From the moment this story begins during an investigation for weapons of mass destruction by Beowulf, a bullmastiff full of attitude, this story grabs a reader and refuses to release. Kendig has a mastery of timing that grips through the most intense parts of the action. By the time I reached the respite, I realized that my own breathing had shallowed as the characters battled.
So often that word in misunderstood to have inappropriate connotations. In the case of Beowulf, the words romance, affection, or compassion just aren’t strong enough. Tony “Candyman” VanAllen has been attracted to Beowulf’s spitfire handler, Timbrel Hogan, through several missions together. She flits through his mind constantly and when she’s within view, he struggles to keep his mind on his work, a dangerous situation in his military career.
For Timbrel, the only man in her life is her giant dog. Working in her chosen field flings her into the center of groups of men all the time. With a caustic attitude, she resists all advances. Until a stubborn, persistent Green Beret that insists she call him by his given name breaks down the walls she’s built. Even her dog hates the man, but she can’t eliminate him from her mind.
The chemistry between these two is palpable!
Tony and Timbrel and the rest of the crew aren’t just characters. They’re deeply researched members of teams that likely exist within our military today. They have backgrounds, warts, and hangups with which any reader can empathize. And because of the way Kendig peopled her story, a reader doesn’t stand outside and observe. The reader is part of the battle, wearing the skin of the different characters, firmly ensconced within the contours of the written page.
No wonder I had trouble putting down the book for annoying interruptions. Sleep, work, driving, parties, etc.
This book is exceptionally done. My first favorite of the new year!