REVIEW: HOT ZONE BY CATHERINE MANN

The second book in the Elite Force series combines a natural disaster with illegal schemes to create a story filled with nonstop dangers and a multitude of uncertainties. Catherine Mann tosses in plenty of issues where emotions are conflicted, and the result is a story where every instance touches the reader in a profound way.

What should have been a very happy occasion quickly turns into a nightmarish situation when an earthquake suddenly occurs in the Bahamas. Amelia Bailey has come along with her brother and his wife as they are adopting a young boy who resides on the island, as she thought her skills as a lawyer might be needed. When the hotel collapses on top of her and the toddler, she fears more for the life of her nephew than her own, and is eternally grateful to the pararescueman who eventually helps them escape the rubble.

As one of the elite individuals who do all they can to make certain those in need are saved, Master Sergeant Hugh Franco takes his assignments seriously. He also volunteers for the most dangerous missions, since he feels there is no one left to miss him if something should go wrong. However, one gutsy woman and a small child just might make Hugh start to see his future in a different light.

Catherine Mann writes emotionally heartfelt realism. The military stories created by this knowledgeable author are definitely in a class by themselves, as any specifics given are informative and accurate. From scenes packed with extremely unsafe peril to a moment overflowing with changeable feelings, there is never a time where each second does not come across as exceedingly true-to-life. There are circumstances in HOT ZONE where the action seems all too real, as I found myself worriedly awaiting the outcome since there are many decisive factors influencing what happens to Hugh and Amelia. Ms. Mann caused me to not only connect with these two characters but to truly believe in the details about their lives, thus making them seem very realistic because of convincing attributes. While they are very spunky even when facing a dire situation, both of them have suffered through tragedies in the past and are still deeply affected by these painful events. I ached right along with them when they related the facts about their agonizing memories, as Ms. Mann lets me personally experience their private thoughts. Hugh has an alpha side that he shows to those around him, but when I was given insight into his innermost feelings, I realized he hid so much anguish. A perfect blending of fierce devotion and doubtfulness describes Amelia, as she sometimes sees herself as vulnerable yet would do anything to protect those for whom she cares. The desirous longing felt by Hugh and Amelia for the other is very genuine, and they express this yearning with an abundance of heat plus honest caring. By the time I finished the second book in the Elite Force series about pararescueman, my admiration for these courageously brave individuals doubled. HOT ZONE is a notable military romance with engaging characters and spellbinding scenarios.