“Under Fire” by Lynn H. Blackburn

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About this book:

  “USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend–and the woman he desperately wishes could be more.
   Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. 
   Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time?”

Series: Book #3 in the “Defend and Protect” trilogy. Review of Book #1 Here! And Book #2 Here! Mentions characters from the “Dive Team Investigations” series and does give slight spoilers from those books. Also mentions a couple from the novella “Deadly Objective” by this author. 

Spiritual Content- A handful of Scriptures are read & quoted; Prayers (including quite long prayers and talking to God), Thanking God, & Blessings over food; Talks about God & forgiveness; ‘H’s are not capital when referring to God; Tessa says she refuses to allow alcohol to steal the life God has for her; As a child, Zane didn’t understand why God gave him his mother when other kids had good mothers; Zane prays that he knows God has the power to fix others, but he doesn’t understand why He doesn’t (this is not brought up again); Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessings over food; Mentions of churches & church going; A few mentions of forgiveness & a man wondering if Zane would still tell him about God if he knew what he did; A couple mentions of being Blessed & blessings; A couple mentions of sins & a sinner; A mention of wishing someone Godspeed; A mention of people in a town “walk[ing] the talk” when it comes to their faith; A mention of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; A mention of Mother Teresa; A mention of someone’s “eternal reward”; A mention of someone sounding like they’re calling “down fire from heaven”
             *Note: Mentions of Greek gods & a Roman god (Janus); A few mentions of evil; A few mentions of Tessa’s demons & her fighting them; A few mentions of a protest group having neon-crosses (because the person that was killed last name is Cross); A mention of someone’s smile looking a “little wicked”; A mention of being jinxed; A mention of someone knocking on wood (superstition); A mention of voodoo; A mention of someone saying they saw UFOs. 

