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Friday, July 13, 2007

My review of Island Inferno by Chuck Holton...

From the Publisher:

Task Force Valor

Explosive Ordnance Disposal–The Bomb Squad

As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.


A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it’s exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides “Rip” Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing–literally.


Fernanda Lerida is a University of Panama grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.


When Rip’s path collides with Fernanda’s, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?


Fernanda is on the run. Rip is on a mission. They're both caught in a dangerous turf war. Will the chaos catapult them to safety...or lead to their worst nightmare?

My review:

Island Inferno is a page-turning suspense novel that you don't want to miss. I had not read the first book in the series and didn't feel like I missed out, so I think this can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel (though now that I've finished the story I'm dying to read the sequel).

The author takes you to numerous settings and countries and puts you into the heads of the good guys and the bad. In some ways this book made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park, but minus the dinosaurs. Island Inferno even had college students exploring the island, totally unsuspecting what was going on behind the vegetation. And that bottled water was downright scary because you never knew when someone would take a swig and possible blow up. I couldn't stop reading this book! It contained enemies who were just as frightening and deadly as man-eating dinosaurs, and you never knew when they would appear and kill someone. Very exciting and nerve-wracking.

I also totally loved the special forces and commando feel of the book. You can see that the author has experience because the details show that he knows what he's writing about, which makes it feel even more real. My favorite characters were Rip and Fernanda. The end of the story was fabulous and even a tad romantic, and while it wrapped up some details, it left just enough loose ends for a sequel.

The spiritual thread in this story truly impressed me--how the circumstances opened up situations where people truly wanted to know God in a personal way. It came out very naturally through the plot, and in my opinion was one of the best things about the story. While packed with a variety of violent situations (I'm quite squeamish and the details were awesome), the story would be lifeless without the James Bond/Mission Impossible feel to it. I highly recommend this book! In fact, I think it would make an awesome movie, too.

Island Inferno
was published by Multnomah and released in May 2007.

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