Review - DARKNESS by Karen Robards
You just can't go wrong with a good plane crash in an thriller read. It is not the crash itself but the aftermath here that is so well described; the isolated and bleak setting, the struggle to rescue the sole survivor. DARKNESS contains two crashes, and it is after the second that the rescue takes place.
Working as a researcher on the remote Alaskan island of Attu, Dr Gina Sullivan knows she is pushing the limits of good sense to be out on the eve of the storm when the weather on Attu can change in a heartbeat. Rescuing the mysterious Cal from his downed plane is only half of it. It takes all of Gina's strength and ingenuity to get the two of them out of the storm's path and to safety. There's plenty of reasons for Gina to feel uncomfortable alone with the tall stranger and Cal eventually discloses the more pressing issue at hand. Cal's plane was shot out of the sky and the people with the capability to do such a terrible thing will no doubt be on the island shortly to retrieve their surviving witness.
There are all the unusual incongruities in this book where exciting things needed to happen one after the other with the characters still in good enough shape to deal with them; gunshot wounds, the plane crashes, gun-toting foreign assassins and there's the whole not actually freezing to death problem. Plus there needed to be time inserted for the characters to indulge in a few steamy bouts of sex to move the burgeoning relationship along. Robards juggles all of this like the master storyteller she is, pinging the bullets around, sourcing convenient secluded caves, lucky shots and latent handy skills in both of her protagonists.
Robard's scene setting is excellent and keeping her cast small here has helped focus our attention on Gina and Cal. This novel is propped up by stereotypes of course but it makes little difference to the read which zips along in the frosty air and maintains a good sense of suspense, despite the necessary pauses for the characters to connect and have the obligatory deep and meaningful conversations.
For those who like more action and less smooching in their romantic suspense reads, DARKNESS is a fast paced novel of danger and love in the snow. Plus you will pick up a thing or two about what to put in your survival pack next time you head out camping.
THERE'S A STORM BREWING...
BOOM. That's the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu's infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning - but what she doesn't see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there's a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina's help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James "Cal" Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears - for herself, and for him.
Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed - until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island, ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?