Deadly Strain by Julie Rowe

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 15th June 2015
Deadly Strain by Julie RoweDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Series: Biological Response Team #1
Published by Carina Press on June 15th 2015
Pages: 242
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four-stars

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.
Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.
Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.
79,830 words

Dr. Grace Samuels and Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster have an unusual relationship: he’s a Green Beret sniper attached to the Biological Rapid Response Team in Afghanistan who has grown close to the trauma and infectious diseases specialist over the past year. Grace’s and Sharp’s solid friendship takes a turn in a different direction when weaponised anthrax wipes out an Afghani village in a matter of hours, setting off a chain of events that makes them convinced that there is an insider doing the damage.

‘Deadly Strain’ is a solid example of romantic suspense in a military setting, even if the romance is overshadowed by the non-stop action and the unexpected turn of events that sets up a rather laborious story arc that feels incomplete even by the end of the book. I loved the realistic portrayal of Grace who seems the perfect blend of strength, determination and vulnerability, while Sharp’s stalwart and unwavering (without the half-arsed Alpha uncommitted type) personality somehow seamlessly complements hers. Both were so likeable in a way that I couldn’t help but cheer this pair on to get their act together. The introduction of peripheral characters and their backstories lent emotional weight to this thriller and while the ending seemed inconclusive, this is a series I’d be definitely be watching out for.

four-stars

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