Always Watching (Lynette Eason) – Review

4-5 stars

 

Publisher’s Overview
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Olivia was shocked at how quickly the smoke filled the room in spite of the fact that she’d moved fast and crammed a bedsheet into the crack of the door.  The bedroom door was hot to the touch.  No going out that way. She wasn’t worried about contaminating the crime scene at this point.  She just wanted to get out alive.  Flames had eaten trough the bedsheet and now licked along the floor where the gasoline had soaked through.
Sirens screamed in the distance and relief filled her even while it was short-lived.  Help might be on the way, but she had to help herself too.  She twisted the knob on the French door.  It didn’t move.  She shook it, rattled the knob, pushed.  Nothing.  For the first time since she’d realised she wasn’t alone in the house, panic started to creep in.  Through the haze, she tried to see if there was a latch or something she needed to release in order to open the door.
There.  At the top.  A sliding lock.  She reached up and pushed, but again to no avail.  Stuck.  She wanted to scream in frustration, but refused to waste the breath.  Each time she inhaled, she brought smoke into her lungs.
Lungs that were starting to burn.
She coughed, stepped back, and brought her leg up.  She gave the area near the handle a hard kick.  The door shuddered, but didn’t open.  Flames crawled along the carpet and started on the bed coverings.
She spun and grabbed the lamp off the end table, then whirled back to aim the heavy base a the glass doors.  With a grunt, she slammed it into the glass.
The door shattered outward onto the deck.  Fresh air rushed in and hit the flames.  Heat and smoke surrounded her.  Dizziness assailed her and she stumbled, soughing.  The flames now licked at the drapes of the window to the left of the French doors.
[…]
She kicked out more the glass to make room for her to slip through.  The smoke followed her out onto the small deck made of wood and wrought iron.  No bigger than six feet by five, there were no steps leading down and the wood beneath her feet was old and warped.  And dry.  If it caught fire, she’d have only seconds.  Fresh fear hit her.  She had nowhere else to go.
Except over and down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My review
Hold on to your hats folks, ’cause you’re in for a ride! Lynette Eason’s first installment in the Elite Guardians series hits the ground running and barely lets up until you reach the end.

Someone has been sending Wade Savage anonymous gifts; and not just random gifts. Gifts that show his admirer has a certain amount of personal knowledge of him. Flattering though it may be, enough is enough. When Wade mentions the gifts on his show, asking the admirer to stop sending them and telling her that he hasn’t kept them, suddenly the gifts aren’t so harmless anymore. A decapitated teddy bear is delivered to his front door with a note: “You shouldn’t have done that. I would have given you everything. Now you’ll pay.” Instead of deterring his admirer, he’s stuck a stick in a hornet’s nest.

Despite the obvious threat, Wade is determined he will not be driven into hiding – especially if breaking their routines brings on one of his daughter’s frequent anxiety attacks. This doesn’t make things easy for Olivia Edwards and her team of guardians. As things heat up, conflicting evidence throws the team into confusion. Is Wade’s stalker a woman or a man? Or are there two people working together? With each thwarted threat on Wade’s life it becomes clear that whoever he, she, or they are, they’re much closer to him than an anonymous radio listener.

One of the things I loved about this novel was that there were several possibilities as to who the stalker could be. As soon as I began to favour one person over the others, something else would come along to counter my conclusions. I also love that when Eason’s characters get into trouble, there’s no easy way out; they have to work for it.

Olivia was a refreshing character. She’s the silent, strong type; dedicated, professional. With her it’s not so much what-you-see-is-what-you-get as what-you-see-is-all-you-get. She trusts her professional colleagues implicitly, but her personal life is just that: personal. And unlike some characters where these traits are immediately overturned by the instantaneous attraction, or overdone to make a point, Olivia felt totally authentic in her responses throughout the novel.

If I was going to try and put my finger on what prevented this from being a five star read for me, then I would probably say that the writing tended towards being prosaic, which flattened the reading experience a little for me despite the great action and suspense. I have given this four-and-a-half stars for that reason, although obviously many review sites will only allow four.

If you’re after a great suspense read with a little romance thrown in, then give this one a go, but be warned:  It might be difficult to put down! I’m looking forward to the next in the series out later this year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.

Buy now:           Amazon.com             Amazon.com.au

Release date:  2 February 2016
Pages:  336 pages
Publisher:  Revell Books
Author’s Website:  http://www.lynetteeason.com/

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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One Response to Always Watching (Lynette Eason) – Review

  1. Pingback: Without Warning (Lynette Eason) – Review | Fiction Aficionado

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