Author: Dana Marton

Threat of Danger by Dana Marton

Threat of Danger by Dana MartonThreat of Danger by Dana Marton
Published by Montlake Romance on June 5th 2018
Pages: 304
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Jess Taylor and Derek Daley were in the throes of first love in a small Vermont town when they were kidnapped by a serial killer. They escaped his clutches—but not the trauma of the unsolved crime. With their lives changed forever and their romance cut short, they went their separate ways to exorcise their fears.

Jess is living on the edge as Hollywood’s hottest stuntwoman. It’s no longer terror thrumming through her veins. It’s adrenaline. Derek is a former Navy SEAL spinning his ordeals into heart-pounding bestselling thrillers. But when Jess is called home on a family emergency, she must face the past—and face the man she left behind, who is just as haunted and, like her, still so much in love.

Now, as an old flame reignites, Jess and Derek are taking advantage of second chances and putting their bad memories behind them. But here, in the quiet town of Taylorville, a killer is getting a second chance as well.

With Dana Marton, each book is radically different: characters, histories and backstories, all of it and it’s this kind of unpredictability that makes Marton a compelling writer. In fact, ‘Threat of Danger’ is nothing like its predecessor (save the good writing), is only very marginally linked to it and a solid standalone in its own right.

‘Threat of Danger’ is in essence, a whodunnit mystery that builds up to the revelatory moment and it’s closer to a typical ‘crime’ story rather than a military one that I’d expected. Jess/Derek’s story unfolds slowly, almost painfully as the memories return, the irrational blame that Jess places on Derek for their ordeal in the woods a decade ago coming to light as she’s forced to revisit her hometown. Jess’s family business of sugaring fascinated me, as did Marton’s deliberate but unusual pairing of a stuntwoman who lives on adrenaline highs (yet stays anonymous) and a retired SEAL who’s now a bestselling thriller writer.

Jess’s and Derek’s story is also a second-chance one that, because of the circumstances laid out, is more or less a believable one, though it does seem as though Jess and Derek come together incidentally because of her return. This pairing would absolutely not have existed otherwise save for the hand of fate so to speak, and the quick fall back in love (was it ever?) felt a mite bit forced, especially over the few weeks that Jess stayed.

The biggest issue I have is the perp’s (somewhat weak) motivation for committing crimes which didn’t entirely make too much sense, but then again, should there really be expecting a solid, logical reason for characters doing what they do? Maybe. Nonetheless, I would have liked to be more convinced about the deeper, more twisted psychological rationale behind the string of serial killings that the perp committed at least, particularly in a story that’s all about shoring up the moments until the momentous climax.

There’s no doubt that Dana Marton’s writing is thrilling, her opening scene superbly crafted, as dreaded anticipation cuts the knife edge of a vague menace that we never quite find out about. That much I knew from the prologue that I’d better buckle in for the ride that awaited me and I was right. ‘Threat of Danger’ is engrossing, compelling and thankfully, filled with mature characters (some of whom act as tragic parallels to Jess/Derek’s relationship) who add rather than detract from the entire storytelling. It’s in all, an entertaining read that had the time passing without me even knowing it, and I finished the book moist with anticipation with what else Marton has up her sleeve in the rest of this series.


Silent Threat by Dana Marton

Silent Threat by Dana MartonSilent Threat by Dana Marton
Series: Mission Recovery #1
Published by Lake Union Publishing on January 2nd 2018
Pages: 316
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A former Navy SEAL, Cole Makani Hunter has returned home from a disastrous black ops mission without his best friend, his hearing, or the use of his right arm. So when his ex–commanding officer assigns him to an undercover mission at a rehab center for vets to discover who leaked sensitive military information to an enemy, he’d rather be anywhere but there. Almost immediately, Cole finds himself at odds with Annie Murray—a peace-loving ecotherapist whose dream is to open an animal sanctuary out of her home. While the two seemingly have nothing in common, their spirited arguments soon fuel a passion for each other.

But just as things begin to heat up between therapist and patient, dangerous complications arise. So does the past—and a shocking revelation that puts Cole and everything he now holds dear in the path of a murderous traitor.

Dana Marton’s books tend to stand out for me particularly since they tend to involve unusual and unlikely pairings with protagonists who aren’t the most good-looking or the usual types that conform to the stereotypes of romantic suspense. Throw this unbalanced relationship—whether it’s convincing or not depends on the book and the kind of characters Marton chooses to portray—into a plot that’s generally tight and unpredictable enough to keep you guessing and Marton has become one of the authors I’ve come to realise I want more of.

‘Silent Threat’ is no different in this way: a disabled ex-SEAL who’s undercover seeking a traitor and an ecotherapist who dreams of having her own animal rescue sanctuary facing a stalkerish (and very creepy) threat provide more than enough intrigue for the suspense to be built on. Marton sets up 2 apparently separate threats, though there are hints that they are from one and the same source, in a more elaborate twist of the tale that I didn’t see coming.

Marton’s characters however, so obviously flawed and so far beyond the traditional definitions and appearances of what we think of when the terms ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ pop up, may not always appeal.

In ‘Silent Threat’ as in a few of other Marton’s books, Cole and Annie take some time to warm up to, though Cole was easier to relate to as a protagonist than Annie’s softer and more fickle tree-hugger ways. Like Cole, I was too sceptical of Annie’s Ecotherapy—the things she stood for and her earth-mother motivational sayings just sounded too flaky and naive to me with her trite and overused phrases like ‘deep cleansing breaths’—but admittedly this is my jaded, cynical self talking along with the other SEALs under her care who rolled their eyes at this form of treatment. It was harder to like her as well, as I thought she simply needed to grow a spine when all she did was push away and run without working things out like the adult she was while she hid behind the excuse of preserving therapist/patient boundaries.

