Reviewer Monique Burkes. Monique is a transplant to Columbia, SC who simply loves to read. She reads with her 2 young daughters and finds time for reading "treats" for her own pleasure as well! To know more about Monique, click on her Blog.
Author: Brenda Novak
Publisher: Mira Books
A dangerous cult has recently taken over the desert ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members worship at the feet - and in the bed - of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff, and obey his orders blindly. They've already tried to murder one woman and they're implicated in the disappearance of another.
Nate Ferrentino, who works for private security contractor Department 6, has been assigned to infiltrate this group. It's a challenge he welcomes - until he learns that colleague Rachel Jessop will be going undercover with him. Thanks to their shared history, he'd much rather go alone….
The problem is, only married couples can participate in cult rituals. So, like it or not - and they don't - Rachel and Nate must pretend to be husband and wife.
There's no choice. Because if Wycliff isn't exposed, if he isn't stopped, more people will die. And Rachel might be one of them.
Brenda Novak isn't kidding with this book. Ethan Wycliff is the dazzling religious leader of the Church of the Covenant which has raised suspicious all over town after the attempted stoning of one of their women – for sleeping with her husband. Another young woman has gone missing and her parents aren't leaving the Covenanters alone until they find her.
In steps Department 6 – a group of retired special forces men and women, police officers, and investigators, where both Rachel and Nate work. Rachel has a massive crush on Nate and they've never had to work the same case because of it. And Nate isn't as indifferent to Rachel as he has lead her to believe. Oh, did I mention that Nate is Rachel's boss?
They immediately travel to Paradise, AZ, an isolated town in the middle of the desert, where the cult is located and Rachel is brought into the cult. The danger is that this group believes in both drugs and indiscriminate sex, and Rachel may have to participate in both in order to fit in.
The people in this cult are C-R-A-Z-Y. I don't know how this book could have been written any better. The descriptions are realistic, the twists and turns are amazing and never what you'd guess, and the way the leaders of the cult are able to attract members just blows my mind. Seriously – there are group out there just like this one, and they have got to prey on some weakness in a person's life in order to assert so much control over them.
Consider that the cult was formed by some frat brothers, on a whim, while in the woods one day, and it now has about 200 followers all living inside the compound and following their rules and laws. And that they believe that this is the way to get to heaven. And that they sleep around – because it's sanctioned by God. This is a doozy!
BUT, the best part is the on-again off-again relationship between Nate and Rachel. Nate isn't ready for a relationship after the way his last one ended, and Rachel is so over Nate that it doesn't bother her a bit that they're living as man and wife. Or so she says.
White Heat was released July 27th, and is the first book in the trilogy. Body Heat will be released in September. And Killer Heat will be released in October. I can't wait to read the next two books. You can read Chapter 1 of each book at the links provided.
Brenda Novak and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children -- three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children's basketball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.
When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research -- an online auction held at her Web site. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking -- she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!