If you're a fan of the former TV show "The Unit" then the Discarded Heroes series by Ronie Kendig is for you! "Nightshade" is the first novel in the series and it brings us into the life of former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs. We first meet Max as he nearly kills himself by racing his motorcycle around rain-soaked twisting and turning roads. He is rescued by a mysterious stranger and meets several other guys who are veterans like himself. As it turns out, the mysterious man is part of an undercover group called Nightshade and he wants Max to lead them as they take on dangerous missions around the world. Knowing that Max will never see his estranged wife again because of their separation and impending divorce, he decides to join the group to rescue and help others.
Meanwhile, Max's wife Sydney is following her journalistic dreams. Following up on a lead about men who help others flee their oppressed countries, Sydney gets herself caught up in an investigation that may cost her her life. Will Sydney escape the dangerous story? Will Max be able to rescue others without getting himself or his men killed? Will they ever be able to patch things up in their marriage? You'll have to read this fast-paced action thriller to find out!
When I first started reading this book I was hooked from the first page. I mean, why on earth would this awesome war hero be tempting danger? As I continued to read, I found out that the love of his life had filed for divorce and Max felt like it was all his fault. (Isn't that what we all think when love goes the wrong way?) I felt so much compassion for this man's plight. After all, I've been through a divorce too and I don't wish that on anyone. I was also drawn in to the intensity of his emotions--so much so that I was angry when he was angry and sad when he was sad. (Too bad I don't take out my frustrations by working out--I would look a whole lot better!) I'm glad that the author, Ronie Kendig, wrote about PTSD and showed how very real it is for those soldiers that are brought back home and left to acclimate themselves to "normality" again. I can't imagine how difficult it is for these men and women to go through the horrors and tragedies on a daily basis and then told to "forget about it" and "move on." I was also struck by Sydney's determination and bravery while tracking leads for her story. I thought her co-worker was a bit much, but isn't that the real-world? Don't we all need a shoulder to cry on every once in awhile?