Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Darkness by Karen Robards

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?

Publisher: Gallery | Release Date: March 29, 2016 | Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Thriller (a slight romance) | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5

Challenges Read For: Pick Your Own Genre: Contemporary

A plane crash survivor and an ornithologist must rely on each other if they want to survive.
There’s a lot that could go wrong for Dr. Gina Sullivan, an ornithologist, during her research trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. So she wasn’t surprised when a severe thunderstorm pops up while she’s out tracking a pair of white-tailed eagles. Although she wasn’t prepared for the plane crash that happened right in front of her or the survivor she fished out of the freezing water.
James ‘Cal’ Callahan, a private contractor for the military and former Special Ops, knows that the plane crash wasn’t an accident. Someone wants him dead and the high-grade military secret he’s carrying destroyed. When Gina rescues him, he’s not sure if he can trust her and he knows she doesn’t trust him but when the majority of her research team are murdered, they have no choice but to stick together. If they want to survive, they must brave Attu’s unpredictable climate and it’s treacherous terrain while fleeing the small army of mercenaries who wants Cal dead.
So, this was an interesting suspense novel.
Gina was likable. She’s been through a lot, she lost most of her family in a plane crash, including her fiancé, yet she’s brave enough to brave the conditions of Attu to follow her passion.  Yet in some ways, she’s a bit whiney, internally and externally and that started to be annoying. Yes, she’s been through a lot but the whining started to get a bit much.
Cal was standoffish at the start and that kind of made him a bit hard to like. Yes, he’s guarding military secrets, yes he was betrayed by those he thought he could trust, yes he doesn’t know who is after him but it made it really hard to get to know him.
I liked the suspense. It didn’t exactly keep me at the edge of my seat but it keep me reading. Parts were a bit predictable, yet it still held my attention. I was expecting a bit more since it labeled as a thriller, but it was still an interesting read. I think the thriller aspect came more into play due to the remote location, the fact that they were stranded and basically alone.
The romance just seemed a bit off to me. Especially the sex scene, it was kind of like ‘hey, we’re being chased by these killers who really want us dead, but instead of getting rest or thinking up a plan of action, we’re going to shag in this cave/bunker then I’m going to spill my entire life story to you’.  
While I liked the plot, I did have a few questions. Like, how probable is it for a small plane to crash in front of someone who was the lone survivor of a small plane crash.  I also found myself wondering how Cal, who sustained a gunshot wound before the plane crashed, was able to climb mountains and carry Gina with the bullet still lodged in his side without bleeding to death. I also found it a bit off that, while running for her life, Gina had time to make remarks about the birds she spotted. Yes, she’s an ornithologist it could be an automatic coping mechanism, but honestly, the mating habits of egrets would be the last thing on my mind if a small army of mercenaries were hunting me down.
Overall, while some aspects had me scratching my head, I found myself enjoying this one. The beginning starts off a little slow, but the pacing does manage to even out. And I really like the isolated setting. It almost becomes another character.

What do you like to see in suspense novel?

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