Author: Lynn H. Blackburn
Series: Defend and Protect #2
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Her years of research and sleepless nights are about to pay off . . . if she can stay alive.
Dr. Ivy Collins, founder and CEO of Hedera, Inc., is ready to begin clinical trials of her company's cutting-edge prosthetic. Her work has been praised by government, medical, and advocacy groups, and everyone hopes the device will be a success. Well, almost everyone. Someone is trying to sabotage Hedera and the launch, but to what purpose--and how far will they go to get what they want?
Meanwhile, US Secret Service Agent Gil Dixon can't believe he's finally been reunited with Ivy, his childhood best friend. Now that he's found her again, Gil intends to mend their broken relationship. But it will take all his skill to uncover the truth in time to save Ivy's life, her life's work, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
This romantic suspense kept me riveted and my heart pounding due to the danger involved. But it also has one swoony unforgettable romance. This is a story of a reunion of two loves who let time, misunderstandings, hurt, and others keep them apart. Both thought it was too late until they were brought back together due to harsh circumstances.
Ivy is a unique heroine. She is smart, started her own business, and has worked pretty much in her life. She is also a straightforward, matter-of-fact character, and I would say a pretty lonely individual. Not for long, however, as a group of men have tortured her, and that is in the first few pages of the story. But in walks her hero and her true love, Gil, a Secret Service agent. There was a lot of drama, and this story moved pretty quickly. The author explains why the Secret Service was involved with her case, and I learned a bit more about that service.
I liked that other characters from a previous series came in and rallied around Gil and Ivy. They accepted her because he loved her. I also appreciated that he moved as slowly as possible regarding his feelings for her, even though he showed his very protective side of Ivy. Their easy banter and obvious feelings shined throughout and made these two really stand out.
There are many moving parts involved in this suspense, so be prepared to lose some sleep. It was one of those stories that I couldn't get out of my mind even when I wasn't reading it.
I received a copy of this novel from Revell publishing through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
It’s no secret that I love reading about suspense that includes the alphabet agencies. Ms. Blackburn is very adept at writing some of the best suspense out there. I’m glad we get to see characters from her previous books. This adds to the atmosphere of camaraderie and brings a layer of expertise into the picture.
Ivy and Gil have a long history broken by a painful experience and 15 years of distance. Scary circumstances bring them together again but can past hurts be healed?
This story had an intriguing and unique premise and enough people with questionable backgrounds to keep you guessing at who was behind the threat. The danger was palpable on every page. “Her week had been surreal. She’d been dropped right into a Salvador Dali painting, where everything she knew was still there but distorted in new and mostly disturbing ways.”
I liked that God was never far from Ivy or the agents helping her. “Lord, I don’t know what to do, so my eyes are on you.” After all, part of the reason they are the good guys is that they can call on God to sustain them in their risky jobs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this absorbing, suspenseful tale. I am glad there is more to come in the Defend and Protect series.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Marie Edwards
In my opinion, most second or middle books lose momentum as they follow up from a great start. Malicious Intent takes Unknown Threat's momentum and runs off with it, like a quarterback in the final quarter grabbing the ball and making a mad dash towards the goal for the win.
Readers might want to read the first book to get an introduction to the characters and the relationship dynamics. Most of the characters from the first book return: Luke, Faith, Zane, Tessa, Gil, and Ivy, among others. Readers met Ivy in chapters 17-19 of Unknown Threat. And, as always, there are new (or newish) characters added: Emily (Gil's sister), Daniel Morris (PD), and two minor characters close to Ivy.
Readers of the Dive Team Investigations (DTI) series are also in for a sweet treat as those characters return as well with some significant roles in this book: Ryan & Leigh Parker (Beneath the Surface); Adam & Sabrina Campbell (In Too Deep); Gabe & Anissa Chavez (On Final Breath).
Despite all the characters in this book, it doesn't get confusing or bogged down. There are only two main POVs – Gil and Ivy. The third one belongs to an intermittent mystery man, starting in chapter 7 (page 60). Obviously, this man is behind the attack on Ivy. But, that is as much of a hint that Blackburn will give readers.
Some content is disturbing or concerning in this book. Mentions or "acts" of theft, human trafficking, kidnapping, amputation of a character's limb, drug use, what could be considered a mass shooting (no deaths or injuries), attempted kidnapping, and torture. Also, a slightly disturbing mention of a bad character's death. Readers might want to exercise caution when reading this.
