Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Review: Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Released: Nov. 5, 2019
352 pages
About the Book:

One father was murdered. Another was 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 hometown. His mother begs him to come back 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 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 not long after, people assumed Nate set the fire to get even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left town without looking back.

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 now she’s fighting 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. Brenna is barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As Nate and Brenna deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—the past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I loved this book! I was engrossed in the story almost right from the beginning. The characters of Brenna and Nate pulled me in. Their lives were forever changed with the murder of Brenna’s father, and they ended up in two separate directions. Now 14 years later they are both back in the same community, but nothing is the same.

Brenna is going through an ugly custody battle while Nate is trying to heal with from 3rd degree burns and the reuniting of his family. The portrayal of the custody battle with all the ugliness and hatred felt very realistic (unfortunately). I hurt for Brenna with everything she was going through and the way she was trying to cope with it. I quickly fell for Nate, the way he was stood up to his father, the way he looked out for Brenna, and the way he treated Brenna’s children all had me loving him.

While the custody battle and the reconnection of Brenna & Nate may feel like the main storyline, there was mystery of trying to figure out what really happened to cause the murder that changed the lives of two families.

I went through so many emotions during this read. I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) put this book down.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley; 
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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