Present Danger – Elizabeth Goddard

Present Danger Elizabeth Goddard
Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard
Also by this author: Don't Keep Silent, Deadly Target, Critical Alliance, Cold Light of Day, Shadows at Dusk
Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #1
Published by Revell on April 6, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He's committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.
When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn--one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he's failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.
Join bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard as she plunges you into a web of deceit made of hidden crimes, open threats, and long-buried family secrets in this gripping first book of an explosive new series.

Present Danger is the first novel of Elizabeth Goddard’s “Rocky Mountain Courage” series, and what a way to kick it off! I woke up at 4:00AM one morning, so I opened this novel on my Kindle. I did not get out of bed until I finished it. My poor dog, who is accustomed to eating at 6:30AM, was not happy with me. Finishing Present Danger was worth my dog’s silent treatment! Coincidentally, I read this novel soon after I finished another featuring a crime that occurred at a park. While I liked the other slightly more, Present Danger tugged me into its tale and wouldn’t let go.

Firstly, I could easily tell Goddard had done her research. She presented a thrilling, knowledgeable, and convincing story that kept me guessing. I never knew quite what to expect, and I love when a novel does that to me. I read a lot of novels–perhaps an unhealthy amount–so that is a feat very challenging to do. Goddard succeeded. It was almost as though my imagination thought that by finishing the book faster, I’d help the characters catch the bad guys sooner. I don’t know how to explain it, outside of a couple descriptive adjectives: Riveting. Gripping. I may even go so far as to say it was truly shocking at times!  I also adored how Goddard brought in characters from her “Uncommon Justice” series! Very, very minor roles, but it was fun seeing old faces.

Present Danger, unfortunately, is a victim of my growing ambivalence toward romance novels–Christian or otherwise. Or perhaps it would be better for me to say fictionalized romance, in general. I’m a “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” watcher, I’ll admit it. In books and the show, it seems situations force characters/participants together, and they create a love story that may or may not last. The difference between reality TV and books, though, is that fictionalized characters seem to have shared histories. That’s probably how romance authors justify the usually short “falling in love” period. Now that I think about it, the majority of Christian romances I’ve read feature the “we were together but broke it off” story.

Also, why do all romances focus on characters with tragic pasts? Present Danger is no exception. It’s something on “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” too. Producers/editors give air time to the sob stories. I’m not coldhearted toward those individuals; don’t get me wrong. But I’m tired of seeing one more story that revolves around broken histories. These romance novels make it seem like you can’t find anyone unless you’re pulling yourself out of a pit of despair. To romance authors everywhere–people with happy families with no lost loved ones deserve happy endings, too!

Overall, I did enjoy Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard. I’d recommend it to my friends, without a doubt. But the novel does not have any profound meaning to it. The characters shoot up brief prayers to God, but He isn’t the center of their relationship. It’s a good book, but although I smiled at the ending, I was left wanting more.