Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

Series: Firefighters #1
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Suspense
Pages: 416
Reviewer: Elizabeth
Rating: 4 Stars
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again--until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

Wow. This one is pretty dark. The storyline is methodical and intriguing.

Ms. Ward invites us into her new world of firefighters. They’re often our heroes but that comes at a great price to the men and women who serve. Survivor’s guilt is a bitch, mistakes on the job can be the difference between life or death and a messed up past or a dysfunctional family may have them running towards the flames.

A series of unfortunate events but not uncommon in J.R. Ward’s wheelhouse. Her characters are usually damaged and carrying around some serious baggage. While they do give everyone a certain je ne sais quoi, it would be nice to have some “normal” characters. However, the damaged character is often unpredictable, giving the story its mysterious and suspenseful aspects.

The beginning of the book is fast-paced and chilling. I was biting my nails and flipping pages as fast as I could. It’s thrilling and heartbreaking! Then we jump 10 months ahead where a slow and steady pace builds into an intricate and multi-faceted story. It is exciting, dangerous and dare I say sexy? Yes, I dare. The chemistry between Danny and Anne is all-consuming 😉 You can cut their sexual tension with a knife!

Anne is the lone female firefighter in an all-male firehouse. She’s tough-as-nails and can do the job just as good as any man. When an accident permanently sidelines her from the job she loves, she’s forced to forge a new path and forego all the dreams she once had. Anne is a strong heroine and I greatly admired her drive and her attitude, especially after her accident. She could have quit, even wanted to. But she never did.

Danny is a bad-boy firefighter that obviously has a death wish. He’s a maverick and often doesn’t follow orders. He’s also got a soft spot for Anne. After her accident, a lot of messed up and crazy things happened, pushing him closer to the edge he’s so recklessly been riding for years. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of his. Danny is a womanizing, big jerk that I couldn’t stand. It’s no offense to him, I’m not a fan of bad-boy heroes. It’s a quirk I have and nothing against the author.

The secondary characters were interesting. I felt there wasn’t an even development between all the characters. Some were more fleshed out that others. But that could be the author’s way of keeping some characters a mystery. Anne’s brother—Fire Chief Thomas Ashburn Jr.—has a secondary storyline where he’s fighting the bureaucracy and politics side of things. He’s in a battle with the very attractive mayor Catherine Mahoney. She’s seeking reelection and wants his support along with the firefighter’s union. Needless to say, the sparks fly as they battle to be number one alpha. I’m very curious to see if anything develops between these two!

Overall, it’s a pretty good read. There’s lots of first responders action, crazy sexual tension and a boatload of suspense.

I voluntarily read a copy of the book generously provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

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