Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the
I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narco-terrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…
Dead by Midnight.
Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.
I want to say this is a five star read. It’s close. Even if you have NO idea who all these featured couples are (because this book is about EVERYONE in the series), you will get caught up in the brilliantly constructed suspense story that manages to jump from place to place while still making sense. You’ll LOVE the realistic dialogue and the brilliant research that makes this a believable story.
But it’s CLOSE, not there. My issue is: BABIES. But more about that later.
I’m not up to date on the I-Team series, but I knew almost enough to keep up (even if Marc/Matt and Kat/Kara kept mixing me up!). I think Clare did a great job of dropping hints about who these people are without annoying us with info-dumps.
On top of that, Kaylea Cross is one of the BEST romantic/military suspense authors you will ever read, and her characters appear in this book, so that made it extra great.
It’s really hard to explain why some authors have “it” and some don’t, but it’s there in the text. People act and think and speak like actual human beings. The research is impeccable, so you really feel like you’re immersed in the situation.
While the author clearly favours Sophie and Marc (book three) over any of the other couples (they’re all here in the book, but the page time devoted to certain pairings is really distorted, and even his sister gets more page time than almost anyone), I didn’t mind because the structure of this complex story was so impressive. Few authors could jump from room to room, person to person, and situation to situation without making it jarring. It was pretty brilliant.
As someone who isn’t from the United States, I found the constant mentions of ‘holiday party’ and ‘holiday decorations’ really jarring and distracting; it’s Christmas – call it by what it is! But then I suppose that’s accurate for the setting…
Now, the thing I really didn’t like:
I think Pamela Clare is an incredible author. I also think she is an incredible woman in general, and has achieved amazing things as a journalist (which is why her stories are so believable and accurate).
However, she has a big love of pregnancy, childbirth and babies, and seems to struggle to believe not all women are the same.
The loss of a star for this book comes from one character: Holly (who is otherwise great!). Holly is a super-lady without being GI Jane. An operative who basically saves the day- er, night). She is intelligent and fun and kind, and she doesn’t want children.
However, over the course of one night – even less than that, actually (as the book’s timeline is given to you chapter by chapter) she decides she LOVES babies, thinks childbirth is wonderful, and tells her husband she is giving up on birth control so she can have his babies.
This upsets me greatly.
I am one of those women who apparently MUST be “cured” of their desire to NOT have children. As much as the author loves the whole baby thing, I dislike it just as strongly. No terrorist will ever cure me of that, I’m sorry. Seeing Holly cooing at babies after a few hours with terrorists…
I’d like to see ONE Clare heroine who doesn’t think childbirth is the best thing EVAH!
However, kudos to the author for this (Holly speaking to her husband about having babies):
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who has to go through it. All you have to do is come.”
But then I remove it for this (and other quotes) – after the attack:
Holly sat next to Sophie, her gaze on the babies.
Well, that’s new.
However, this book is sort of cool. How often do you find a major terrorist issue incorporated into a Christmas romance book without it being ridiculous? The combination of Clare and Cross is about as good as it gets.
Even if you don’t know who all these characters are, I still think I’d recommend this to pretty much anyone who reads this sort of book.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.