Fatal Strike

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

Following a string of recent and prominent murders using snake venom that has the calling card of a local gang infiltration, a team of FBI agents, led by a highly trained sniper duo, descend on Galveston to deescalate the threat and bring justice to the victims. Tensely woven from the opening sequence, the story was incredibly fast-paced and set a desperate tone to find the answers to what has set a community on edge. 

"Her faith will be her strength or weakness."

As Jon and Leah set out to seek the truth behind these horrible crimes, their detective work picks up the pace and so too does the mutual attraction felt between them. Despite their tough exteriors, both are fragile individuals, yet it is through their weaknesses that their strengths can shine. Each carries quite a bit of baggage, making them reluctant to get too close, yet as the circumstances unfold it becomes harder and harder to deny the feelings developing between them. I appreciate the light romance aspects of the story that take backstage to the importance of professionalism. Additionally, I am such a fan of how the author is able to balance the very real human characteristics of grit and grace in such a gentle and admirable way. Leah's job as a sniper doesn't make her any less feminine than her best friend who has a house full of children. Jon's questioning of faith doesn't make him a hypocrite. The author is able to masterfully showcase both spiritual and social messages throughout the story while also using them to make connections to the plot.

"People aren't perfect. Just because they have faith doesn't mean they don't make mistakes."

I love that these characters are so well developed and relatable. From the criminals committing the crimes to the high ranking officials within law enforcement seeking justice, everyone has something to hide. These secrets not only draw out the investigation, but also make it quite difficult to know who to actually trust! And as with any good mystery, you'll be led astray by the fantastically placed red herrings a few times along the way before the shocking truth is discovered. 

This suspenseful crime drama is action-packed with very little down time! Even the dialogue is short, sweet, and to the point! Insightful storytelling makes this an entertaining and engaging read that should not be missed! I can't wait for the next one!
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“Jon scooted back the chair and walked outside onto the front porch. He shoved his hands into his jean pockets and looked up at the millions of stars. Somebody designed the universe and put them into place, a Being much smarter than Jon.”

Fatal Strike is a wildfire book that kept my interest piqued from chapter to chapter. Solving murders in real life is hard enough, solving murders in Fatal Strike was even more challenging.

Mills crafted a well-plotted story around the murder of three prominent Galveston, Texas residents.  Where does the story lead? Oh, my!

Leah and Jon, snipers who choose to protect lives when no one else can, are assigned to investigate the murder of a Galveston Judge. What entails from the very first chapter unfolds visually, almost like a movie.

I love and have visited Galveston many times. Mills inserted authentic touches of the town making the story more easily envisioned. Even though there is a whole slew of characters, Mills’s writing is genius in that you remember who is who throughout the book.

Naturally, as a reader, I made a lot of guesses about where the plot was going. That is another talent Mills has – your guesses are likely going to be wrong. That is where the cleverness of Fatal Strike lies. It will keep you guessing until the near end.

God and romance play a part in this book but are toned down enough that it makes you appreciate the book’s main characters and maybe, just maybe will give you pause to reflect on your own beliefs.  Backgrounds on the main characters are just ample enough to not bog down the story. The added touch of Leah’s dad showing up in the story was heartwarming.

Gotta love the Epilogue and how it pulls and concludes the story exceptionally well.

I highly recommend Fatal Strike if you love a story that reacts like wildfire around murders and investigations, and is sprinkled with a hint of romance. Just a hint. You will not be disappointed.
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Fatal Strike is a 400-page rollercoaster ride!  It started off rather slow - with just a few twists and turns.  As it turned out, the slow start was necessary so DiAnn Mills could get all her puzzle pieces on the table.

Although it took the first two-thirds of the story to “set the scene” for the climax, the last third was so thrilling that I read it in one sitting.

**The Cast of Fatal Strike**

There were quite a few characters in this story.  If there were any more, it would have been challenging (to me) to keep them all straight.  However, I don’t hold that against the author.

