Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ARC Review: Mission:Black by A.D. Starrling

Series:     Division Eight #1
Pub. Date:Oct 18, 2016
Length:130 pages

I have been looking forward to this new series by A.D. Starrling for quite a while... and not just because I got to name one of the characters! You see, Ms. Starrling writes some of the best fast-paced action stories that I have read. Her heroines are kickass, and her heroes are not so bad either. So I was stoked for this first book of the Division Eight series, with its own kickass heroine, Rachel Carter.*

We first meet Agent Rachel Carter when she has it all. She is a strong and capable heroine on the cusp of getting married to a supportive alpha male. But when things go wrong for her DEA FAST team in the middle of the Arabian sea, Rachel loses it all. Rachel is left scarred, both physically and mentally, and full of rage. Rather than take a permanent desk job, Rachel agrees to be recruited into the secretive Division Eight, a group of covert operatives. Despite Rachel's outward strength and abilities, she was a sympathetic heroine. My heart just broke for her in the first part of the book and, while this part was hard to read, I think it helped establish a stronger connection to Rachel's character. 

The past comes back to haunt Rachel when her team is brought in to help another Division Eight team with a rescue mission. Jason David Scott, III is the team leader that needs Rachel's help. Jason is immediately attracted to Rachel... he likes her tough exterior but also the bit of vulnerability he sees in her eyes. The simmering attraction between the two team leaders only got stronger as they carried out their mission.

As always, Starrling got my adrenaline going with nearly non-stop action. As you can imagine when dealing with black operatives in overseas environments, danger abounds. I love the research that Starrling puts into her work. I love to learn while being entertained, and there are some fascinating military tools that are used in this book that I have never heard of (but that actually exist).

The secondary characters in this story are just as exciting as Rachel and Jason. Each team member possessed distinct talents, histories and personalities. There is lots of room for this series to progress and give us tons of action with snippets of romance in the future. I am most excited for Tristan Payne's story... both because this is the character that I named and because I just loved him in this first installment of the series. I am also curious about Alex Slade and Vivian... I felt like there is a story there that I should already know, so maybe we will get prequel novella for the Division Eight leaders.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the author.

*I had to laugh when I started reading this story because I have an author friend named Rachel Carter. I immediately posted to her Facebook page that she was a heroine in Starrling's new series. So it was hard sometimes to separate real life from fiction because I kept seeing Rachel's face in my head trying to take down bad guys.