CATALYST by Rachel Grant
Kirkus Star


Flashpoint Series
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When an American aid worker disappears in South Sudan, an unlikely ally comes to her rescue in this sequel.

Gabriella Stewart Prime is the last woman Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford ever expected to see at Camp Citron in Djibouti in Africa. Ten years ago, while working for her family’s company, Prime Energy, she defended an oil pipeline project that threatened to undermine Native American treaty rights. While his tribe’s land, the Kalahwamish Reservation in Washington state, was not jeopardized, Ford still opposed the project. Despite his anger over the pipeline, he finds her irresistibly attractive (“She had a maturity about her that had been missing before”). In the years since the project, Gabriella cut ties with her family, received a master’s degree in cultural anthropology, and changed her name to Brie Stewart. She is now a dedicated aid worker who plans to help villagers in South Sudan displaced by civil war. Later, when she disappears in the aftermath of the burning of a food storage depot, Ford’s team is assigned to find her. He discovers she has been abducted and taken to a market where she will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. After a dramatic rescue, Ford and Stewart find themselves falling in love and facing danger when an investigation is launched into the incident. The attack on the depot was not random and Stewart may be a pawn in an international conspiracy. The second novel in Grant’s (Tinderbox, 2017, etc.) Flashpoint series offers intelligent romantic suspense that moves with the urgency of a thriller. The well-researched and timely plot finds the heroes confronting the realities of famine in South Sudan while unraveling a complex scheme to secure oil rights in the region. Although the conspiracy at the heart of the story is complex, Grant successfully unites the various plot threads, and the action is gripping without being gratuitously violent. As with Tinderbox, the heroes are nuanced and their scenes sizzle with erotic tension. Stewart and Ford’s romance develops slowly as both struggle with their pasts and concerns that their relationship may not be accepted by others. Although newcomers to the series do not need to read Tinderbox to enjoy this novel, familiarity with the story might enrich the references to supporting characters Morgan Adler and Pax Blanchard.

Distinctive and satisfying romantic suspense.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-944571-12-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Janus Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2018


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