Calm Before the Storm by Ryan Mullaney
A week at the beach is just what Samantha needs. To relax with friends, forget what happened. Get her life back on track.
A stop to seek shelter from a passing storm changes everything. Her friends taken into the house at gunpoint, Samantha is left hurt, scared, and alone. As the only hope for getting her friends out alive, Samantha must do something, and do it soon. The storm is only getting worse...
Review by Brittany:
This book reads like a movie. Mullaney begins by throwing the reader into the action, dropping you right into what's going on after the group has ended up at the house that changes everything. The action in this book is nonstop, and the suspense is at a high the entire time, much like with a thriller film.
The story is written almost in two different points of view - one from Samantha and one from everyone else. While the entire novel is actually in third person, Samantha's chapters have a stream of consciousness to them, detailing her thought processes as she tries to help her friends. The other chapters give more of a play-by-play of what's going on with the other characters. This slight shift in writing style helps the reader fall into whichever character the focus is on, without the style change affecting the overall quality of the read.
The author also created a pretty scary villain for this book - Michael. He's just a man who has been pushed too far and reaches that break in humanity that everyone is capable of reaching. Mullaney did a great job of giving characterization to someone who is seen only as the villain from the beginning. I have a bit of a soft spot for writers who can give the "bad guy" some justification, and Mullaney gives that in this book. He also did a great job of detailing relationships and giving the group of friends individual characteristics and lives, without having to break away from the current action.
If you're looking for a suspenseful book that's quick paced, this is a definite winner. I'm excited to see what else this author comes up with.
Everyone acted out of anger once in their life. Doesn't matter how saintly you are. Everyone has snapped at a moment of stress, done something they cannot undo, said words that can't be unsaid, had one of those human moments we all seem to have in spite of our best efforts.
...the good feelings when people are together and every minute of the day is filled with joy and life has you convinced, just for a moment, that maybe this will last forever.