Strength Under Fire
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Strength Under Fire by Lindsay McKenna is the third book in the Silver Creek contemporary romantic suspense series. Dana Scott’s parents were murdered, and she has moved from Oregon and purchased the small Wildflower Ranch near Silver Creek, Wyoming.
She wants to restore the old log cabin and farm the fallow acreage. Wrangler and former Army Ranger Colin Gallagher is hired to help her. Both are suffering, but when dangerous criminals come to the valley, will they even survive?
Both Dana and Colin are likeable characters with friendship and chemistry that builds slowly over time. There is a comfortable energy between them, despite both of them suffering from PTSD. Their resilience and courage as well as their need for time alone made them feel more real and relatable. This was a slow build romance where two broken people suffering from horror, shock, and trauma slowly build friendship, trust, and a feeling of safety.
The secondary characters played background roles with several of them being in the previous two books in the series. This helped with continuity and added to the feeling of community that abounds in this series.
The writing and discussions gave me a strong sense of the Wildflower Ranch and the Silver Creek community. While it is portrayed as very idyllic and somewhat unrealistic, I wanted to believe in it and enjoyed it. This is a community that lives and works as a close family. Neighbor helps neighbor. Of course, this is offset by the introduction of the criminals to bring suspense and danger into this close-knit community. The suspense part of this book started somewhat later in the book than I expected, but once it started, there was plenty of action and danger.
This book has a lot of details in it on topics as diverse as beekeeping, crop rotation, organic farming, and medicinal herbs. I felt this added depth and made the book more realistic. Additionally, I learned a lot while reading the novel. While it may have been a little over the top in some respects, it left me feeling good that people are finding innovative ways to save family ranches. The author did a great job of transporting me to this community with great world-building. The only steamy scene in the book is very near the end of the story. One quibble that I had was with the interchangeability between vegan and vegetarian. Early in the book, Dana says she is vegan. However, she uses butter and eats eggs which is more appropriate for a type of vegetarian. The other tendency that I noticed was the repetition of some topics when it wasn’t necessary to progress the story line.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was an entertaining book that was emotionally intense at times. The author did a good job of meshing the romance and the suspense without either suffering. If you are a fan of contemporary romantic suspense without instant love, then you may want to check out this series. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Kensington Books – Zebra and Lindsay McKenna provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for September 28, 2021.