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Monday, September 28, 2015

A BROTHER'S BOND by Lee Tobin McClain

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews the newest release by Lee Tobin McClain, A Brother's Bond.

The Short Version:

Stranded with the suspect…

After rescuing a beautiful stranger from a seemingly random rock slide, a snowstorm leaves disabled veteran Adam Calloway no choice but to put her up at his remote mountain getaway. But when he realizes who Karen Smith is and why she’s here, all he knows for sure is that he has to get rid of her… and fast. Because Karen wants to find out what really happened to her younger brother, killed in these mountains nine years ago. And if she solves the cold case, she’ll destroy Adam’s fragile sister whom he’s vowed to protect with his life.

As Adam and Karen wait out the storm together, they care for Adam’s sister and her child and face mysterious threats from the outside world. Why does Karen keep getting warning texts on her phone? Who would toss a brick through Adam’s picture window? And what kind of maniac would try to set fire to a house with four people inside, one of them a vulnerable child?

Working together to keep everyone safe, Adam and Karen come to admire each other’s strengths, and the two loners begin to fall in love. But Karen is getting closer to the truth that could put Adam’s sister behind bars and leave her son without a mother. The threats keep escalating. And Adam starts to wonder if he can fulfill the vow to serve and protect that he made as a teenager at the Covenant School . . . and whether he really understands anything at all about what happened all those years ago…

My Take:

First, a confession: I rarely read self-published fiction of any genre. That’s true despite the fact that I’ve downloaded dozens of non-traditionally published novels to my Kindle that have simply gone unread. I occasionally make exceptions to that “rule”—for lack of a better word—to read books by friends who’ve waded into untested waters. I also enjoy exploring self-published works by well-known “hybrid” (i.e., traditionally-published and self-published) authors who’ve decided to take a foray into new territory.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s just silly. Biased. More than a little narrow-minded.

Well, beginning now, I’m committed to being more open on that score. I largely owe that decision to Lee Tobin McClain, the author of “A Brother’s Bond.” 

Why the change? The long and short of it is that Ms. McClain knows what she’s doing. She places Karen Smith, the heroine of this intriguing, novella-length work in immediate, gut-wrenching danger. And, Adam Calloway, the handsome, complex hero of the book wastes no time in coming to the feisty lady’s rescue. Ms. McClain doesn’t disappoint in the romance or suspense departments either: Low-level sparks fly between the couple in short order—just as they should. 

But talk about insane complications…

If Shakespeare was correct when stating that “[t]he course of true love never did run smooth,” then Karen and Adam were made for each other. Both main characters start off the work hiding crucial secrets (though I must say that Adam’s—in particular—proves a whopper). By the time Ms. McClain begins to reveal the aggressive external forces with which the couple must contend, the author has also laid a solid foundation of conflict surrounding the nature of the couple’s internal wounds and insecurities.

I particularly enjoyed the second half of “A Brother’s Bond.” In my opinion, the pace of the novella picked up rapidly about 60% of the way through. I probably read that section in a third of the time it took to read the earlier sections of the book. I attribute that to the fact that I tend to savor the discovery of new characters, their environments, and the backstory that makes them who they are. Once I know who to root for, I race toward the “bad guy” reveal. Ms. McClain is to be commended on that score as well. She kept the bad guy’s motive “close to the cuff” throughout the tale—a tactic that made it difficult to guess his/her identity.

“A Brother’s Bond” makes for an entertaining, rewarding read. That said, I’ll offer a quick word of caution to potential readers… If—like me—you mainly peruse and prefer inspirational fiction published by conservative (i.e., CBA-sanctioned) houses, you may be surprised by the author’s handling of certain content. I encourage you to read other reviews about this book and others in the “Sacred Bond Guardian” series if you require more information.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear from you. Blessings until next time …
About the Reviewer:

A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes state and Federal contract 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+.

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