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Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Hey, friends! So sorry this is coming to you a day later than expected. We had a wicked storm here Sunday night with scary fireworks-like sparks coming off a couple of power lines that were smacking against each other. Terrifying stuff, really. Thankfully, God kept the sparks from catching the tree or any rooftops on fire. Yesterday, the power company sent guys out, and they fixed the wires so that hopefully this problem won’t happen again.

Now, back to regular programming…

 
 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Reads. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this story. It was quite the intriguing mystery featuring high stakes, politics written well (and I’m tough to please on that front), and plenty of twists and turns along the storyline.

Positives:

The mysterious scene at the camp near the beginning was fantastic. It pulled in my interest and set the bar for the suspense vibes for the remainder of the story. I had hoped this was a sign the camp would play an integral role in the plot, but I ended up not missing it until about two thirds of the way in, so that speaks to the pace and twists being strong enough to keep me invested through the lack of focus on the camp.

Politics are not generally my thing, but I do love a good political thriller every now and then. The way that aspect of this story was written seemed organic and well thought out. It wasn’t over the top or oppressive or pushy, which usually irks me. Since those squirrelly vibes were absent, I was able to enjoy the politics in this book.

High stakes and plot twists really kept the pages turning for me. They’re hard to talk about without spoiling anything, but one thing for sure: they kept the story flowing at a white-rapids pace. There was a shocking twist that popped my mouth wide open, and I truly love it when suspense authors are able to hit that mark with me. I read the genre so often that a lot of times I can predict early on some pretty major things. That wasn’t the case with this particular twist. I truly did not see it coming.

Mystery was a great feature in this book. It started out with blood in the snow and took off from there, adding layers upon layers the deeper into the plot we trekked.

Negatives:

The story heavily emphasized the private investigator side of things and downplayed the Treehouse Gang, so it felt like the book belonged in the Private Justice series rather than the Code of Honor series.

The reasoning for payment issues didn’t work for me as life doesn’t offer many breaks for most folks simply because a person “honor[s] a promise to another” or “run[s] a nonprofit camp for kids.” Reasons given after this made more sense, but the initial reasons were unrealistic to me.

Something that’s becoming a bit of a trend in Mrs. Hannon’s books is that the leads’ first reactions are often of a sensual nature rather than professional. In one example from the story (among many), a “tiny breath hitch” as two characters shook hands was enough to “stoke [one character’s] libido.” Seeing that their former careers were Night Stalker (elite military group) and a police officer, it was to be expected that they would have had a greater amount of self-discipline than they showed. For me, this was a rather large inconsistency that was unrealistic.

The opening scene was jarring a creepy in a bad way. It was a first-person bad-guy point of view, and that was incredibly off-putting to me. Was I supposed to root for this evil person? If not, I’m not sure why the first-person perspective was chosen, as that created a very personal character-reader relationship. Yet, all of the other POVs (and there were SIX others, which seemed like a lot for a book of this length) were presented in the third person, which kept the reader at a greater distance than the too-personal bad-guy POV. I never did get used to this.

Now, I’m not completely tech-savvy, but I’m pretty sure an e-mail account may be accessed from any computer, smart phone, or any number of other electronic devices. I’m not sure why none of the three PIs figured this out. Personally, I have checked the same e-mail account on a phone, laptop, several desktops, friends’ computers, and hotel computers over the years. I’m fairly certain a person with the experience these PIs had would have immediately thought of that.

Perhaps the most disappointing and disconcerting moment was one in which a character let out a curse phrase that disrespected the Holy Spirit. The actual curse word was cut short, but the phrase was obvious and clearly planted in the reader’s mind with no warning. I found it to be in poor taste for the Christian genre.

Content: one expletive phrase, replacement expletives, replacement profanity, sexual terms, alcohol, tobacco, marital affairs

2 thoughts on “Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

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