets whizzing past heads as the duck for cover. This author has a gift that she uses well and glorifies her Savior in the process. It’s a great combination that makes an incredible suspense with the perfect amount of faith and scripture integrated throughout.

The romance in this book was an afterthought, the way it should be in a suspense, and it was basically starting where they refused to go in high school. The really neat part about Hunter, Alexia’s love interest, was that he never doubted her innocence, not once, despite evidence to the contrary. Lynette Eason made the romance an interesting part of the book. I looked forward to every encounter and every kiss, it was another plus to a book that was incredible on it’s own.

Like I said in the first paragraph, I didn’t guess the killer, which is an incredible feat due to my love for suspense novels. However, not only was I wrong as to who the killer was but, I was way off. This author forever kept a character as a suspect there were at least three suspects and because of the forever changing suspects and motives, it keeps you on your toes. All I could do in this book is guess who it wasn’t.

The ending of this book was a shocker, not just to find out who the killer was, but because of the massive loose ends and cliff hanger the author left behind. This is the only part of this book that I’m on the fence about. On the one hand I hate the cliff hanger because how much of a hole it left in the story and now I have to wait who knows how long before I get to find out (grrrr). On the other hand, however, I love the cliffhanger because it makes me want to read the next book, in fact, it practically forces you to read the next book in the series. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, in fact, I’m determined to read the next book. I have to.

Overall, absolutely fantastic suspense with a touch of romance and an almost impossible killer to figure out; however the cliffhanger might be a major downfall in this story. This book is perfect for the suspense obsessed that just want a glimpse of what it was like before they could guess who did it after the first few chapters or who someone who just wants to read a great romantic suspense that makes you lose a little sleep in the process. I give this book a five out of five.

I received this complimentary copy of this book for the sole purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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