Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
Published Date: July 2011
Softcover; 216 pages
Reviewed by: Shanda
FTC FYI: free review copy in exchange for an honest review
First line: “Kennedy Campbell was being pulled to the bottom of the Malacca Strait, the water around her suffocating her, stealing her air, making lights dance before her eyes as her body strained for the oxygen that wasn’t there.”
When I read that first line, I felt as if my lungs were straining for air as well. The rest of the first chapter, and much of the book, is just as intense.
Ribbon of Darkness tells the story of Ethan Barak, introduced in a previous book (Dangerous Connections, if I remember correctly), and Kennedy Campbell, a journalist known for courageous reporting. Ethan is MI-6 out for revenge; Kennedy just wants to help her new friends start a new life in Australia away from the refugee camps and return home herself.
Their paths cross at a rundown little bar in Indonesia where both are at the mercy of bad-guy terrorist, Xavier Sattar. Ethan wants in on whatever big plans Xavier has in the works; Kennedy wants out of Xavier’s custody, knowing the longer she remains the less likely it is that she will survive. She hopes Ethan will help her escape, but Ethan walks away, aware that anything he does to help her will lessen his chances of infiltrating Xavier’s organization.
That is the beginning of a page-turning international adventure that involves terrorists, hostages, the Malacca Strait, human-trafficking, bombs, and sacrifice. One thing I really appreciate about Julie’s writing is that she has strong female protagonists. I like it when the heroine isn’t afraid to put up a fight and do some damage to the bad guys.
Julie was also able to capture a lot of emotion with Kennedy. From Kennedy’s relationship with her mom, the concern for her new friends, and a new level of patriotism and duty, I experienced a full range of emotions along with her.
If you like action, suspense, and international intrigue, you will definitely enjoy Ribbon of Darkness.
Ribbon of Darkness played out like a movie in my mind as I read, making for some pretty intense action sequences, especially near the end. I give it 4 stars for suspense that kept me turning pages late into the night.