Book Review: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

Synopsis: Hugh Franco is a pararescueman with nothing left to live for and takes all the more dangerous assignments. His latest mission brought him face-to-face with Amelia Bailey, a woman he later can’t get out of his mind. When he discovers that Amelia is in danger, he is willing to do what it takes to keep her safe. But will Amelia be able to help him find the will to love again?

Location: The story takes place in the Bahamas, partially in a town ravaged by an earthquake and partially in the nearby jungle.

Plot: The storyline is action-packed, going one from dangerous situation to another. The danger is segued by emotionally wrought moments, but even those often include suspense. There are enough twists and turns that just when you think you know what will happen next, it doesn’t and you’re completely thrown for a loop by what does occur.

Theme: While this may not have been the author’s intent, the moral of the story is that cutting corners to get things done faster only puts others in danger. Namely, if you are going to adopt a child, do your research and ensure that it is entirely legal.

Point of View: The story is told from various perspectives: The two main characters of Hugh and Amelia, Aiden and Lisbeth who are Amelia’s brother and sister-in-law, and finally Hugh’s boss Liam. It allows the reader to see what is happening at the same time in different places, thus forwarding the plot and making it far more interwoven.

Character: The most amazing characters in this book are Zorro and Disco. These two search-and-rescue dogs are amazing, as they can smell the location of people who are trapped beneath the rubble and in need of saving. They are highly trained and are in as much danger as their human counterparts, but do what it takes so that others may live.

Character Development: It is interesting to have realized it is really only the male characters that show true emotional growth. Hugh, Aiden, and Liam all have obstacles to surpass when it comes to love and during the course of the novel they make great strides towards finding true happiness.

Romance: The novel tracked three relationships, the primary of which being that of Amelia and Hugh. Their budding relationship is one that grows under extreme duress, which makes both the characters and the reader question the longevity of it. The other relationships that are touched upon is the marriage of Aiden and Lisbeth who have hit a rocky patch, and of Liam and Rachel (owner of Disco) whom I believe will likely have a book of their own before that reaches its conclusion.

Memorable Moment: I think my absolutely favourite scene is when Hugh tries to rescue someone who is trapped under enormous amounts of rubble, and –due to a lack of necessary lighting or space to maneuver- inquires where the debris has landed upon the person. The caustic reply was that an entire building is on top of them.

Quote: Hope hurt after so many disappointments. Even if her will to live was kicking ass, her body waved the white flag of surrender.

The Verdict: I had picked up this book because it was part of the library’s theme of the month. I never really expected to like it all that much as the back copy wasn’t written in a way to entice the would-be reader. I ended up quite enjoying the novel and, while it isn’t a book I would probably go out and buy, I fully intend to discover if my library has more by this author. 

Question: How long do you think you would survive if you were buried under the rubble caused by an earthquake? 

Previous Reviews: SEALed with a KissNo SurrenderDemon RummAbsolutely Positively

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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