- Title: All Fall Down
- Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 20, 2012)
- Genre: Mystery/Suspense
- ISBN-10: 1479264857
- ISBN-13: 978-1479264858
- FTC FYI: I was given a review e-copy of All Fall Down
- in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 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?
My first thought as I reviewed this book is that there was no time to breath. The storyline starts with a huge action scene, and then goes to the next big scene.Then something more exciting happens. Here is how the book starts. This is the beginning of chapter one...
Something was wrong. Rafe could feel it. He’d opened the door to the building that housed his family’s business, but hesitated before going in. The hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up. With a cursory glance into the lobby of the building, he couldn’t see anything wrong. Chalking it up to being in Afghanistan too long, where he relied on his senses to stay alive, Rafe went in, tugging on his collar. Maybe that was it. He was reacting to the civilian uniform of a shirt and tie when he’d rather be in his Navy SEAL gear. It’s not like I could have shown up in desert cammies and boots, he thought. But it might have been worth it to see the look on his brother’s face if he’d walked into the meeting dressed like that. Vince was always a little obsessive about appearances.
Glancing up at the second floor landing where people could enjoy the atrium, Rafe swept the area for anything out of the ordinary and saw a man intently watching him. Stepping forward to get a closer look, the man noticed his interest and turned, disappearing. Rafe went to the elevators, all of his senses on alert now. Should I go to the second floor? Am I over-reacting?
With a grimace, he tried to loosen his tie, just a little. It felt harder to think when he was buttoned down with a tie, but as he quickly mulled it over, he decided it was an over-reaction. Some guy watching him didn’t mean anything was wrong. It could simply be his subconscious urging him not to go in because he'd been battling himself all morning about coming. Ever since Vince had been made acting-president, he’d been making demands on everyone and Rafe planned to say no to anything Vince asked him. Their father would be on his feet soon and Rafe would be back in the field as soon as his knee healed. There was no point in starting anything with Dad’s business. Rafe wasn’t planning on being here longer than he had to be. He pulled on his tie again, definitely regretting the choice of attire.
He took a deep breath and ran an impatient hand through his longer-than-normal hair. The air was humid, and from the looks of the pewter gray sky on his way in, Rafe knew they’d have rain before the afternoon was out. And rain will make my knee ache, he thought with an inward groan.
Realizing how much his injury had taken over his thoughts, his actions¾his life¾he made a promise not to dwell on it any more today. Men wearing shirts and ties just like him strode through the lobby, getting to their jobs where they belonged. Will that ever be me? Could I be happy working inside all day? With how ugly the last mission in Afghanistan had been and how slow his knee was healing, he knew he might have to think about that in the near future. But not today.
He got into the elevator, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling again. Stop it. Nothing is wrong. He looked around the elevator, just to reassure himself. Two men in suits and a woman in the corner, watching him. Nothing dangerous. Rafe gave her a smile and turned back around. Everything is fine. I’m going to meet my baby brother and get the you-could-help-me-around-here routine. I’m going to say no. Then I’m going to visit Gary. There’s nothing to worry about.
Can you see why you get hooked right from the very first lines? "Something was wrong. Rafe could feel it." Brilliant!
Once again Julie has written characters that you like and care about right from the beginning. This doesn't mean that her characters are without flaws, but she gives many reasons to care about them. Rafe and Claire have real chemistry from the start. With everything that is happening in the story, kidnappings, terrorist activity etc. there is no time for courtship found in a typical romance, but they still manage to start caring about each other deeply.
With everything happening in the world today, this story hits so close to home. It is very chilling to read, especially as they head to Afghanistan on a rescue operation. This is one thing I always love about Julie's stories, she does great research and writes about current events. Her books are always romantic/suspense at it's best! The action at the end will leave you holding your breath. Just when you think everything is OK...it really isn't!
All Fall Down is packed with fast-paced action, tense moments that will raise your blood pressure, and a little bit of sweet romance. You won't be disappointed in this new novel from Julie Coulter Bellon!
Author Interview With Julie Coulter Bellon:
I was very happy that Julie made the time for an interview with me. She gave some great insight into why she wrote All Fall Down.
Why did you write All Fall Down?
I was watching the Discovery Channel one night and it was on SEAL Team Six and what they went through to penetrate the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden had been hiding. They talked about the computers they confiscated and how those files were turned over to the Department of Defense for decrypting. My mind started turning because my husband used to work for a computer forensics company and I thought, what if the DoD couldn’t decrypt one of those files that would have important information on it. And what if they gave it to a civilian company and al-Qaeda got wind of it? And the story went from there.
How long did it take you to write it?
Well, this book went through two major rewrites so it took me almost a year to write it. (And I had a small baby and a toddler to take care of so my writing time was very limited.)
What book are you writing next?
I have had such a hard time with this. I have a story idea for Colby (a character in All Fall Down) that I’m dying to write, but I’ve been working on the sequel to Ribbon of Darkness. It’s such a hard choice and I don’t know if I can do two book at one time!
Do you write every day?
No. I have to be really flexible with my writing time because I have a large family of eight children that includes a one year old and a four year old. I sketch out a lot of scenes in my head while we play in the sandbox, and I carry a notebook around with me in the car for when I’m doing carpool or waiting for dance class or whatever. When I finally get to the computer, I can get right into it because of the prep work I’ve done in my head and in my notebook.
Thanks for the interview, Sheila. I enjoyed talking with you!
I want to put my vote in for her to write the sequel to Ribbon of Darkness! Thanks so much for the interview Julie!
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