Author: Ronie Kendig
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review: Captain Dean Watters is a man on a mission. He has a Special Forces team to lead… and secrets to keep buried. But with insurgents terrorizing the Afghan territory – and the young children learning under the teachers there to give them an education – where they are currently stationed, their mission may prove more difficult – especially when the team meets the pretty American schoolteacher, Zahrah Zarrick. As the daughter of a general, Zahrah knows all there is to know about the life of a military man, and much as she loves her father, she felt a calling from God to return to her mother’s homeland and teach the children who otherwise would not receive any form of education. When secrets come to light that reveal Zahrah is not just a high-ranking officer’s daughter, but also a target all on her own, Dean will have to go into the protected areas of his past to be sure than Zahrah’s life isn’t used to compromise the U.S. Military’s missions.
Going into this, I think I had very different expectations than what the story actually ended up resembling. Unlike Ronie’s prior works, this book is more about information gathering than actionable “excitement” – or the kind of breath-catching exploits that leads the heroes into danger around every corner. To be honest, it took me until ¼ the way in before I really was hooked. Oh, there was nothing bad or uninteresting about the story, I just had to pause and realize that under her skillful hand, Ronie was taking a different direction with this first book in her brand-new series. Not only is the pacing different, the prose takes a new voice as well – it switches off between Dean and Zarhah (and a fellow solider dealing with his wife’s illness), and a first-person villain. On the one hand, it’s just as excellent to read a novel – by the author who is known for her “rapid-fire” fiction that takes more time to develop the characters and gives them breathing room without putting them in the line of fire. Then there is the expectation of what we’re accustomed to from this name. Once the reader adjusts their perspective and realizes this book is going to use every of its first half to build up to that climax – and once we do reach that, turning the pages, anxious to help propel the good guys out of danger, is in no short supply.
The characters in this novel are… perfect! Not in the sense of perfectionism, but rather because their human nature flaws are written so wonderfully. Dean is one of the best, most heroic men I’ve read about to date. Using “hero” as a means of character description in this sentence doesn’t refer to brawn (ahem, though that does apply); it’s used as a means of attempting to describe his character. He’s a scared man emotionally because of a family past and a tragedy from his early days after his enlistment, burdens he has shouldered along with his rise in the ranks and the subsequent leadership role he has with his Raptor 6 family, whom I love getting to know Dean with. The teammates are all unique (the teasing, banter and even, the tense disagreements add authenticity to their scenes) and I’ve got high hopes that at some point, they’ll get their own dues in stories of their own. All of this attests to how beautifully Ronie can write a story about the pride of American military (and the gratefulness of a nation for this) without reading as an cookie-cutter story. Then there is Zahrah. She and Dean were perfect together; I liked the added bonus of them having to stay at arm’s length because of his respect of her culture (rather than merely because it was used as a plot device to keep the couple apart) and later their many deeper conversations while being used in the enemy’s hands – and if you want to know what that means, you’ll have to read the book. *wink*
Enter this story without the same perspective as Ronie’s prior novels, and Raptor 6 defines a new kind of page-turning suspense! It’s brilliant, and the first in a series you won’t want to miss.
Read what others are saying about Raptor 6
Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the US military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost. – Goodreads
copy of this book for reviewing purposes.