Radclyffe’s “First Responder” series is turning out to be an excellent and powerful departure from her more traditional romances. Thoroughly enjoying the exploration of powerful women in difficult roles.
Oath of Honour, Firestorm, Trauma Alert and Radclyffe’s latest, Taking Fire, form the First Responders series to date. This is by far the grittiest of Rad’s output. There is a tension and suspense we don’t get from the romances, however much we love them. The characters are full of strength and stubborn determination. Strong women in traditionally male jobs, role models, setting a standard as doctors, fire fighters and soldiers that any young woman would be proud to follow.
The charters of Max and Rachel draw us in. They are both powerful women who have chosen difficult and dangerous careers. They are stubborn, strong, loners in a crowd. They never ask for help, even when they need it. And they both fear failure more than anything. Powerful but flawed, they are extremely three dimensional. At times so alike, it is their very independent strength which balances them. Radclyffe often writes books based around the strong/weak, rich/poor dynamic where one character ‘rescues’ the other. Here, while the Max is the warrior and it is literally her job to rescue Rachel, the pair become mutually self-reliant and that allows a much more rounded interaction.
The plot is tense and interesting. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, just when you think the main adventure is over you notice you are only half way through, and another set of challenges pops up to keep the suspense moving. The setting is well done, the descriptions evocative and the heat of the jungle oozes off the page, along with the fear and resolve these women exude.
I have been critical in the past of Radclyffe producing too many repeats. This is an excellent change of pace, a well written and compelling read that puts her right back at the top of her game. It captured my attention from the start and kept it. Well done.
(publisher review copy received)