donderdag 24 mei 2012

Maya Banks - The Darkest Hour

The first book in the The Kelly Group International series, published September 7, 2010.
Genre: romantic suspense

The Darkest Hour

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the US government can’t…

It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.
His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he's built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.
To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

I started reading this book for my Berlin Reading Challenge (as I will be meeting Maya Banks in Berlin next weekend!) and I am not sorry I tried this book. It is my first book by Maya Banks and it will certainly not be my last! I was captivated from page one.

Ethan Kelly is “celebrating” the one year anniversary of his wife’s death by avoiding his large wellmeaning family and getting dead drunk. If only he could get a second chance with Rachel, he would not screw it up again! They were having marital problems when she went on a charity mission, and never came home again, and he was sorry the minute she walked out of the door of their house. It was just his feelings of inadequacy, his insane jealousy at his brother Garrett who was his wife’s best friend. He was hurting inside, so he punished Rachel for it. And then he got the message she had died in a plane accident, and he went to pieces. Grieving and feeling guilty ever since.
But then, a miracle happens. He gets is thick envelope filled with data, charts, pictures. Apparently, his wife is still alive and is been held as a prisoner in some tiny village in the jungle by a drugcartel. At first he thinks it all a sick joke, but then he starts believing it, and feeling hope. His brothers own the Kelly Group International (KGI), doing black ops the American Government can not be found doing. They will help him, for sure. Ethan wants to fly of that same day, but his brothers hold him back. They need more intell first, how many hostiles, is Rachel really there and still alive? But as soon as they know enough, they go on their rescue mission! Two of their teams meet them there, and at great peril and a few severe wounds, they manage to free Rachel.
A Rachel who does not remember much, except her own name and her husband, Ethan. And his brother Garrett, but not Sam, or the rest of the family. Even worse, they have made her a heroine and cocaine addict to keep her complacent and obeying. So Rachel is not home yet, she will have to go through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms first, and very slowly her memory starts coming back. Some good memories, and some she thinks are just nightmares. Because Ethan loves her, doesn’t he? So why should he be screaming at her, being so very angry with her?
But when word of her miraculous survival and retrieval gets out, Rachel’s life is in danger once again. And even though Ethan and his brothers swear to protect her, that she is safe, they cannot be with her 24/7.

I really rooted for both Ethan and Rachel. They were such great characters, and have been through so much. Being given a second chance is a real miracle. Ethan really felt very guilty about hurting Rachel so much, but he never stopped loving her. So he is determined to do it over, and make her happy. To be there for her. He will also start working with his brothers, instead of doing nothing. Rachel is still feeling insecure, not sure what to do with her husband. And if only that interminable craving for drugs would go away! What will Ethan think of her when he finds out she craves it sometimes more than breathing?

Another great storyline is the fact that Ethan’s parents take into their home a young girl caught stealing from their fridge. Rusty is desperately in need of food, and shelter, and Madeline is such a soft touch, she asks her to stay. She still misses Rachel, the daughter of her heart, and she feels for Rusty. But Rusty will have to live by her rules, and obey them. Frank, her husband, is not so happy at first, but he knows he cannot change her mind, and of course he too gets paternal feelings for Rusty soon. Especially after they meet her mother’s boyfriend, who has thrown her out of his trailer.
Their 6 sons are also really suspicious about Rusty, and don’t immediately accept her into the family. She will have to earn their trust and respect first. What I do wonder about though, why were the boys not told that Rusty effortlessly broke through their security system? I think that would have them look at her a lot different. They might have even hired her or something.

Maya Banks has a wonderful way of writing. Fast paced, really nice language, and very lifelike characters. I sometimes felt like being with all those Kelly’s. And I certainly would not mind one of them for my own! I really liked this book, and just had to finish it, even though it was far over my bedtime for a weekday. Totally no regrets, I could not have gone to bed without knowing how it all would end, and for the bad guy to be unmasked and arrested. Of course there are some love scenes in here, and they were beautifully done.

A good plot, a good story, lots and lots of interesting characters and new book potential, I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. And after that, I will check out some more of Maya Banks (not erotic) books. If you like romantic suspense, I heartily recommend this series.

9 stars.

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

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7 opmerkingen:

  1. Maya Banks has a wonderful way of writing. Fast paced, really nice language, and very lifelike characters.

    Sounds really nice - have fun in Berlin!

  2. I have really enjoyed this whole series so far! I can't wait for the next 3 :) Also her historical romance (highlander) series. I tried reading her erotica but it was a little to "hot" for me LOL

  3. Between you and Felicia, I know I'm going to become a Maya Banks fan. I really want to read this whole series. It's on my wishlist.

  4. I have really got to try this series. I read one of her historicals though and was really disappointed by it. I'm so glad the button fits!!

  5. I read book....2? or so. And I liked it, it made me think I should try more romantic suspense :)

  6. I love Maya Banks writing style and the way her words just flow on the page.

  7. Yay! I loved this one. The next couple weren't as strong for me. Book four was great. I am very curious to see how you feel about the rest of the series since many love each and every book. Great review Aurian! :)