By Trish McCallan
Faith Ansell could never be mistaken for an action hero. The scientist is content in her lab, working with her team on life-changing discoveries. But when a mysterious organization captures her colleagues, she’s forced to flee for her life with SEAL Team 7.
Lieutenant Seth “Rawls” Rawlings, ST7’s corpsman, hasn’t been himself since a near-death experience in the Sierra Nevadas. He’s tense and distracted, and the team caught him arguing with himself—loudly. Despite his erratic behavior, Rawls is the only one Faith feels comfortable confiding her life-threatening secret in.
But Rawls has a secret of his own: his wasn’t the only spirit to return to the physical plane when he was resuscitated. At first, Rawls assumed the “ghost” he saw and heard meant he was having a complete mental breakdown. But the apparition soon becomes convincingly real, and what’s more, he may be the key to the conspiracy looming over them. Rawls had better act quickly because ST7’s race to save their reputations—and Faith’s life—is on.
I’m going to start by saying that I’ve been waiting for FORGED IN SMOKE for two and a half years. That’s right, two and a half years. I originally read FORGED IN FIRE (book 1) back in November 2011, and again and along with FORGED IN ASH (book 2) in January 2014. I considered reading them again before reading this one, just to refresh my memory of the characters and events, but I ran out of time. Luckily, FORGED IN SMOKE starts out with a Sitrep and a character list that gives the reader a quick rundown of who’s who and what’s happened so far. It wasn’t perfect, but for the most part I was able to get back into this story fairly easily. In this book, we learn who is behind the attempted hi-jacking, kidnappings, bombings and the framing of SEAL Team 7…and why. The NRO’s plans are nefarious, but they truly believe they’re justified in their actions in order to protect mankind. We also learn that the SEALs have a powerful ally of their own; an ally who has been at war with the NRO for decades, maybe even longer.
I’ll be honest, this is a series where I’m more focused on the mystery, suspense and paranormal aspects of the story rather than the couples and romance, and that still held true here. I thought Faith was a bit of a weak character, and she annoyed me when her inner-monologue used scientific words to describe her physical attraction to Rawls. She’s a scientist, she’s super smart and she’s a geek. We get it. With Rawls, given that he was being haunted by the ghost of the mercenary behind the despicable events of the first two books, his character definitely took centre stage.
FORGED IN SMOKE is part of a series and cannot be read as a stand-alone. While each book is about a different couple, the story arc encompasses the entire series, so you need to read each book in order. As with the previous books, this story is told in the POV of multiple characters, not just Rawls’ and Faith’s. It does come with a HEA, and while it doesn’t really end in a cliffhanger, the story is not finished and will continue on for at least another book. The next book, FORGED IN EMBER, will be about Mac and Amy, and since I’ve been waiting for their story since book 1, I’m really looking forward to it. I can only hope it won’t be another two + years before we see it.
Forged In Smoke (Red-Hot SEALs # 3)
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