After the numerous atrocities Navy SEAL, Max Jacobs, saw during his wartime tours, he returned home a changed man. Unable to control his anger and deal with the psychological trauma of his tours of duty, he accidentally struck his wife Sydney, which led to her filling for divorce. Feeling he had nothing to live for and no other options, he accepted the offer to lead an elite team of soldiers, who like himself had struggled since leaving the military. Though secretly funded by the government, their missions were humanitarian--rescuing villages and helping in situations where the US military could not openly operate. Not knowing Max is a member of this secretive elite team, Sydney began researching their work for a human interest article. Soon her research turned deadly and took her to places she should have left alone. With nice suspense and a surprisingly enjoyable romantic storyline, Nightshade is a fantastic start to what looks like an excellent series.
If my best friend is reading this, she's about to get a great laugh--I umm...stayed up until 3:00a.m. to find out if and how the guy got the girl. In my most humble opinion, romance normally interrupts an otherwise enjoyable story. However, on rare occasions, the characters are lovable and the interactions realistic enough so that I actually like the romantic elements in the story. This was one of those very few times. Honestly, I loved Nightshades' romantic plot line, which is one of the highest compliments I can give an author.
The reason the romantic element worked for me was because there was no question they loved each other and there was no doubt that Sydney was not ready to give up any more than Max was. Additionally, there were few scenes that included Max and Sydney, so there wasn't page after page of trite, shallow, recycled, ridiculously sickening dialog to wade through. Even though the outcome was not at all surprising, there was a good amount of internal turmoil that kept this aspect of the book not only interesting, but amazingly enjoyable.
The characters in this book were extraordinary. I immediately sympathized with Max. Reckless abandonment combined with internalized hurts where highly effective in creating a character the reader could love. It was a little harder to sympathize with Sydney though. Her actions were understandable and there's no excusing Max's behavior, but her decisions, especially late in the story made her more frustrating to follow. Other members of the Nightshade team were wonderfully intriguing and presumably subsequent books will fill in some of their backgrounds.
I adore military novels. What drew me to this one was the discarded hero element. I loved the movie The Rock (Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris). While the movie and the book shared little in common plot wise, they both highlighted members of the military who covertly sacrificed much during their service. This part of this story was outstanding. I wish there would have been more missions and flashbacks though. Aside from the last mission, there was only one other in which any details are given. From that mission there was a clear sense that some healing was occurring for these soldiers, but this plot element was largely dropped. However, this is the first book, so hopefully by the time the series ends there will be many more missions for the reader to enjoy and a chance to develop some parts that were started but not finished.
There were some pretty strong evangelical messages that are a bit overused by Christian novels, but this is really my only complaint. Over all I thought this was a great book that had enough suspense and thrills to keep me reading for long stretches at a time. Add to that my love for military novels, there is no way I'm missing the rest of this series.
"Nightshade" is a military suspense novel that both men and women will enjoy. It's fast-paced and intense, with danger lurking throughout the story for both Max and Sydney. Non-bad-guy characters do die. The world-building was excellent, bringing the story alive in my imagination. I liked the characters and cared about what happened to them. They acted in realistic ways, and I liked the tension of Max and Sydney still wanting to be together yet not seeing how that was possible with all the problems … more
A little bit about me. I read primarily Christian fiction. My favorites are suspense, with supernatural elements always being a plus. I most enjoy books that will keep me thinking well after I'm done … more
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VALOR, ACTION, ROMANCE, HEART... Nightshade is the perfect blend of everything I like best in a story. I can’t recommend it enough!
(John B. OlsonAuthor of Powers20100524)
Nightshade kept me up all night! A tight plot, heartthrob heroes, and description so rich I could hear the jungle noise, feel the heat slide down my back. I’ll be clearing out a shelf to make room for Ronie’s books!
(Susan May WarrenAuthor of Nothing But Trouble)
Ronie Kendig has outdone her debute release, Dead Reckoning with Nightshade. This intense story full of action, is also full of emotion and life. Men dealing with issues they hadn’t planned on. Surprise after surprise and bomb after bomb set this adventurous trail with the reader racing to the end. I found myself crying and smiling and hated it when it ended. But, I have it on good authority that that there are more Discarded Heroes stories coming. Ronie, I can’t wait!