Series: Hostage Negotiation Team #1
Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback • Pages: 224
Published: September 20, 2012
Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down . . .
That simple rhyme turns negotiator Claire Michaels’ current hostage situation into an international incident. Claire just wants to help get everyone out safely, but as the crisis escalates she realizes she’s dealing with an al-Qaeda operative who has the means to become another bin Laden—with the potential to attack America. Claire has her own personal reasons for wanting to stop al-Qaeda, but time is slipping away as negotiations break down. Can she overcome her scars of the past in order to get the hostage out alive and possibly stop an assault on U.S. national security?
Navy SEAL Rafe Kelly is on leave to recover from a knee injury he suffered during his tour in Afghanistan and he doesn’t expect to be fighting terrorists on his home turf. But when he is taken hostage and his brother is kidnapped, Rafe teams up with a hostage negotiator in order to stay alive and get his brother back. The terrorist is always one step ahead of them, however, and the situation quickly turns from desperate to deadly. Will Rafe be able to save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was supposed to review Ribbon of Darkness in 2011 but I flaked out. Julie was really, really mad at me and wouldn’t even talk to me for a very, very long time, but eventually she forgave me and let me have a chance to review her newest book, All Fall Down—which I must say has a very striking cover, don’t you agree?
Karlene: So Julie, what do you think of my review so far?
Julie: What review? All you’ve done is mention the title and the cover.
Karlene: Yes, but it is a captivating cover, isn’t it? *holds up print copy of book*
Julie: Yes, Karlene. I love the cover. You did a great job on it. Thank you.
Karlene: You’re welcome.
Julie: But, what did you think of the story? You know, those white pages INSIDE the cover?
Karlene: Oh, those. Well, yes. Uhm. They were good…and…yes, that’s right. Good!
Julie: *shocked look* *mouth literally hanging open* Did you read it?
Karlene: Of course, I read it!
Julie: Then what is it about?
Karlene: Oh, well. Ummm… There is Claire, she’s the girl. And there are hostages. And then she meets… ***peeks at back cover*** …Rafe. A, uh, Navy SEAL. And they do lots of exciting stuff together. And rescue hostages. And, um, ***peeks at back cover again*** there’s a brother somewhere, in a bad place, and um, they kiss and live happily ever after. Claire and Rafe, that is. Not the brother.
And I think the cover really implies all of that, too. Don’t you?
Julie: You pulled that information straight off the back! You didn’t read my book! You’re just trying to fake it!
Karlene: No, I’m not. I really did read it. But I had to read it in bits and pieces because there was so much kissing and stuff. All that lovey-dovey mush made my teeth ache and I could only handle so much pain before I had to stop reading and just stare at the cover for awhile.
Julie: *sigh* We’ve been through this so many times, Karlene. There really isn’t all that much kissing in my books.
Karlene: Yes, there is. I counted.
Julie: You counted??
Karlene: Yes. There are exactly 63 kisses in there.
Julie: No, there aren’t!
Karlene: Yes, there are.
Julie: Are you sure you read the right book? I wrote it so I know. No way are there 63 kisses in there.
Karlene: Are too.
Julie: Are not.
Karlene: Are too!
Julie: Are not!
Karlene: Are too!! To infinity!
Julie: *eye roll* That makes no sense at all. Okay, if you think there are so many kisses in there, prove it.
Karlene: Well, there are 22 mentions of the word “kiss” and 41 mentions of the word “lips.”
Julie: What? Did you run a search of the ebook I sent you?
Karlene: Yes. And just a word about ebooks. They’re nice and all but the gorgeous covers just don’t get the attention they deserve. *strokes print book*
Julie: *double eye roll* Well, just because those words are used that many times in the book, it doesn’t mean they kissed that many times.
Karlene: Maybe not literally. But Jimmy Carter says that when he looked at women with lust, it was the same as committing adultery in his heart. So every time they thought about kissing or noticed each others’ lips, it was the same as kissing in their hearts. So there!
Julie: Give me back my book! *viciously snatches book from Karlene’s gentle and loving hands* I’m leaving!
Karlene: *near tears* But, I want to keep it! It’s got such a pretty cover!!
Julie: Then prove you really read it and I’ll give it back. What did you like about my book?
Karlene: Okay, umm. I liked Claire. She is fearless. I mean, at the very beginning, she goes up on the roof knowing there’s a bomb strapped to a crazy guy holding a hostage, but she goes up there anyway. And then she gets hit by a bullet—okay, it was just a graze, but still, BLOOD! And personally, I would have walked away at that point, I don’t care how cute the guy was, but she just keeps on going! She travels all the way around the world and faces down al-Queda to help Rafe rescue his brother.
Julie: Okay, so I guess you read some of it, at least. Go on.
Karlene: Well, Claire is a tough girl! Sort of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but you know, not as young, and she’s not fighting vampires, and she doesn’t have super powers or anything. But still, tough!
But Claire isn’t so tough that she denies her vulnerable side. (Again, like Buffy.) Claire can relate to other people who are in pain, like her teenage half-brother who is struggling with his place in life.
And she’s still dealing with her own grief at the death of her other brother.
And she’s even kind to her father who is sort of a jerk, in my opinion. And what kind of name is Skip anyway? It’s like that actor in Breaking Dawn named “Boo Boo.” In about 10 years, he is soooo going to regret that! But Skip is like, 50 or something. I bet he’s embarrassed every time he has to introduce himself.
Julie: What is your problem?! Skip is a perfectly fine name! It’s tough and cool and… oh, never mind! Go on.
Karlene: Well, I am sort of glad Claire and Rafe end up together. That’s one thing readers can count on with you is a happy ending. Okay, well, not COMPLETELY happy because bad things happen, there are bombs and shootings and people get tortured and some of them die. But the two love interests always end up together. Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Was that a spoiler?
Julie: No, that’s okay. I’m kind of proud of the fact that my books have a happy ending for most of the good guys. But…. *hesitates* … I’m still not quite sure I believe that you read the whole thing. You could have just randomly flipped pages and picked those few facts.
Karlene: I promise. I read the whole thing.
Julie: *hesitant look*
Karlene: *sheepish and thoroughly repentant look* I really do think All Fall Down is my favorite of all your books.
Julie: Fine. Whatever. Here. You can have it back.
Karlene: *lovingly strokes book* It really does have a lovely cover.
*I design book covers in my day job. I designed this one for Julie’s book.