Life Flight (Extreme Measures #1) by Lynette Eason
Publication Date: January 4th, 2022
EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient--and a serial killer on the loose--tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield's help. But she's not out of the woods yet.
In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.
Thank you Revell and NetGalley for giving me access to an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not one to normally read an action-based contemporary book but there was something about this synopsis that intrigued me. I was also not deterred by the classification of ‘Christian Fiction’ because I have a read a few in the past (from Revell and Bethany House) and have not found them to be as ‘preachy’ as I first expect. Life Flight provides interesting characters (regardless of religious background) and a plot that had me needing to finish this book in 1 sitting.
I loved how we start this book right in the middle of some action. Penny and her crew are in the air in the middle of a storm and Penny needs to make an emergency landing in an area, she will soon find out, where a known serial killer has hidden. This was a great way to set the pace for the remainder of the book because it really didn’t seem to slow down.
We also get to see this story from the POVs of Penny and Holt and I always love a dual POV, especially when there is some history and romantic possibilities. Which brings me to aspect I found unique: Holt and Penny have met previous to the start of this series and already have a fledgling relationship. This was the perfect way to establish these characters while not slowing down the plot.
I really liked both of their characters. They felt well-established and their histories were unfolded in a way that made me interested to keep learning more. Penny is also one of those leading ladies who is extremely capable. She makes smart (if a little risky) decisions and she is calculating in how she handles a situation. Holt has a quiet strength to him that he can certainly back up physically but I appreciated how he didn’t always force himself into an overbearing hero status. He trusts Penny to be able to handle herself and that puts him high in my books.
My nitpick about their characters and general relationship though is that there’s some hypocrisy and secret keeping. I’m not a fan of the secrets trope anyway but I am glad that Holt reflects on how he is a hypocrite so at least he is aware and feels some guilt. The secrets in question are also extremely personal and I wouldn’t expect them to be shared with someone else unless you know you are 100% comfortable in doing so. I really don’t blame either of them for keeping this personal information to themselves if they didn’t feel ready.
There were some moments, however, that seemed a little forced but I guess they were added for the ‘intrigue’ or just to keep the story moving. Like when Holt discovers that the serial killer has escaped, he simply says that he doesn’t really care about the ‘how’ because that was someone else’s job. I still can’t decide if that was done to keep the plot moving or because it would be too much to get into the legalese of the matter. Or how there is a part of Penny’s life that she mentions with such a throwaway line within the first chapter that felt like a forced way of telling the reader to file this information away for later. But the payoff didn’t really happen since it appears that multiple people in the story have the same background. I found this back story to be a little too convenient as a way to tie her group of friends together and not all that believable. Just seemed a little too ‘small world’ for me.
In the same vein, even though I know this is considered ‘Christian Fiction’ and we expect religion to be mentioned at the very least, I found it hard to believe that so many similarly religiously minded people found each other. It is sweet to read but I guess this says more about me than the book itself. I just know that I was raised Catholic and we are a dime a dozen but I’ve never met a young person speaks as Penny and Holt do about their Faith so I found myself having to suspend disbelief that these two found each other by chance. I still think it was done well and I appreciated how religion was not a piece of contention in this book. It is just inherently part of these characters. Simple comments made by them showed their beliefs but never felt forced.
I would say that my last nitpick is that some of the conflict plot points were a bit repetitive and almost felt like they couldn’t decide which main climax they wanted so they chose all of them haha. I would have much rather had this be the start of a series that deals with this serial killer and each of the conflicts being the overarching plot that ties all the books together. That way each conflict/climax had it’s own book and story surrounding it instead of seeing a bad guy around every corner the way we do in this book.
I also think that is my way of saying that, selfishly, I want this series to be all about Penny and Holt. I have a feeling that each following book will be about another person in the friend group but I am so invested in these 2 characters that I don’t think I will be satisfied with just getting glimpses of them in future books haha.
Overall I am very happy to have read this one and am interested in continuing with the series and possibly looking into Eason’s backlist titles.