Active Defense – Lynette Eason

Active Defense Lynette Eason
Active Defense by Lynette Eason
Also by this author: Collateral Damage, Acceptable Risk
Series: Danger Never Sleeps #3
Published by Revell on January 5, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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four-half-stars

As a former field surgeon in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn't expect them to follow her home. When she returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house--and threatened her friends--she assumes it is the stalker who has been following her and creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble has followed her even there.
Luckily, a stalker isn't the only one watching Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it's what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead--and why--before it's too late.
Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason will have you looking over your shoulder as you dive into this fast-paced, suspense-filled story about losing control and finding something even better.

I like books that start with bangs. Explosions, that is.  Lynette Eason no doubt delivers this in both the figurative and literal sense with the third book of her Danger Never Sleeps series.

The first descriptor that came to mind for Active Defense by Lynette Eason: dynamic. It is an action-packed story, one that will leave you feeling like you are on one of those dropping rides at an amusement park. You climb higher and higher into the sky, anticipation making your stomach churn. Because you know the climb ends. There will be a dramatic drop that will suck the air from your lungs. It’s just a question of when. As a doctor in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine thinks her dangerous days are over after she has returned to the States. But the stalker – or “watcher,” as she calls him – leads her to believe differently. She’s a product of the foster system due to no fault of her own, and her childhood has taught her one thing: independence. Be invisible. Don’t ask for anything…not even from your friends.

And she doesn’t. Someone disturbs her home and leaves a photograph marked with red dots as though aiming a firearm. Heather flees, but her friends aren’t so easily dismissed. Travis Walker, in particular, has an interest in her well-being, and he will not let anything happen to her. He remains by her side every step of the way.

I don’t usually read as much this part of the year, but let me tell you, Active Defense by Lynette Eason was a good one. I did not like it quite as much as its predecessor, Acceptable Risk, but it’s still wonderfully written. It’s like traveling down a dark, gravel road with no streetlights. You know the road curves, but you are not sure where.

Or perhaps it’s a bit like the perilous drive I had back from a state park in August 2020. Minding my own business, crawling slowly forward in the blackness when all of a sudden, there was a cow in the middle of the road. Yes, really. A cow. Multiple cows. Active Defense is like that. You’re turning the pages one by one, when suddenly–BAM!–Eason hits you with a figurative cow.

A Soap Opera of Epic Proportions

This book is bewitching. I legitimately almost walked straight into an attic access ladder while reading it. I didn’t want to leave the story to walk down a hallway; why would I do such a thing?! Although I am quite relieved I didn’t actually run into the ladder…what a tale that would have been for work on Monday. No good reasoning for that bruise, at least not one my coworkers would have believed!

The only reason why I did not give the novel 5 stars is because it did read to me a little like a soap opera, or maybe a ramped-up Hallmark movie. Why do all romance novels seem to feature someone with an awful past? Why does the foster system always screw up the kid(s)? I am not a watcher of soap operas, but I know people who are. Soap operas don’t always make sense. Instead, the writers seem to roll dice to determine what’s going to happen to the characters.

“Athena….is the lost twin sister…of Fred, who has amnesia, who’s also the CEO of a company that’s been selling counterfeit hair products!”

While no one has amnesia in Active Defense, certain aspects of the novel had the “soap opera curve ball” quality. Eason, though, does a good job of explaining the snippets that left me with cartoon-like question marks popping up over my head. Even then, at times she did leave me scratching my scalp a few times, asking, “Huh?” A few points in the book disappointed me, which I won’t go deeply into since it would spoil the plot. But the “big reveal” of the stalker’s identity was, to me, a bit anti-climactic. And had I gone into the novel with the “soap opera” descriptor in mind, I probably could have predicted the main antagonist from the first few pages.

Conclusion

Active Defense by Lynette Eason is a riveting romance, full of character development (at least for the female protagonist) and edge-of-your-seat moments. You won’t want to sleep; I didn’t. You may not even want to eat; someone else had to practically shove food in my face so I wouldn’t starve. Guns and kidnappings and explosions, along with close friendships and humor, Active Defense has it all. If you’re a Dee Henderson fan, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this story just as much as I did. All of its “COWS!” and soap opera-like instances will leave your heart pumping, your mind captured, and your fingers itching to turn to the next page.

four-half-stars