by Liliana Hart
Series: Gravediggers #1
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genres: Romantic Suspense
The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.
Sometimes the dead do rise...
Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.
Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.
Deacon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.
Liliana Hart is a new to me author, but when I received THE DARKEST CORNER, the first in the Gravedigger romantic suspense series I couldn’t help but dive in. With its unique premise and Texas setting THE DARKEST CORNER offered suspense, mystery and a touch of heat.
The tale began much like you would expect a science fiction thriller or horror story to start with five armed men digging up a grave. Hart pulled me into the tale as she shared the world of this elite group known as the Gravediggers. We have highly trained men from around the world, and their leader is Deacon Tucker. All of these men had served their countries before each was marked for dead. Each was approached by the head of a secret organization to join an elite group of black operations specialists even the President of the United States isn’t briefed on. This team eliminates global terrorist threats.
Welcome to Last Stop, Texas. A small town where everyone knows everyone. Here we meet Tess, the local mortician and learn her story. She had planned to buy the funeral home she currently manages that is until her mother absconded with her savings and the property was purchased. After some major renovations, she now has five men working for her. All were hired by her employer, and none seem to have experience working in a funeral home. They are quite the curiosity with locals. In fact, the local ladies have a pool to see who sleeps with Deacon Tucker first.
What a fun set up! We learn Deacon has been attracted to Tess since he arrived two years ago but hasn’t acted due to his position in the group. All that changes when Tess announces she plans to leave Last Stop. Deacon is instructed to keep her there by any means necessary, and he seizes the chance.
Deacon is an interesting character with a mad skill set, but he is also vulnerable. Hart did an excellent job of letting us see both sides. Tess was surprising. She is bright and can speak Russian thanks to her grandmother. However, she has some self-esteem issues thanks to an ex-fiance. I liked that she thinks things through before she acts, but that once she commits she goes all in.
The suspense thread and elite group took us on missions and delivered some heart-pounding moments. I loved the secret organization and the sci-fi aspects. Talk about freaky. We meet the Director, and I am curious about this seemingly cold, ruthless woman.
The romance offered heat and complications. The story provided dual povs allowing us to connect with both Tess and Deacon making their interactions feel genuine. Hart added some sizzling scenes but balanced them with heartfelt moments.
The story was good, but the book suffered from slow areas and then rushed scenes in part due to the worldbuilding. We had this climatic buildup to an event but when we arrived it lacked details and was over before it began. All the elements I love in romantic suspense were present but the presentation fell short for me. Despite issues, I was hooked and wanted answers and at no point did I feel the need to set this down. Instead, I found myself wishing for more meat.
We are introduced to a unique and quirky set of secondary characters, and I look forward to their stories. Each of the men in this elite group come from different parts of the world, and it will be interesting to learn how they ended up in Last Stop, Texas.
Fans of heated romantic suspense, secret organizations, and elite task forces will enjoy THE DARKEST CORNER. The next books GONE TO DUST and SAY NO MORE release in June and July 2017.The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart offered suspense, mystery, and heat. Click To Tweet
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