Author: Steve Westover
Published: August 8th, 2010
Genre: LDS Fiction, Suspense, Romance
PAUL STEPHENS HAS IT ALL—a wonderful job at the FBI, a potential new girlfriend, Emily, and a great apartment. Even when Jimmy, a friend from his past, unexpectedly ends up on his couch, Paul manages to keep it together, despite Jimmy’s eccentric ways and sudden interest in Emily. But when a plan to arrest a corrupt judge puts Emily’s life in danger, Paul is forced to make decisions that put everything on the line. And with Jimmy along for the ride, anything can happen as they race to save Emily.
FULL OF SUSPENSE, ACTION, AND SURPRISES, Defensive Tactics navigates the maze of burgeoning relationships and the rigors of investigation to ultimately show just how much the bonds of friendship can endure.
I have been acquainted with Steve and his family for many years, so I’m excited for the opportunity to review his debut novel!
The author has a great imagination, and his characters were fun to read about. Paul was my favorite character. Although he was a bit on the stuck-up side at first, he grew on me. In my days as a single woman, I would have been quite taken with Paul! He's strong, noble, does what he feels is right, and takes no thought for himself when defending those he cares for.
I cheered Jimmy on and was rooting for him to find himself and be able to come to terms with his tragic past. Some of his antics and quirky sayings made me laugh out loud. I sensed that underneath his charisma he was a very complex character, and a whole book could have been written from his point of view, delving further into his personality. I also wondered what happened with his old girlfriend, but perhaps that's being saved for another novel.
There is a sweet, touching scene between Emily and Jimmy where she urges him to confront the demons from his past. The prologue shows the tragedy that turned Jimmy into the shoddy, wisecracking mess that he is, but I feel there would have been even more emotional impact on the reader if that information had been saved and revealed to us as Jimmy shared with Emily.
Emily, at first, was too perfect for me to find her believable. However, as the story progressed and she struggled with life-altering decisions, she showed more personality and I really enjoyed her character. I appreciated how she was a strong, independent woman who retained a lot of femininity, a quality that is lacking in much currently published fiction.
One thing I need to mention: the book would have benefited from a thorough, professional edit. There were enough errors that they interrupted the reading flow and pulled me out of the story. However, I was able to set them aside and get back into the plot. *Edit: the author assured me that many of the editing errors were resolved with publication of the hard copy. I reviewed the electronic version.*
Without giving too much away, there is a cool action scene that I loved because I really saw Emily's character and quick wit shine as she battles the bad guys. She was calm, collected, and efficient. She made me hope I would be at least one tenth as capable in such an emergency!
The storyline with the corrupt judge was interesting, and kept me guessing. There were a couple of places toward the end that had me figuratively biting my nails! Agent Rick Stark is a fun character, and I'm still wondering what kind of guy he will turn out to be in the long run.
What I enjoyed most about this book was how the main characters all grew and changed in various ways. They all had to search deep inside themselves to find out what they were willing to do (or weren't willing to do) to maintain their personal standards.
Overall, I found Defensive Tactics a quick, intriguing read that earns its place in the world of LDS-themed fiction.
Visit Steve's website: Steve Westover and blog: Westover Writes to learn more about the author and his current projects.
*Disclaimer* Other than a free, electronic version of this book for the purpose of review, I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions.