Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Karen Duvall


This is an attractive looking cover. A romance, obviously, and set in or around the desert. It looks modern and a bit gothish (notice the piercings the man has in his ears). The title, again, speaks romance and from that I'm thinking it's about an alpha male looking after a, maybe ditzy, woman. Maybe she's in the wrong place at the wrong time...

The blurb opens with the protagonist who receives a suicide letter from her brother, Jake, so I'm a little surprised that the book begins with the other leading character, Sam, but what a hook it was: What a perfect night for a kidnapping.

In the beginning, Desert Guardian was a little Mills and Boony with it's endless sickly sweet description of 'peach shaped bottom' etc, which I found annoying but I'm glad I stuck with it because, after the slow start, it zipped nicely along and I was able to dismiss the flowery descriptions.

The book has a mixed POV mainly between the leading characters Kelly and Sam but also with the secondary and the 'baddies' of the book. Sam and Kelly both had a past, which was gradually fed into the story, making them real fleshed out characters.

At the opening Kelly had already arrived at the cult. She's there to bring Jake, her young brother, home after he ran away due to an argument with their father but she has no idea of the danger they are in, neither has she realised the cult has begun its brainwashing on her already.

Sam 'The Arrow' has been sent by her father to get her out. He does, but she still wants to find her brother and so hires Sam knowing she hasn't any money to pay him. He is smitten with her and decides to help her (he was once a member of the cult and so has 'unfinished' business with them). They are both attracted to one another but have no 'I hate you/let's have sex' going on which, considering it's opening, I was very certain was about to happen.

Sam and Kelly work together to rescue Jake, and Sam's newly discovered little girl (I did say he had unfinished business in the cult, didn't I?). It isn't a quick rescue and Sam isn't a superhero. He doesn't fling Kelly over his shoulder and shoot guns with his free hands. He's very human and has limits, and when things so wrong with the rescue, things go wrong big time! And I must admit I was turning the pages quickly to find out how it would be resolved.

Of course it ended happily, it was a romance, after all. But the ending wasn't one I saw coming. I hadn't a clue how Sam and Kelly were going to rescue Jake and Sam's daughter, and then Jake went missing... But all ends were tied with a nice satisfactory conclusion.

A nice little gem of a story, and worth a read. 

No editing issues that I noticed.

When Kelly Bancroft receives a suicide letter from her brother, she knows the star-worshipping cult he belongs to is to blame. She travels to the California desert to try talking him into leaving the deadly Star Mother cult, but he's nowhere to be found.

Cult intervention specialist—and ex-cultist—Sam Reed, aka The Arrow, has his work cut out for him when he teams up with Kelly to rescue her brother. Sam has good reason to avoid the cult that killed his mother, but he's made it his mission to save those who have fallen under Star Mother's spell.

Deluded by their fantasy beliefs, the cult's followers await a starship that will deliver them to utopia on another planet. The caveat? All passengers must leave their bodies behind.

Will Sam’s and Kelly’s romantic relationship help or hinder them in their struggle to stop a mass suicide? Or will they themselves fall victim to the cult’s fatal madness?