Fatal Strike – DiAnn Mills

Fatal Strike by Diann Mills
Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills
Also by this author: Airborne, Deadly Encounter, High Treason, Deep Extraction, Where Tomorrow Leads, Long Walk Home, Trace of Doubt, Trace of Doubt, Concrete Evidence, Facing the Enemy
Published by Tyndale on September 3, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense
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There's a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

“On remote missions, she controlled her phobia with her mind. In and out, get the job done. She would learn to handle it with this case, too, and no one would learn the truth.” 

If that is not the epitome of foreshadowing, I do not know what is. Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills is a thrill ride from cover to cover. Two FBI snipers, thrust together to solve the murders of three Galveston community members. Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are both accustomed to being in control but put their differences aside. They want to find the criminals before anyone else gets hurt…or worse. Each time they find the answer to one question, five hundred more pop up. Nothing will stop them, though, and they won’t get distracted. Not even when attraction sparks between them. A happy development; that’s what it was.

Leah Riesel has a severe phobia of snakes. Even the mention of the slithery reptiles can paralyze her. So of course, this case involves rattlesnake venom. Perfect. Galveston PD and the Houston FBI office believes the notorious Venenos gang is behind the murders of a well-respected police officer, a prosecuting attorney, and a judge. Who else would inject their victims in the heart with venom? Leah is forced to face her fears basically every hour of the case. Her goal, though: Don’t let anyone else see it.

Jon Colbert, unfortunately, can read her like a book. He learns her mannerisms and how best to work with her to solve the case; meanwhile, he struggles through his own demons. God’s an enigma to him, but he’s studying the Word. Maybe God can help with the case and with Leah–both professionally and personally.

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills has the perfect mix of humor, intrigue, and suspense. The plot kept me guessing (although I did pinpoint one of the “bad guys” from his first introduction). I audibly gasped several times, jolting forward in bed with exclamations of “What?! NO!” I loved how the romance developed between Leah and Jon. Jon was patient, and Leah opened up in time. It seemed like a genuine relationship, based in an attraction deeper than the surface level. I liked, too, that both of the characters were “good enough” independently. They were not two halves to a whole. They didn’t need each other, but they balanced each other out.

With so many romantic suspense novels, the romance is the main subject, and everything else is secondary. That wasn’t the case with Fatal Strike. Mills put so much thought and research into the plot. The book would have been just as strong–just as enjoyable–without the romance aspect.

I truly loved this novel. It kept me entertained, asking questions with every page turn. I had to know the identity of the murderers, even if I had to lose sleep to do it. The humor never seemed forced, and the characters were well developed and relatable. Fatal Strike is a suspenseful and quick read with basically zero down time. If you read it, I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did! Just…be mindful of the snakes; they can strike when you least expect them!