Darkness by Karen Robards
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.
BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.
Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?
Gina is an ornithologist who’s come to a remote Alaskan island to study the local wildlife. While out alone on a boat, a small plane crashes nearly on top of her, and she manages to save one very intense and handsome man. Cal’s in some deep shit. He was on a secret mission that went horribly wrong. He’s been shot, fell out of sky in a plane crash, and was submerged in freezing water for a ridiculously long time, so Gina’s help is the only thing that stops him from dying right there in the water. Still, he doesn’t trust her and she doesn’t trust him, but because of an intense storm moving in they are stuck with each other overnight. When Gina eventually makes her way back to her research station and finds all her colleagues murdered and bad guys searching for her, she and Cal have to go on the run. With no way to communicate with the outside world, they have to survive on the cold, unforgiving island until they can figure out a way to escape.
The details in this book get pretty ridiculous. First and foremost, Cal is freaking superhuman. He’s on the brink of death, which is understandable SINCE HE WAS IN A PLANE CRASH. He has no winter gear or shoes, and nothing but the most basic first aid supplies. Yet after just one night of sleep, he’s able to make a strenuous 5 hour hike through unfamiliar terrain, then fight off a bad guy, run away, and hike up a mountain. (And of course he still has plenty of strength for sexxxing.) Riiiiight. Gina also gets the hots for him too early. I liked that she was wary, but then she ruins that by getting all hot and bothered as he’s patting her down against her will to check for weapons, or admiring his abs as she’s wondering why he got shot before his plane crashed. Lots of convenient stuff happens, like Gina and Cal finding a ridiculously well-equipped and comfortable cave and a 70 year old parachute in working condition. The bad guys and their plans are kind of fuzzy and glossed over. Overall, there’s not a lot of attention given to the larger story, just to Gina and Cal’s fight for survival.
But you know what? I loved this book anyway. I am always a sucker for wilderness survival stories, so this was right up my alley. I also liked Gina and Cal as characters. Gina has had some serious trauma in her life, and while she has learned to cope she probably hasn’t faced it as directly as she needs to. I appreciated that Cal recognized her pain and genuinely wanted to be there for her. I liked Cal’s suspicious and gruff nature, too. While he’s a good person, he’s not cuddly, and he doesn’t make many connections with others. He’s in a tough and dangerous business, and it makes sense that he’d be the way he is. But when he realizes he is starting to care about someone else, he doesn’t push it away, give some BS excuse like his lifestyle wouldn’t allow him to be with anyone, or decide he’s too manly for The Feels. He is a little spooked but he goes with it, and he isn’t afraid to tell Gina that he wants something more. I liked seeing his sensitive side, and I liked the two of them together.
While it might have issues (hence the less-than-perfect grade), this book was thrilling for me, and I ended it completely satisfied.
Grade: 3.75 out of 5