Friday, October 04, 2013

Review: FATAL STRIKE -- Shannon McKenna



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FATAL STRIKE – Shannon McKenna
McClouds and Friends
A Perfect 10
Kensington Books
ISBN-13:  978-0-7582-7349-9
October 2013
Romantic Suspense

Oregon, Present Day

A year after the fiasco at Spruce Ridge, Miles Davenport is barely existing, camping in the middle of nowhere and rock climbing to quiet the noises in his head.  Harold Rudd put Miles into a coma with his coercive psychic powers, and now his amped up senses won’t quiet down.  He hears everything, feels everything, smells everything until it nearly drives him crazy.  He thought being alone would help him, along with mentally building a shield, a kind of box in his head to go away to when things got too crazy.  It almost helped, until a woman he thought was dead, Lara Kirk, started invading his mind at night, with sizzling erotic dream trysts.  Surprisingly, his sensory overload has gotten better the more he gets his mental sex, even if it is in his own mind.  Miles knows he’s close to being crazy, and the mind shield is all that keeps him alive; without it he fears death no more.

Lara Kirk is indeed a captive of Thaddeus Greaves, a former military man whom the government assigned to a special program that tore him down and raised him up with various psychic powers; he can move things with his mind and pop a person’s blood vessels in their head with his mind.  He knows no one stronger than he is, and with his other employees who have been given his prescription for psy-max, they each have other psychic powers.  Lara’s mother developed the psy-max formula for him, and for not following his instructions she had to be killed, and then Lara’s father was murdered.  Lara is now getting the new formula of psy-max, but resisting him all she can.  Lara has found what she calls a Citadel where she can go into and hide, and has mind blowing sex with a strong man.  Being kept in a cell with little food or comfort, the Citadel is the only place to escape to when she receives her doses of psy-max.  Recently she’s also had weird dreams of people dying on a train in Tokyo, and of a small blonde boy showing her a city with people in a sort of haze, but Anabel and Hu, her guards, won’t listen to her.  And now Greaves is even more irate because no one can follow her when she enters the Citadel.

After finding out that Lara is indeed still alive, Miles vows to use his new powers to save her, but exactly what to do with psychically amped up people chasing him is beyond him.  Perhaps this is when Miles needs to open up his mind and give his own newly enhanced powers free reign to come up with a plan.  But after Miles and Lara come together, there is unfortunately no way either one of them will let the other sacrifice their life for the other.  There is no way to hit everything that happens to Lara and Miles and the McClouds, suffice it to say that this story will hold your attention all the way through.

Shannon McKenna has written several books featuring the McCloud brothers, and now their scary strong friends.  Here we have Miles and Lara telling their own stories, and seeing how similar they are.  They were forever scarred by the psychic tests performed on them and unsure of just exactly what new powers they have or even how to control them.  Miles finds his mind too overloaded to even be around people; he can smell their detergent, hair spray, deodorant, and even hear their pulses pound in his head.  He’s not sure if he can ever leave the mountains again.  Lara is still being experimented on with psychotic drugs, and despite the torture Greaves has performed on her, still has an inkling of herself deep inside, especially with the Citadel as a place of peacefulness where nobody can find her.  As Miles and Lara fight to escape and protect the McClouds from helping them and getting hurt by Greaves’s mental powers, Lara often wonders if she shouldn’t just give herself up to him to save the lives of her friends.

Hold on, there are a lot of secondary characters here.  Playing a large part, yet still in the background, are all the McCloud brothers, their spouses and children, and their other friends.  Anabel and Hu are Greaves’s special guards over Lara, and pay a heavy price for doing his dirty work.  Greaves is a real piece of work, and his evil will send shivers down your arms.  He has other henchman with other powers that he also uses for his own purposes.  And then there is Geoff, Greaves’s son, who has been in a coma since he was a child, yet it’s not a coma; he may prove to be instrumental in saving Lara and Miles.

FATAL STRIKE is an action packed story with mental abilities all over the place.  Things amp up quickly, and trying to rescue Lara becomes Miles’s quest, once he finds out she is still alive.  But keeping her alive, ah, that’s the problem.  WARNING:  Anyone with heart or blood pressure problems should stay away from this book or read at your own risk.  Several times I had to put it down until my heart stopped beating like a drum, and by the time it was finished I was mentally exhausted.  A clear winner of a story if you like suspense and romance, FATAL STRIKE is well worth your precious dollars devoted to books, and earns my first Perfect 10 of the year.  Don’t miss out on Lara and Miles’s story this month!

Carolyn Crisher

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