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Monday, March 23, 2015

SILENT HUNTER by Maggie K. Black

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews.
Taken a gander at author Maggie K. Black’s Silent Hunter yet? If not, you’re in for a treat. The folks at Love Inspired Suspense are definitely on a roll. As the story open, Nicola (“Nicky”) Trailer, camp director at Camp Spirit somewhere in the wilds of Ontario, Canada, is neck deep in preparations for an “extreme” camping trip on a deserted island off the coast. Her elderly boss, George Dale, has invited a select group of potential investors up for a few days to take in the sights, smells and sounds of the island—a wild, remote extension of the tamer campgrounds. George is a man on mission: He intends to petition the group shortly thereafter to support a new, expansion-based venture.

After twenty years at Camp Spirit—first as a young camper, later as a counselor who fell hard for a boy who broke her heart in two, and now as a trusted employee—Nicky’s not going anywhere. She’s committed to seeing Camp Spirit become precisely what George had always a envisioned, a place where kids from all walks of life and all socio-economic circumstances can enjoy a summer away from the cares of life. Engaged in light banter with George as she searches for a batch of long-hidden paperwork in the ceiling of the main lodge, however, Nicky’s soon dismayed to discover that the ladder she mounted to access the ceiling has  fallen down and that she’s lost contact with her boss. She’s momentarily distracted from her concerns when she glances down through the trap door and witnesses the arrival of a handsome stranger. Seconds later, though, she’s coughing and panting for air. The lodge is on fire.

Back at Camp Spirit after many years at owner/manager George Dale’s request, Toronto reporter Luke Wolf has just arrived on the scene when he eyes a suspicious figure in the woods and detects signs that the lodge is on fire. In short order, he’s spotted a young woman in the attic, alerted the “911” operator of the emergency and rushed into the burning building to save his old friend, George. In another two shakes, he’s pulled the old man to safety and confirmed that an employee named Nicky remains trapped inside. When Luke hears a woman’s screams—and circles a corner of the lodge to offer assistance—he’s awestruck to find that Nicky has prepared a makeshift rope and already partially descended the exterior of the building from an opening in the skylight. Just one huge problem: She’s halfway down the three-story building and out of rope. Luke is pondering a plan to break her fall when the rope gives way. Out of time, he quickly rushes forward and breaks Nicky’s fall with his own body.

Ahhh. All is right with the world … George is secure (though shaken and on his way to the hospital). Nicky’s safe. And Luke’s doing pretty great, too… Except, well … it wouldn’t be a true suspense novel if there were nothing else to it. So … Yeah … No. Having regained their footing, Luke and Nicky are shocked to learn that they recognize one another… Hmm. Is that good news? … Bad news? … Only time will tell.

Either way, the reader’s got to love Maggie K. Black’s brilliant set-up for Silent Hunter. In true blue “meanwhile-back-at-the-ranch” style, she keeps this great tale of suspense building upon itself at a mean, steady pace. The eclectic group of extreme campers—many of whom appear just the tiniest bit shady—soon arrive for their three-day adventure on the deserted island. Nicky’s life is threatened. The reader learns that Luke is fighting more than his fair share of internal “demons” (for lack of a better word). And, though George is out of commission—and both Nicky and Luke have suffered minor injuries as a result of the lodge fire—no one’s too pooped to pop. The camping trip will go on.
Let the craziness begin.

Okay, readers … It isn’t exactly a secret that I am a huge fan of the Love Inspired Suspense line. I also consider myself a fan of Maggie K. Black’s. With only two of her books under my belt, I can already attest to the following: that she’s adept at building solid, intriguing characters; that, as a died-in-the wool world traveler and former journalist, she knows her stuff; that she’s got an excellent handle on what it takes to initiate, develop and execute an effective internal spiritual arc for Christian characters; and that—bottom line—she grasps what it takes to tell a great story.

Do yourself a favor: Devote a few hours to Silent Hunter this week or next. When you’re done, stop by and share your thoughts. Always happy to “hear” what you have to say.

A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes healthcare proposals during the day while lurching haltingly toward becoming an inspirational romantic suspense author at night. She's also the crazed wife of a bi-vocational pastor and mom to two bright, talented kids. They don't call her BizzySyb for nothing! You can visit Sybil at her blog, Christian Romance/Pulsating Suspense, follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, friend her on GoodReads, connect with her on LinkedIn, and add her to your circles on Google+.

10 comments:

  1. Great review, Sybil! We're so glad you're part of the Suspense Sisters!

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. Honored by your visit, ma'am!

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  2. let the craziness begin ! ! Wow, what a story.. definitely going on my TBR list..

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Deanna. Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I did!

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  3. I can see this one really got to you! Great job, Sybil!

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    1. It did, Sandra. Thanks for the compliment and the visit!

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  4. I can see this one really got to you! Great job, Sybil!

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  5. Wow! What a review! I'm Very excited about reading this one. I really NEED to know what all that "craziness" is! Thanks for sharing!

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