Cole and Annie’s relationship however, isn’t rushed, the build-up is slow-going with some amount of push-pull between them, with an equally slow burn until past the halfway mark, flowing well with the suspense that amps up toward the end.

In short, while ‘Silent Threat’ didn’t quite stun me like Marton’s other books have, which isn’t to say that it isn’t a decent read. It’s a series that I’m going to continue with in any case, if only just to see what Marton has up her sleeve the next time around.


Girl in the Water by Dana Marton

Girl in the Water by Dana MartonGirl in the Water by Dana Marton
Series: Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit #3
Published by Dana Marton on October 11th 2016
Pages: 396
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After the death of his wife and twin sons, Army vet Ian Slaney is a shadow of his former self. On the path of self-destruction, only his best friend’s disappearance in South America pulls Ian back from the ledge. He rushes to Brazil, only to discover that his friend was murdered.

The single lead in the case is also the single biggest obstacle—Daniela, a mysterious beauty very much in need of protection, with a host of secrets hidden in a dark past. As the two of them track down clues and try to untangle an impossible case, they draw the attention of all the wrong people, and danger follows them back to the US.

Ian wants the murderers. Daniela wants Ian to acknowledge the hot sparks of passion between them. But convincing Ian to set aside his protective instincts proves more difficult than turning an anaconda vegetarian.

Quite a mesmerising read, although it’s admittedly not the type of story that is easy to get into where the leads have a clear path to each other. In fact, I nearly gave up on it in the beginning because of the subject matter and the vast distance that separated the characters which couldn’t seem to be closed at all.

But Dana Marton has a style that sucks you in easily and Daniela’s and Ian’s fraught history is spellbinding yet far from perfect. It’s forged over years of connection and moves from guardian/child to partners and equals in a way that makes you want to root for them. Above all, it’s memorable because of how unusual and unconventional this pairing is, I liked that the age difference wasn’t played up in a way that made this gulf even wider, even though they never quite got together until the end.

There’s also a strangely jaunty tone at times – I found myself laughing out loud – that might or might not have been intentional and added some quirk to a book that would have been more gravely intense and angsty without it. That being said, I still find myself at a proper loss for words having got to the end in a single sitting, which can only be a good thing, isn’t it?


Flash Fire by Dana Marton

Flash Fire by Dana MartonFlash Fire by Dana Marton
Series: Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit #2
Published by Dana Marton on November 10th 2015
Pages: 279
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When an American teenager disappears abroad, Clara Roberts, a by-the-book investigator on a secret mission, joins forces with Light Walker, an ex-SEAL turned lawless mercenary, to save her. The sparks they generate—and the trouble they stir up—threaten to set the jungle ablaze. Nothing is what it seems in this fast-paced romantic thriller. As attraction grows into love, looming danger turns into all-out war, and the whole region explodes around them. Clara and Walker must hold on to each other and race against time to survive.

Dana Marton plunges us straight into the dirty, savage world of Mexican drug cartels, human trafficking and kidnappings and in the centre of it all is Light Walker, a mercenary who has forgotten how to feel and act in his bloodthirsty search for revenge. Strangely enough, the only woman who is his match is Clara Roberts, an uptight investigator whose humour, kindness and general kickassery (and isn’t beautiful, hooray!) prove to be just what he needs to kickstart his heart once again. Engrossing, full of suspense and action, there were twists and turns in the story that threw me off time and again and straight into what has been a thoroughly enjoyable ride from start to finish. My only complaint is their rushed HEA, and the RST which came so, so late.


Forced Disappearance by Dana Marton

Forced Disappearance by Dana MartonForced Disappearance by Dana Marton
Series: Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit #1
Published by Montlake Romance on November 18th 2014
Pages: 242
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When wealthy American businessman Glenn Danning goes missing in Venezuela, investigator Miranda Soto volunteers to track him down. It's her first assignment for the Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit, but this mission is about more than salvaging the remnants of her shattered military career. Glenn was Miranda's best friend and first lover, and she'll do anything to save him from danger - especially since she just lost everything that mattered to her.
Glenn barely survived being kidnapped and tortured as a suspected spy, but the shock of seeing Miranda again gives him a new lease on life. Their still-simmering attraction grows hotter as the couple races through the treacherous jungle. Determined to reach safe ground, they must stay alive long enough to stop the terrifying enemy who still hunts Glenn. And even if they survive, Miranda's dark past could jeopardize their future together.

Former lovers Glenn Danning and Mirando Soto are reunited 10 years when Miranda takes on her first case to retrieve him from Venezuela, where he’s been kidnapped for nebulous reasons.

The suspense is more light-hearted than what I’d expected and written almost in a matter-of-fact way, and I got the very strange, odd feeling like I was reading a romance through engineers’ eyes, which had an added geek element to it. There is however, quite a bit of action as both Miranda and Glenn try to outwit the Venezuelan authorities and that’s where the hot and heavy scenes begin.

Glenn is also strangely likeable – as a former geek turned hot businessman – but it always seemed as though he was more into the relationship than Miranda was, and I didn’t quite like to see him short-changed just as Miranda was too busy still running away from her past.