I have to make a confession first, this is the first time for me to read Megan Crane’s works. I knew of her from her post-apocalyptic warrior series and even got the copies, though haven’t got around to read them yet. “SEAL’s Honor” is the first of her new “Alaska Force” series, so I grabbed at the chance to finally read her writings. Look at that blurb, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a murder mystery sans body!
Now here’s where my reading (experience) got tricky. I’m sad to say that “SEAL’s Honor” is not what I expected at all. Good thing there’s a portion in this book that related to healing, patching up old wounds, mending fences, and personal courage that I strongly applauded. They are rather subtle though and pretty waaay back in the... back, which in itself were both nice - that the story didn’t try to fully restore every single thing in one go - and regrettable - as in the approach on this issue could be more pronounced to reshape the characters into new persons, especially given how affected Blue (and Everly) still were years into their grown-up selves. But altogether this part, small portion though they are in the story, was what lift up the book’s standing for me.
Moving on to the bigger portion (of the book) that gave me an ulcer. As the pilot of new series, I fully understood that this book would introduce a slew of characters who formed the brotherhood of Alaska Force itself and there’s bound to be a lengthy description of them or the brotherhood itself. Then there’s the Alaska setting, the beautiful but harsh environment where these guys decided to settle after leaving the service. But boy was the opening and the way they go on and on and on putting me to sleep. It seems as if every feeling or sentences was described at length that often than not I got cross-eyed following them.
The lead characters for this pilot were Blue Hendricks, a former SEAL who joined Alaska Force as he no longer felt normal to be civilian, and Everly Campbell, an old neighbor of Blue’s old life who witnessed a murder and ran for her life. A hero complex met damsel in distress. Their stories were told alternately from both perspectives in third person; wherein Blue would reiterate that he was no hero, be brooding and growly to (try to) intimidate Everly and she - after driving thousands of miles desperately seeking his help - made the production out of everything he did and said, basically just... provoking him. I mean, what’s the point in trusting someone to help you then questioning every single thing just to get under that person’s skin. Oh how she felt vindicated when he cracked and reeled from all those provocations. I just can’t! Not to say Blue was any better. He was condescending and patronizing, calling Everly “little girl” or other names to belittle her; telling her repeatedly Alaska Force’s way would get the job done then didn’t really deliver. Basically, Blue Hendricks didn’t give (me) a great first impression of who Alaska Force men were. It’s kinda disappointing.
What’s more, often Blue and Everly’s back and forth struck me as infantile, which begs the question on how they (could) fall for each other in such a short time. Yes, they knew each other before, barely and it was in “another life.” If there’s anything their present-day interactions convinced me, it’s that they have the hots for each other. Perhaps given a longer time frame (like a certain intriguing pair of Alaskans who I predicted would soon have their own story) I’m more likely to believe it.
The case-solving part is barely passable. I think it’s implied that Blue worked on it by digging into things with his tablet and talking with pertinent officers. But that’s just it: implied, if you expect some sort of sleuthing process - don’t hold your breath. To me, it’s not that they solve the case as much as the case caught up with them and blow up in their faces. Frankly, this is not a good precedence on which a series should be based. But I'll just lay low and see how the next books go.
The first in a new romantic suspense series featuring the rugged special ops unit tucked away in Alaska's Grizzly Harbor from USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane.
The last thing Blue Hendricks needs six months into his uneasy reentry into civilian life is trouble in the form of his old friend's kid sister, all grown up and smack in the middle of a dangerous murder investigation. But he didn't become a SEAL to turn his back on the hard stuff, and he can't bring himself to ignore Everly's call for help--no matter how much he knows he's not fit to be around the soft, vibrant woman she's become. Not after the things he's done.
Everly Campbell is desperate. When her roommate is murdered and the body vanishes, Everly fears she might be next. With no one to believe her, Everly runs to a remote Alaskan town to find a man she only vaguely remembers and his crew of ex-military brothers who could be her only hope. Blue wants to keep things all business but Everly isn't a little girl anymore and the commanding former SEAL is more temptation than she can resist.
As the men on Everly's trail draw closer, Blue will do anything to protect the woman he's starting to think of as his...