Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas -- Pamela Clare
Listed as I-Team #7.5 (novella)
**This novella includes a short crossover with Kaylea Cross' Hostage Rescue Team series, although, as I found out, there is no need to have read the HRT books beforehand.
**However, I would still recommend having read all the other I-Team installments before reading this particular novella.
Thoughts before reading (at 0400, the morning of the book's announced release)
I'm thinking I'd like to be able to at least read the first of Kaylea Cross's HRT books to get an idea what the characters are like before I read this novella... but that's really just the anal retentiveness in me talking. Chances are, I will have this book bought and read before the day is over.
Thoughts after finishing the novella
Well, I didn't think I'd be able to last very long without getting my hands on Pamela Clare's newest I-Team story. And then when I did go ahead and purchase the Kindle book, it was downhill from there--although I DID try to convince myself that I was just skimming the beginning to see what I had to look forward to. I also tried to tell myself I was just trying to figure out how many pages this novella is supposed to be (which is true)--the answer being: I don't know because it does not state anywhere at all.
And thus, my anal retentive book listing data sheets will have a very rough guesstimate that this book is somewhere around 200 to 250 pages. Reading-wise, that's what it felt like; Kindle book location-wise, the rough calculation seems legit.
This latest I-Team book was quite delightful, and long time fans of Pamela's I-Team series will love and enjoy it. As per a Pamela Clare work, this isn't just a simple short story about all our beloved I-Team characters coming together for a tacky Christmas couple curtain call with family and extended family and kids included. There is romance, but there's also suspense with a fairly exciting, yet standard, crime thriller attached to it--an intense terrorist takeover and hostage situation to drive the story line.
And maybe I had also gotten a slight Die Hard vibe from this book as well, what with the hostage situation and the terrorist attack and the lone hero secretly wandering around the building trying to figure out how to save the day. Which brings us to the whole Kaylea Cross Hostage Rescue Team crossover deal; which then brings me to being a little relieved that you DON'T need to read Kaylea Cross's series to read this novella. I admit: I went and familiarized myself with some names from the HRT book summary blurbs before reading Dead by Midnight. But the team comes into the novella, they do their thing, you can sense that there's some background with these guys, but nothing is overly confusing.
I didn't think I'd be able to wait until I'd finished all six currently published HRT books before diving into this series' latest installment.
All-in-all, it was a good crossover for someone who isn't familiar with the Hostage Rescue Team series. I wonder, though, if readers who are familiar with HRT would have wanted a little bit more though.
Much like her usual work, there is well-written suspense and romance, great pacing and characterizations, and schmaltzy dialogue and monologues every so often (except the schmaltz was actually dialed down a little bit in this novella, much like it had been for the latest I-Team book, Seduction Game). In other words, Pamela Clare once again proves to me why she has become one of my auto-buy guilty pleasures. I still love the characters, I still love the brotherly bantering between the men and the emotional support between the women. These I-Team women weren't created as fighting machines, so I can't really lament the fact that none of them go into battle mode.
Which is why I love that Holly's presence is pretty hefty in this novella. Because, could Holly Andriss nee Bradshaw get any more awesome than she already is? Honestly, I'm still in love with the fact that we finally have a warrior woman in this series. Again, I'm not saying that the other girls aren't strong--because they are all strong in their own way. I had just been looking forward to someone more badass and completely latched onto Holly when it got presented in her book.
Anyway, Dead by Midnight is highly enjoyable, exciting read for fans of the I-Team series. My excited hype over it for the past month was NOT wasted.