Monday, May 3, 2021

Hailey Turner - In the Wreckage

After surviving a horrific chemical attack that turned him into a metahuman, Captain Jamie Callahan got a second lease on life. For three years he’s been working for the Metahuman Defense Force and leading Alpha Team—all against the wishes of his family. The job requires his full dedication, so it’s no surprise Jamie doesn’t have time for a relationship. An enticing one-night stand with a gorgeous stranger is all it takes to show Jamie exactly what he’s been missing. When a mission to take down a terrorist cell brings that same stranger back into his world, Jamie’s life gets complicated.
Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan was only looking to relieve some stress after a long mission. He didn’t know the hot guy he picked up at a bar was the leader of the MDF’s top field team. When Kyle and his partner get seconded to Alpha Team to help fight a terrorist threat, he has to balance his desire for Jamie against his duty to keep his secrets safe. That gets harder and harder to do amidst regulations both are tempted to break.
Giving into passion could cost both their careers. Abiding by the rules will only result in heartache. An attack on MDF headquarters brings with it a choice Jamie and Kyle can’t escape—duty, or love?


Comment: This is the first book in the Metahuman Files series by Hailey Turner. I saw good opinions about it and by those and the blurb, I felt confident enough I'd like the story so I gave it a try. I'm glad it worked for me, for the most part.

The action takes place more than two centuries in the future, and the world is the same, with wars and geographic and social differences, but technology improved as well as biochemical weapons. During a mission gone wrong, Jamie Callahan's team was attacked and hit with the chemical Splice, which kills humans but a small percentage of them are affected differently although no one knows how. That is how Jamie and four of his team mates survived but now they have enhanced powers, which are handy in military missions. However, there are others out there who have been affected too, and no one can tell how the chemical will change them. Now Jamie is in charge of alpha team of Metahumans, a group of people who survived Splice, and they work all over the world doing what is needed. However, the team has always struggled to work with snipers even though the team needs one. That is how Jamie and the team meet Kyle and what a surprise that was for Jamie...

The best thing about a new world in fiction is to get all the details and interesting ideas the author might have as the story develops (or the stories if it's a series). I'm a goner for series where this happens and where th author also writes in such a way I feel compelled to know more about thee world and more about the characters in it and how their lives are and how they interact with each other.

In a sense, this book accomplished this for me and I had a great time turning the pages (lol, clicking the button on my E-reader) and wanting to see what was special and unique about this world. I liked it that the author set the story in a future not that changed from the actual but with enough time to make the paranormal changes more acceptable within the rules we already know and have for military procedures, social interactions, coping with certain issues...

In fact, my favorite part of this book is precisely that, how the world works, how detailed the action scenes are but in such a way I wasn't bored by all the military slang and tactics. I was invested in the characters' lives in this world and how they did things and why it mattered. The chemical that changed people is described in a realistic way, if one thinks about biochemical weapons, and I was happy with the enough descriptions of how those who survived were affected and what kind of repercussions they might have had.

I also liked Jamie's personality. He is a good character, he wants to protect his team and I was happy by how his interactions with them all were portrayed. I got the idea of each individual and what they are like although the secondary characters aren't as developed as Jamie and the focus isn't on them (nor the POV). Jamie has a background I could understand, the family pressure, his sense of duty and his personal feelings after having to deal with turning into a metahuman.

I'd say a big part of the book worked well for me and I enjoyed imagining the scenes play out. What I feel wasn't too well done - along with some lack of more emotion from the writing's style - is the romance. Jamie and Kyle are the leads here, it's no surprise, and how they meet and how they learn who they are is a proven method to keep things interesting. I liked how they interacted and how they clicked so well at work, as well as with the rest of the team and even Kyle's brother, who also comes along to be part of the alpha team. Two strangers into a established team could be tricky but I liked how they all meshed in their own way.

But the romance disappointed me. Emotionally speaking, even if one, like me, sees romance in everything between a couple, including innocent conversations about work, this didn't work out well. Jamie and Kyle have chemistry, they synced well together both at work and privately but they never expressed their emotions in a way I'd feel was acceptable (even allowing for their military positions and usual reserved personalities). They had too much sex and despite their words while with one another, intimacy between them didn't fully work for me, although I should say it's my personal preference the couple doesn't get into the type of behavior they have alone (mild BDSM and some kinks). I just don't think, however, that the physical matched the emotional - or vice versa - so it felt like they weren't as invested in their relationship because it had such an erotic side to it.

Still, apart from that, there are enough elements here that made me happy I was reading the book. I think it was a well thought idea and the author managed to put on paper all the interesting details which make this an engrossing story line. The romance wasn't one I liked much but I feel the rest more than justifies continuing with the series, which I will do, at some point.
Grade: 8/10

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