Book Review: Rogue Alliance by Michelle Bellon

Book Details:

File Size: 689 KB
Print Length: 375 pages
Publisher: John Lynch Digital Publishing House
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Book Summary:

Trying to escape a horrific past, Shyla has immersed herself in life as a tough, sassy cop in the bustle of LA. When the case of a lifetime takes her back to her hometown of Redding, she is thrown into a world of organized crime, deceit, and bitter reminders of her childhood.

As Shyla’s path crosses that of Brennan, an unwitting and troubled sidekick to the ringleader she’s intent on taking down, she is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes about herself, her job, and what she knows about right and wrong.

Can she face the demons of her upbringing and learn to trust again? Her life will depend on it.

About the Author:

Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four children.

Before her writing career, she worked as a registered nurse. Since she began writing she has published four novels in various genres. She has also written articles about PTSD and is an advocate for our soldiers.

For more information about the author go to: http://www.michellebellon.com

Book Review:

Rogue Alliance is a unique blend of mystery, suspense, and even a little romance with some underlying paranormal elements. Author Bellon lets her imagination run wild as she pieces together different genres into what should be a traditional crime story, but is not. The novel flows well and keeps readers entertained.

Readers could have initial issues with believability if they only assess Rogue Alliance as a top level crime drama. However, we encourage readers to hold their final opinion till they have read the novel in its entirety because the author has manifested a unique trio of characters who clash yet blend together in a strange symbiotic manner. Each lead character is equally drawn and repelled within their respective duos, creating dynamic and engaging character interactions. It’s hard to find the balance between three disparate characters, but the author pulls it off surprisingly well.

The book’s protagonist, Shyla Ericson, is a headstrong L.A. cop assigned to work the biggest case of her career. She consents to work undercover, returning to the hometown she never wanted to see again. Her impoverished childhood was riddled with domestic violence and molestation which results in a series of tragic events she can never completely forget or overcome. Her mere presence in her semi-rural childhood community is the source for gossip, speculation, and judgment.

Victor Champlain is a worthy antagonist in his role as leader of a large L.A. crime organization on the brink of a major drug deal. He has relocated to the smaller, slower life of Redding, California for privacy and camouflage. Victor’s personality ranges between megalomaniac and sociopath. The people around him are no different than the possessions he own and controls.

The third main character, Brennan Miles, is a bit of a hybrid as a blend of both protagonist and antagonist. He is also the lynchpin to the author’s infused paranormal tale. Brennan is a genetically enhanced human that Victor essentially steals from a secret research facility.

How and why Brennan came to be this vampire-esque laboratory guinea pig dependent upon special blood infusions for life is not entirely clear. The author touches briefly on his family backstory. His emotional interactions with Shyla appear to be rooted in their shared rogue nature as a result of their respective abusive pasts, but Victor’s presence and ultimate prison break of Brennan is a bit baffling. They’ve managed to keep Brennan hostage for years, but Victor manages to liberate Brennan almost instantaneously upon first introduction?

What’s more believable is the loyalty Brennan feels for Victor because of his new found freedom. Eventually Brennan struggles with Victor’s moral turpitude, yet overlooks his benefactor’s depravity mostly because Brennan believes he shares the same primal urge as Victor to target and kill. Brennan will do anything for Victor except harm Shyla who helps Brennan to understand that his urges are not of his own doing, whereas Victor kills with calculated indifference.

The effective supporting cast of characters include an affable chief of police and two faithful deputies—one of whom develops an overly protective crush on Shyla—are mostly likable, but can be a bit distracting from the book’s drama as they are always a few steps behind Shyla, literally playing catch up to her more advance and aggressive detective skills.

Then there is Carmen, a rebellious teen Shyla takes under her wing as if she doesn’t already have enough on her plate. We get why Shyla is drawn to this troubled youth, but not sure the subplot fits with the main storylines. Perhaps both her relationships with Brennan and Carmen create opportunities for Shyla to show a softer side to her otherwise obstinate tough-as-nails public persona.

The author does a great job of creating an interesting, flawed, kick ass, female heroine. Can she be annoying? Yes. Is she predictable? No. And it is this unpredictability which creates many of the plot’s twists and turns. Most important, Shyla is a compelling character to follow and we look forward to seeing future iterations of this character and unique blended genre.

This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.

 

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