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘bah’, a ‘blasted’, a ‘blooming’, a ‘duh’, a ‘screw up’, a ‘shoot’, a ‘shut up’, a ‘suckers’, two ‘crap’s, three ‘dumb’s, five forms of ‘ticked/tick off’, ten forms of ‘stupid’, and twenty forms of ‘idiot’; A couple mentions of curses (including Zane bites back choice words once; others are said, not written); Sarcasm & Eye rolling; Being attacked, Being strangled, Fighting/Self-Defense, Pain, Blood, & Injuries (up to semi-detailed); Seeing a multi-vehicle car wreck (semi-detailed); A hangover (up to semi-detailed); Wanting to shoot someone (a few times, not serious); In the opening chapter, Tessa has a hangover (from drinking, but also someone drugged her drink so she remembers nothing and is freaked out); Tessa has struggled with an alcohol addiction for years (later says her first drink was in middle school and that she’s the type who should never have alcohol because she will always want more), goes to rehab prior to the main of the book, and says she’ll always be an alcoholic but she’s healing and doesn’t want to go back to how she was; Zane had a “nightmare” of a childhood due to his mother being an alcoholic (details of him being terrified, upset, & not able to understand why she was like that; He knows it’s not true that he’s not important enough for someone to sacrifice for, but it’s been imbedded in him because of his childhood; He made a comment once to Tessa about not being able to trust a woman who drinks because he might one day love a woman “who needs alcohol more than she needs [him]”); All about many, many mentions of threats, threats of harming and killing, domestic terrorists, crimes, criminals, arrests, jails, protests, violence, & hits on different people (including towards government officials, barely-above-not-detailed); Many mentions of being shot/shot at, being strangled, injuries, pain, a fire burning down a house, explosions, attacks, & deaths (some of the events in Book #1, up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of hangovers, drinking, bars, getting others drunk, alcohol, alcoholics (Tessa and Zane’s mother), rehab, sobriety, & going to AA meetings (Tessa); Mentions of the death penalty & a criminal being executed on multiple charges (eight murders, sexual assault, & battery); Mentions of murders & murderers; Mentions of death wishes & not having one (it is discussed between Tessa and Zane, & a family member asked if she was depressed or had a death wish because of her career choice); Mentions of someone being shot, blood/bleeding, someone being injected with insulin (deadly for those not diabetic), & a gun being aimed (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of grenades, bombs, explosions/explosives, & threats of blowing people/places up; Mentions of biological weapons & plans to cause harm/ill on others with chemicals; Mentions of a multi-vehicle car wreck, possible wrecks, injuries, & being tailed (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of poison, being poisoned, wondering if something is poisoned, & deaths (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of Tessa being drugged & abducted (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of abusive family members, addicts, & substance abuse; Mentions of drugs, drug addictions, being drugged, & women at bars being drugged; Mentions of a possible stalker; Mentions of a break-in; Mentions of snakes, a death from a snake bite, & Tessa’s extreme fear of snakes; Mentions of lies, lying, & liars; Mentions of some men believing that women shouldn’t work in law enforcement & misogynists; Mentions of childhood trauma; A few mentions of blood/bleeding & a crime scene looking bloody (because of red food dye); A few mentions of being robbed; A few mentions of blackmail; A few mentions of parties & the party scene; A couple mentions of possible suicides; A couple mentions of school shootings; A couple mentions of gossip; A mention of a man beating his wife to death; A mention of a death from an overdose; A mention of someone threatening to drown another; A mention of kids being trafficked; A mention of someone almost having a panic attack; A mention of a DUI; A mention of a scam; A mention of a father leaving his family; A mention of nicotine; A mention of vomiting; A mention of bullies; A mention of a man being a “pain in the rear”; A mention of someone getting their rear kicked; A mention of something being “a kick in the pants”; A mention of a family’s pet being run-over (does not happen); 
             *Note: Mentions of mental illnesses (including someone who is mentally ill but refuses to take medicine, someone being locked inside their “mental landscape”, someone’s mind being broken after something bad happened, and someone thinking another has a mental illness but hasn’t been diagnosed); Mentions of brand names (Spam, Coke, Barbie, Krispy Kreme, & Louboutin shoes); Mentions of Uber; A few mentions of Apple products & features (iPad, Find My Friends, Siri, & FaceTime); A few mentions of awards (Tony, Emmy, & Oscar); A couple mentions of car brands; A couple mentions of Disney princesses & Mickey Mouse; A couple mentions of Zoom; A couple mentions of plastic surgery & Botox; A couple mentions of an actor & fiction characters (Jack Nicholson & the Cleaver family); A mention of Agatha Christie. 
Sexual Content- Staring at someone’s lips (once), two fingers-to-lips touches, a hands/fingers kiss, three head/forehead kisses, two nose kisses, eight barely-above-not-detailed kisses, and a semi-detailed kiss; Remembering kisses (not-detailed); Wanting to kiss; Lots of Touches, Embraces, Warmth, Shivers, Hand holding, & Nearness (including a massage with a moan & touching another’s thigh and knee, up to semi-detailed); Wanting to touch & embrace (barely-above-not-detailed); Noticing & Smelling (barely-above-not-detailed); In the opening chapter, Tessa wakes up in a motel with her shirt missing (she was not sexually assaulted/raped, but it implies that it could have gone that way; She is ashamed of it); Two forms of ‘hot’ and three ‘baby’s; Many mentions of dates & dating; Mentions of sexual assault, sexual harassment, possible scandals from it, & the women being paid off; Mentions of kisses, kissing, & making out; Mentions of men that can’t take no for an answer; Mentions of flirting; Mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of couples kissing & imagining someone kissing another (barely-above-not-detailed); A few mentions of when a drunk Tessa threw herself at Zane (he said no and nothing happened); A few mentions of a woman clinging onto Zane; A few mentions of players & a couple men dating more than one woman at a time; A few mentions of come-on lines, making passes, & being hit on; A few mentions of winks & blushes; A couple mentions of someone thinking that it would be a “disservice to all humankind” if a certain guy reproduced; A couple mentions of making it where a man can’t father children; A couple mentions of a man’s new wife being younger than his youngest son; A couple mentions of anyone (male or female) “says no, the answer is no” (said by Tessa regarding a woman clinging onto Zane); A couple mentions of crushes;A mention of a man’s childhood being full of “drugs, sex, and violence”; A mention of it not being wise for a(n unmarried) couple to be allow together at night; A mention of nothing “physical” happening between two friends; A mention of a creepy guy; A mention of Zane wanting to make sure a rapist can never do it again; A mention of a marriage being consummated; A mention of a man trying to get rid of/hide his pregnant girlfriend; A mention of a prenup that would leave a man a pauper if his does to his new wife what he did to his previous wife (no details); A mention of a mistress; A mention of someone feeling like they’re cheating; A mention of a hook-up; A mention of a man being called a dog (by Tessa); A mention of a woman possibly wanting to fall for a man who’s more attracted to her mind than her body; A mention of a man wolf-whistling at Tessa; A mention of a woman batting her eyes (said in a mocking way); Both Tessa & Zane are attracted to each other, but they have stayed friends for years because of different reasons; Love, falling/being in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: Tessa kicks a male attacker in a “sensitive place”; A few mentions of rears (including wanting to shoot a man in his rear, a man being a pain in the rear, and someone getting their rear kicked); A couple mentions of some threats being more of a “personal nature” (from women to a man, no details given); A mention of a curvy woman; A mention of some men being unable to “keep their pants up”; mention of Tessa kicking a “foot to the—” on a male attacker (cut-off, but implied where); A mention of someone butting out of a conversation; A mention of being the butt of jokes.
-Tessa Reed, age 35
-Zane Thacker
                                P.O.V. switches between them & someone else (x3)
                                                        352 pages


Pre Teens- 

New Teens- 


Early High School Teens- 


Older High School Teens- 

My personal Rating- 

{ Because of some content, I would say this book is best for older girls who are very interested in law enforcement and considering it as a career path. }

This was a wild ride from start to finish. At first, I was a little concerned with what I was getting myself into because of the opening chapter. Which is somewhat how I felt at the beginning of the second book in this series as well. But I continued on to “help” solve the mystery. 😉

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about this trilogy is the friendship circle. How welcoming they all are to the newcomers and how they all have the others’ backs. They might be a bit too nosy at times, but it’s because they care for each other. They’re quick to pray for and with each other (long, legit prayers, I might add) and I truly just love that. It’s what has made this series good in my eyes. (Side note: The epilogue was cute and sweet and confused me to pieces. I assume it’s a preview of the author’s next series?)

There’s a lot of suspense elements in this trilogy, and while I definitely enjoy the uniqueness of those elements, the author doesn’t shy away from having broken characters who are in the process of healing. Especially in this novel. Tessa is a recovering alcoholic (though, she says that she’ll always been an alcoholic, despite going to rehab and AA meetings, so I don’t know if I agree with that statement) and we see some of her worst moments thanks to time skips. Because of the opening chapter of Tessa waking up drugged and missing some of her clothing, and the frequent mentions of the almost rape throughout the rest of the book, I definitely don’t recommend this book for those in BFCG’s target ages. This author has a knack for showing the nitty-gritty parts of a law enforcement career and I would say only older high school girls that are seriously considering it as a career, would be the only ones I would recommend this book to in the 9-19 age range. 

My minor is in criminal justice (hence why I read so many FBI and suspense books) so I enjoyed looking at all the different details of this plot and trying to wrap my mind around all the loose ends, trying to future out how everything was connected. There were a couple twists I didn’t see coming and a few I did, but overall it was a wild ride that kept me engaged and questioning everything. Not a book I would easily recommend, but I will say that I mostly enjoyed it. 



See y’all on Friday with a new review! 

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Revell) for this honest review.

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