Collateral Damage - Eason,  Lynette

“She’d thought she left the killing and the dying thousands of miles away in a country she did her best to forget existed.”

As I’ve mentioned before, mystery and suspense novels have long been favorites of mine, but I usually read these genres within the Christian literary canon, and the majority of the fiction works I have the opportunity to review fall into the romance category. I am always thrilled to discover another Christian suspense author, and Lynette Eason fits the bill. “Collateral Damage” is classified as romantic suspense, and I feel that Eason achieved the desired balance to keep readers turning pages as they appreciate the romantic angle. She also skillfully handles the multiple plotlines as they converge throughout the narrative, making each distinctive without overwhelming readers. The crime scene investigation and forensic details drew me into the story the most; the novel’s opening chapters, focusing on the American military in Afghanistan, admittedly were over my head, and I struggled with understanding the various vehicles and weapons being described, but after those initial scenes events became clearer.

Besides enjoying the storyline of “Collateral Damage”, I also appreciated the extent of social detail that Eason offers. The mostly inferior role of women in the Middle East comes through in several scenes and marks a startling contrast with what we expect in the United States. This was the first time that I have heard of a combat photographer, whose work in this story precipitates the action surrounding former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams and former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James. One of the most interesting parts of this book, in my opinion, is the variety of roles within the military and how they work together both on duty and after discharge. Because of a dying soldier’s final request and the photos taken in the aftermath of a targeted explosion, Brooke finds herself in mortal peril with much more to deal with than just processing her own trauma. As such, the author also realistically and respectfully presents post-traumatic stress disorder and how it manifests in military personnel. For instance, a ceiling fan may trigger an episode because of its resemblance to a helicopter. Reading this novel increased my respect for our military even more. Most importantly, the faith element reminds Brooke, along with readers, that God is our ultimate strong tower and that He goes before us, always protecting, guiding, and loving us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.