FEVER (Phoenix Rising # 1) by Joan Swan
Trade Paperback, 342 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN 0758266383 (ISBN13: 9780758266385)
Genre: paranormal romance novel, romantic suspense
Rating: 5 stars plus
One of the most sensational debut novels of 2012, hot from the cover art to the last page. I have one word for you: UNPUTDOWNABLE. This genre is not usually my cup of tea (in addition to the suspense element, FEVER features also a paranormal twist), but in this case I found myself devouring this well executed novel page after page, totally absorbed by the riveting and well-paced storyline , by the compelling and fully nuanced characters, by the emotional depth and scorching romance.
During the explosion of a warehouse where experiments for the advancement of military warfare were secretly conducted, firefighter/paramedic Teague Creek and his team are exposed to some chemicals that will give him the power to control and manipulate heat. When Teague starts investigating the true nature of those chemicals and the reasons for his “mutation”, the government secret services set him up with false accusations of aggravated murder and lock him up in jail for life. Life in prison for a crime he never committed is too much to bear, especially when outside there is a five years old daughter he may never have the chance to hold in his arms again and a new and healing love he desperately needs.
Driven by sheer desperation (he would rather die than go back to jail and witness horrors and tortures), he breaks free during a medical check-up and kidnaps a young doctor (Alyssa Foster) with the intention to exchange his hostage with his daughter, flee the country and start a new life elsewhere. What initially seems to be a further complication (the kidnapping of the wrong doctor), turns out to be a blessing and the tool of his redemption.
Teague and Alyssa’s relationship is the thing that I loved the most about the book: their chemistry is so palpable, their emotional connection deep and immediate, their dialogues mesmerizing, their mutual need so heartwarming. There is great intensity in this book and an overall feeling of right proportions between action/suspense and romance, character development and sensuality.
As for the accusations made by some readers regarding the author’s indulgent use of vulgar language and racial slurs, please mind that it’s less extensive than some reviews may lead you to believe and it needs to be read only as part of the characterization of a particular character throughout a limited number of pages (compared to the length of the novel), certainly not such a defining aspect of the whole book. Realistically, I wouldn’t expect the secondary character in question to express himself in a different manner. The use of a certain language is true to the context and adds to the credibility and consistency of the character.
For me it was a 5 stars plus reading and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I will definitely put my ends on BLAZE, the second installment in the Phoenix Rising series, as soon as it will be released (expected in September 2012).