In addition to her history with Gil, Ivy has other connections to the team. An event from the first book is mentioned (where she met Luke and Faith). This is another reason I suggest that readers read the previous book. Sabrina also designed Ivy's system, which will come up later in the book.
Gil and the team investigate what is going on. At the same time, he and Ivy close the past and work towards the future with a few interesting moments that are dramatic, heart-warming, and even funny. It all adds to the family dynamic as well.
The family dynamic is important because it holds the character-driven parts together seamlessly. Blackburn also works in a way to set up the story for book #3, obviously Zane and Tessa's story. Each character has their special moment, and each has significantly developed since the end of the first book.
Malicious Intent is an intense, gripping, dramatic, edge-of-the-seat thrill ride that kept me hanging on until the last page. At times it was a smooth ride. Other times it looped backward and upside down.
Fans of the author, Lynette Eason, and Elizabeth Goddard, along with those who read Unknown Threat, definitely won't want to miss this one. Blackburn really outdid herself!
As it is distributed by Revell, a primarily Christian/faith-themed publisher, there will be strong references to faith and Christian beliefs. Some of those are integral to the characters but not the story.
Thank you to Revell (a division of Baker Books) for providing a complimentary review copy through Interviews & Reviews. A positive review was not required nor requested, and all words are my own.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"She'd been dropped right into a Salvador Dali painting, where everything she knew was still there but distorted in new and mostly disturbing ways."
The only silver lining was the man standing in front of her, the man who had walked straight into the worst moments of her life like a knight in shining armor, the man who had once been her best friend, the man who softly uttered the following words with utmost assurance and confidence, "Don't count on me protecting you from me for long, Buttercup".
And with that declaration, Dr. Ivy Collins knew in her heart that U. S. Secret Service Agent Gil Dixon might just be back in her life for good. In spite of all her past mistakes, Gil still believed in her. A girl needed a man like that when her life was in danger, for he brought along a host of high-octane friends who were determined to keep Ivy safe and preserve the integrity of her company, Hedera, Inc., from those who sought to destroy it from within and without.
It was incredibly refreshing to read a fast moving suspense that was at times more romantic than suspenseful. And romantic it was. Gil's love and affection for Ivy was founded on years of childhood friendship that had unfortunately been severed, and partially destroyed, only to be restored at just the right time. However, don't be lulled into amorous bliss, this book begins and ends with a mother-load of "malicious intent".
"Lord, I don't know what to do, so my eyes are on you."
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
Wow! I'm just loving this new series, and this one has to be the best! I loved the edge of your seat, holding your breath scenes. I enjoyed this so much. It was just too good to put down.
The characters are well rounded out, and the plot had me totally hooked from the beginning. I'm so happy that Ivy finally got her own story. She's just awesome and fun in getting to know.
I've learned a lot reading this book. This author's research comes from the heart, and she has fun doing it. It shows through her writing. I think I fell in love with her writing with her very first novel, and I've been a fan ever since.
This book has all the ingredients for an incredible roller coaster ride that readers will love. I know I did! This book is a well-deserved 5-star story.
I received this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
It's another great romantic suspense from Lynn H Blackburn. Though it's the second in the Defend and Protect series, it can be read as a stand-alone. Lovable characters get their second chance with fast-paced action and an intricate plot with twists and turns. This book will grab you from the beginning and keep you captivated until the end with a hoard of delightful secondary characters and faith threaded throughout.
Gil is a fantastic hero - calm, intelligent, protective, resourceful. Who won't love a Secret Service Agent who cooks gourmet meals and holds onto his first love? Ivy is a nice mix of an eccentric genius and down-to-earth tenderness and loyalty. Their second chance romance is fraught with danger and reminiscence as Ivy and her family's convoluted past catches up with the present. I loved seeing the characters from the author's Dive Team Investigations series pop up in this book. Though he had a voice in the story, the villain's identity and motive were tantalizingly elusive until the end of the book.
If you enjoy romantic suspense, you don't want to miss out on this book and series.
I received the book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
Tightly written suspense with twists and turns right up to a conclusion you never saw coming, romance that grabs your heart, family, and faith that hold on to the end. Who could ask for more?
As children, Gil and Ivy knew each other, fell in love as teens and were separated by misunderstandings for fifteen years. Who knew a counterfeit case would lead him to her front door just in time to save her from intruders who wanted something she had.
Is it possible in the midst of chaos, God brought them back together for healing and another chance at love?
This book has everything I love in romantic suspense.
I was given an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation from Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
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