Nightshade (Ronie Kendig) – Review

straight-to-the-pool-room5 stars

~ About the Book ~

A Rapid-Fire Rewrite!

Former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs is fighting a new war—a war for his family. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Max is unable to control his anger, alienating himself from his wife and destroying their marriage. Recruited into black-ops, Max finds new meaning and focus in the one area of life where he doesn’t fail.

Sydney Jacobs just wants the man she married back. But she can’t find him beneath his anger and penchant for fights. After filing for separation, Sydney immerses herself in a human-interest piece for her local newspaper.

Searching for the soldiers behind a string of heroic interventions, Sydney’s life is threatened. And Max is powerless to stop his wife from delving into a danger she cannot fathom. Sydney’s mission to find a happy-ending story might just get her killed.

Release date:  23 May 2017
Publisher:  Task Force Press

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

Lambert’s lips tightened over a clean-shaven jaw. “What’s it going to be, gentlemen? Do you have what it takes to finish the fight with the gift God gave you? Or are you going to turn tail, accept what the government stamped on your papers, and leave—go quietly into the night?”
“Whoa-ho!” Laughing, beach bum stepped forward. “Old Man’s got some fire under that silver dome.”
Lambert spun toward the bum. “What’s it going to be Sergeant Metcalfe?”
The blond pursed his lips, considered Lambert, then nodded. “I’m in.”
Bright blue eyes shifted to the Latino.
“You need some CPR, ese? You look worked up.”
A half smile slid into Lambert’s face. “A little passion never hurt, eh, Mr. Reyes?”
“You all right, old man.” He hooked Lambert’s hand and patted his back. “You all right.” Reyes leaned toward the general and looked at the kid. “But I don’t know about this kid. He don’t look like he’s out of diapers yet.”
“That’s wrong. That. Is just wrong.” The Kid’s face flushed. “I spent six years in the Rangers. I have enough—”
“Rangers.” Max couldn’t hep but grunt his disapproval. “That explains a lot.”
The kid’s chin jerked in defiance. “I’m in.”
It seemed Lambert grew with each affirmation. He shifted to the cowboy. “Mr. Neeley?”
Cowboy gave a slow, firm nod, his hand shading his eyes. “I’m ready.”
Lambert smiled. “Good. Good.”
They were all crazy. Joining a group like this meant more problems. “What if we get in trouble out there?”
“Then get out of trouble,” Lambert said. “Understand that this team does not exist. If anyone comes looking, there will be nothing to find. Only one man besides those of us in this facility knows it exists, and he’ll pay the highest cost if that confidence is broken. No one—and I mean no one—will know your names.”
“So our orders are coming from on high?” Metcalfe asked.
A twinkle brightened Lambert’s eyes and gave silent assent to the question, although he gave no answer. Instead, he continued. “Any mission, any activity will be utterly and completely disavowed by the United States. You will be disavowed. If you get into trouble, Chief Jacobs, count on your ingenuity to get out. If you are killed, no one will know.”
“Or care.” The kid shrugged, smirking.
Max wanted to punch him.
“Or maybe that’s where Sergeant Metcalfe, call-sign Midas, will come in with his golden touch.” Lambert ambled toward him.
Tss.” Beach bum shook his head. “Nothing golden, just hard work.”
The general’s smile disappeared behind a stern façade. “What’s your answer, Chief Jacobs?”
“This is crazy.” What else could he do? Flip burgers at the nearest fast food? What was worth staying here for? No wife. No family. “Fine.” The separation papers told him he had nothing left here anyway. “I’m in.”
“Good.” General Lambert’s smile softened his commando persona. “Look around. The men here are your new brothers, your family. Only they will understand when the horrors of war invade your sleep. Only they will be there when you’re pinned down and need an extraction.”
Arms wide, Lambert smiled like a proud father. “Gentlemen, welcome to Nightshade.”

~ Review ~

Max Jacobs is one of the most intense characters I have ever encountered. Raw, broken, and angry. So angry. When I first picked up Nightshade about three years ago, I didn’t know what had hit me. I had never read such powerful, hit-you-in-the-face (sometimes literally!) characterization. I had never encountered so much testosterone—and still haven’t! And I’d never read another story that so totally captivated every sense and emotion the way this story did, or had me so close to the edge of my seat. Above all, I couldn’t believe it was written by a woman! (Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me for that comment! I now know better! But seriously, this gal gets the psyche and camaraderie of elite male warriors like no other writer I have read!)

But, wait for it…Now there’s an improved version. Say what now?! How is that even possible?

Well, the story is the same in essentials, but the writing is tighter, more polished. And in any form, this is a book you don’t want to miss. It’s intense, it’s riveting, it’s gritty; it will hold your heart in a stranglehold until the last page and beyond, and it’s so REAL you’ll forget you’re not right there with the characters. It’s such a powerful story—not just because of Max and Sydney’s journey, but also because of the story of missionaries Jon and Kimber Harris, whom the Nightshade team are sent to extract after they are captured by Higanti warriors.

This book speaks volumes to the physical and emotional sacrifices made by the men and women—and their families—who give their lives to protect the innocent from atrocities many of us in the Western world cannot truly fathom. As secondary character Holden Crane observes, seeing these things reported on the news is one thing, but “it’s another thing to live and breathe the dust after a car bomb explodes and kills fifteen men you just had chow with.” And while Max may be the one resisting help, Sydney also realizes she has never truly understood the enormity of the kind of life and death decisions her husband has been forced to make in his career. At least, not until she begins to witness it for herself.

I can’t even begin to express how much love I have for this book—for this whole series. I know I just tried for three whole paragraphs, but really, it’s not even close. Just buy the book. It contains the only words that will do it justice. Straight to the pool room, my friends. Straight to the pool room!


~ About the Author ~

Ronie KendigAn Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.

It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990.  Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband  have homeschooled for the last eighteen years. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family, and retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.

Connect with Ronie:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Instagram  //  Pinterest

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Thriller and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Nightshade (Ronie Kendig) – Review

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