Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog by Ronie Kendig

Beowulf—a hulky, brindle-coated bullmastiff—is the only “boy” for Timbrel Hogan. And she has a history to remind her why. But when Timbrel, a handler at A Breed Apart, embarks on a mission to detect WMDs in Afghanistan, she reunites with Tony “Candyman” VanAllen and her no-other-man philosophy is challenged. While tension mounts between Timbrel and Tony, the team comes under fire after Beowulf gets a “hit.” When tragedy threatens Tony’s career and Timbrel’s courage, they must maneuver through an intricate plot and a mission like no other. . . .

A Breed Apart Series
Book 1 - Trinity
Book 2 - Talon

My review:
  Ronie Kendig came on the Christian fiction scene in 2009 with her first book, Dead Reckoning. The book was right up my alley, suspense with a lot of intrigue, and I knew she was an author to keep up with. In 2010, she came out with the first book in her Discarded Heroes Series, and switched genre's to write what she seems to have been born to write: Military fiction. It didn't take many books for her to become one of my favorite authors, and I count down the months until her next release. And she keeps getting better.

  The Discarded Heroes Series was awesome, but A Breed Apart Series, her series about military war dogs, which ends with this book, has even been better, if possible.

  With each book in the series, I have learned more about military war dogs and their use, something I didn't know anything about before reading these books. The suspense has gotten better, the drama and action more intense, and the dogs have gotten uglier..... ;-)

  Beowulf focuses on a bull mastiff that is an explosive detection dog, and on her handler, Timbrel. The other main character is Tony, aka Candyman, who has been chasing Timbrel in all of the books. I loved all three books in this series, but this was the best one. It was full of suspense, romantic tension, drama, and a few surprises.

  Ronie recently wrote a great article on authors making their male characters actual men, and it is something she excels at, and perhaps no better than in this book. In Tony, she has created the ideal soldier and the kind of man anyone could aspire to be like. He has his share of problems, and I was at first taken aback and disappointed in what happened to him, yet through a fictional character, Ronie shows what we can come through with God's help.

  This was a book that I couldn't put down and read through in one setting, often re-reading certain passages. This is more than a book that entertains and keeps you on the edge of your seat. This is a great tribute to our military, and to the military war dogs, who thanks to this series, I know a lot more about.

 I've never been in the military, but this book seems to be a very realistic look at what goes on behind the scenes of special ops, and is a roller coaster ride through events in Afghanistan and here on our own soil. I enjoyed every page of the book, and though sad to see the series end, am thankful there are books like these out there to read. Books that are far above the average Christian fiction novel. A book that is definitely worth reading.

 I've said it before about Ronie's books, but will say it again: Even though these are military/special ops novels that any guy should enjoy, most women will enjoy them also.

About the author:

An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.

 It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.

Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.

Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
    • 2012 Christy Award Winner – Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance)
    • 2012 Carol Award Finalist – Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense)
    • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)
    • RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)
    • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
    • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
    • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
    • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)
Beowulf is available from Barbour Publishing.
Thanks to Ronie for  the review copy.

Book trailer: