About the Book
Book: Smoke Screen
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre: Christian Suspense
Release Date: November 5, 2019
One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.
Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.
Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.
Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.
As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.
About the Author
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.
Excerpt from Smoke Screen
I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.
An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”
T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”
“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”
“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”
I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”
“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”
It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.
“The family. Were they injured?”
“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.
“I won’t need a month,” I said.
“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”
I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”
“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”
Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.
I’ve never read a novel by Terri Blackstock before. If I’m honest, it’s because I’m a baby. Her covers scare me. I am a super sensitive woman. If I read or watch anything scary before bed, I will have nightmares. Since I work full-time during the day, most of my reading gets done at night, which means a lot of suspense novels never make it to my TBR pile. But, my husband adores Blackstock’s novels and encouraged me to read this one, and the premise did sound really excellent, so I took a risk. Boy, am I glad that I did! Smoke Screen is a very well-written story: the plot is highly engaging, the characters have depth and are very relatable, and the conflicts are so frustrating I flew through the pages to get to the end because I had to know everything would turn out OK for Nate and Brenna. All in all, Smoke Screen is a seriously good read I highly recommend.
I found so much to love about this novel, but my favorite aspect is the illustration of corporate prayer. I am a BIG believer in prayer. I believe with my whole heart that God hears and answers prayers. And, I know that praying with others makes prayers super powerful. As stated in Mark 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them.” I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of Christian fiction books over the years, so I’ve seen characters pray. I’ve seen characters gather together at church to pray during Sunday sermons and masses. But I’ve not read a Christian novel where Christian characters go on red alert, immediately gather together, and corporately pray because a member of the congregation needs help ASAP. This moment in Smoke Screen is AMAZING — prayer warriors going to battle with God in order to help a member of their team. And God moves mountains for the character because of this corporate prayer. It’s one of the most awe-inspiring moments I’ve read in a book.
My review, I fear, doesn’t do Smoke Screen justice. I found this story to be sweet and romantic, frustrating and encouraging, and action-packed. If you are looking for a well-written novel filled with suspense, romance, and timely themes, then Smoke Screen is the story for you!
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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