Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock: Book Review
About the Book
Book: Smoke Screen
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre: Christian Suspense
Release Date: November 5, 2019
One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.
Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.
Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.
Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.
As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.
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As soon as I read the premise for this book, I knew I had to have it. Young love thwarted by angry parents, a murder, and now the murderer is set free is enough to make any romantic suspense reader salivate.
Nate’s work as a smoke jumper is instant hero material while Brenna’s fight for her kids and subsequent alcoholism sets up enormous conflict and a redemptive arc.
I had great sympathy for Brenna at times, but I also wanted her to try a little harder. There were moments when it felt like she’d given up, and I can understand she felt it was pointless. But you don’t quit on your kids, no matter how high the obstacle. That is part of what kept me turning pages. I needed to see Brenna succeed. That aha moment where it all comes together and she realizes that she is not enough…but God is.
As I said, Nate is classic hero material, but with that brokenness we all love to read. He’s spent his life saving others in an attempt to prove his worthiness after his father’s conviction. There are a lot of people who can relate to that, the desire to prove themselves apart from the sin of their parents.
There was a single moment where the theology fell apart for me. It was nothing more than a comment Brenna made, but I disagreed with it in every fiber of my being. I can’t say that she believed what she was saying, and that’s why I didn’t immediately close the book. Am I glad I didn’t stop reading? Yes, without a doubt. The story’s arc made up for that moment.
Overall, I thought Smoke Screen was well-written, the characters were flawed yet redeemable, and the setting spirited me away.
Secrets hid around every corner and people hide behind their own smoke screens, hoping no one will look close enough to see the truth.
I requested a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock