What originally attracted me to this book was the cover, followed by the series title: Natchez Trace Park Rangers. As a lover of the outdoors, that was enough to reel me in, and since this is book one, I did not hesitate to sign up for a review copy. Thankfully, I did not look at the synopsis (a habit that I have adopted so as not to spoil any part of the plotline), because doing so would most likely have deterred me from wanting to read the book. Anything relating to drug cartels and the like just doesn’t appeal to me. As soon as I picked up this novel and realized what I was getting into, I began wondering if I had made a mistake.
However, my fears were quickly allayed as I settled into Patricia Bradley’s swift, engaging writing style. “Standoff” comes out of the starting gate with a shot (literally) and never lets up, forging ahead relentlessly to the last page. Short chapters also facilitate this, giving the impression of a staccato beat that fits how the plot plays out. While I enjoyed that the story never lagged, I have to admit that the abundance of characters is overwhelming. Each of the first several chapters is about a different person, all of whom are critical to the narrative, and because the story remains in the third-person, I personally had a very difficult time keeping track of who was who. Brooke Danvers is the only character who stood out to me, being the female lead. I understand that the profusion of characters is necessary for the storyline, but I think that it would be very helpful to perhaps have a character list, one that would be brief so as not to give any spoilers, but with just a few words to help readers keep the characters separate from one another.
Quintessential romantic suspense, “Standoff” lives up to its name in more ways than one. There is, of course, the drug ring, which becomes the concentric circle surrounding the characters, two of whom are vying for a serious relationship with Brooke while others want her dead. Add in family drama and personal conflict, and the stage is set for an exhilarating Natchez excursion, grounded in the truth that God is always with us and that He sees the end from the beginning.
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.