Summary: Santa Barbara attorney Evan Delaney is gutsy and tough, but she has a tender side, too. She dotes on her nephew, Luke, who’s staying with her while his fighter-pilot father, Brian, is deployed overseas. (Brian, who’s stationed at the Mojave Desert naval weapons-testing center, China Lake, has been divorced from Luke’s mother, Tabitha, for years.) Evan’s peaceful cohabitation with Luke is thrown into chaos when Tabitha returns to town under the spell of the Remnant, a fundamentalist sect arming itself for the apocalypse with artillery and biological weapons. Tabitha wants Luke back—no questions asked. Brian comes home, and when the sect’s eerie leader is found dead in Brian’s backyard, the career military man is thrown in jail with little hope of release. Evan and her boyfriend, Jesse, come to Brian’s defense, prompting a flood of memories for Evan, who grew up in China Lake. ~amazon.com
Review: The thing about the List Swap Challenge is that I get to read great novels chosen for me by Julie. China Lake is a great one too. From the very first page, Ms. Gardiner threw me right into the story.
I enjoyed the characters. I liked Evan a lot. She was the kind of person I would like to be friends with. Down to earth, witty, a bit of a smart ass but a heart of gold. She was stubborn and willful. Thankfully that tenacity paid off. She was the ultimate hero. Jesse, Evan's boyfriend, was a bit annoying at times. I'm not a fan of characters who are omnipotent, overly opinionated and sanctimonious. At times Jesse was the poster boy. Brian, Evan's brother, was a bit like Jesse. He carried himself in a way that showed he was in-charge and the authority on all. Truthfully, I thought he was a jerk. The string of villains Ms. Gardiner brought to the table were fantastic. All equally creepy and delusional. I particularly liked Glory who with time I thought could have been a great ally to Evan. And with Evan's guidance, a strong resourceful woman. And then there is Luke. I liked Luke a lot. He was well spoken, smart, an old soul. I hated seeing all the trauma he had to go through. Thankfully Aunt Evan was there to protect him.
What frightens me about this novel is how real it can be. How there are Christian zealous groups out there who can wreck havoc on the world in the name of Jesus. I think Ms. Gardiner wrote this novel in such a way that I experienced that terror myself. While I was reading this novel, I actually went on the Internet, searching for these kinds of groups to see how safe we are as a nation from them.
This novel was chocked full of surprises. With every page there was a new surprise. Every corner led to more mystery, more thrills. I had no idea where she was going or how we would get there. It was a suspenseful journey, one that left me breathless in the end. One that had me wanting more adventures with Evan.
Final Take: 4/5