One of the things I really loved about this story was the way some characters switched from good guy to bad guy.  It really kept me on my toes.  Throughout the story, whenever a new tidbit of information was revealed about one of the characters, I processed it very carefully, always putting it into the perspective of the story.  It was fun, but it turned out that I was wrong about several of the characters.  That’s good suspense fiction!

The two main characters - co-protagonists - were both FBI agents.  They also doubled as snipers for the bureau.  However, they both kept secrets from the rest of the world.  Each had compelling backstories, but each also had a distinct fear that they would have to grapple with at some point during the story.

The author kept the identify of the real antagonist(s) a secret until the climax.  That didn’t bother me because the protagonists were right there with me.  However, the “deeds” of the antagonist(s) were discovered throughout the story.

**Technically Speaking**

This was a very well edited novel.  SPAG issues were pretty much nonexistent.  Although, there was one word that I had never heard of before.  I knew what the word meant, but I could not find that same word in any dictionary.  At some point I’ll likely shoot off an email to the author to see where she found it.

As I mentioned before, the early pacing seemed rather slow.  However, it slowly began to pick up,  and when it started the build to the climax, there were no brakes!  The rollercoaster was on the downhill, and there was no stopping it until it hit the bottom.  I found it very exciting!

The story contained two subplots.  One was the relationship between the main characters, and the other was faith (in God).  If I have any criticism of this excellent novel, it would be that these subplots did not seem (to me) to be woven into the story as well as they should have.  That is an utterly personal opinion, and it should not have any bearing on your decision to read this story.  

I highly recommend this story!
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I am not even sure where to begin with my thoughts on this book!  I haven't read one of DiAnn's books in a while and I'm not sure why.  Her books are gripping, remind us of faith, family, and ties in a multitude of issues that we see in the world today.

Leah and Jon have a hard job, or at least one that I wouldn't want to perform, they are snipers for the FBI.  It is an important job but I wonder how someone can put aside the fact that they will most likely kill someone in the line of duty?  Granted anyone that is killed is usually a criminal, but it must weigh heavily on their hearts, or I would think that it might.  Despite their jobs and their alpha personalities, there is something between them that sparks further investigation to see if it might be more than just friendship.

There were so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed.  The characters were fleshed out and sometimes complex, the Christian part struck the perfect balance to the fast-paced action, there is a priest that struggles with his faith and doing what is right for society, and even a bit of potential romance for Leah and Jon.  All of the characters felt real with their own issues and how they dealt with those issues.  A big one for Leah is her fear of snakes and this book has them "thrown" at her from multiple directions.  I admired her strength despite it all especially in working to overcome that fear.  I felt like Jon was supportive of her and understood that sometimes there are things we are afraid to address in this life.

The main story centers around the deaths of three prominent citizens in Galveston, a gang, and a drug crisis.  The stories are interwoven neatly without giving away too many details to keep the reader in suspense.  I have to admit I did figure out part of the story only because looking at all of the characters, this was the only one that didn't feel right.  There were many more involved in the end and I had a flurry of different emotions for the various characters.  Happy to see some get their just rewards, and sad that others had to endure the situations in which they were placed.

Leah and Jon both had unresolved issues when it came to family or close friends and their journey to closure rounded out the story.  The only thing I didn't figure out was Leah's heritage.  She mentions an ancestor that escaped slavery and there is a brief description of Leah, but that is about all is said in the story.  It didn't really matter in the end, was just something I questioned.

Overall I really enjoyed this story and give it 5 paws up.
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Mills is a master story teller of suspense and mystery. This book ropes you in from the very first chapter….. FBI snipers Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are brought together when their regular partners are unable to work the immediate case of rescuing women and children from a hostage situation. Both of them are excellent marksmen. Then they are subjected with solving some gruesome murders taking place in Galveston.  The victims are not shot nor strangled, no marks found on the bodies. Autopsy shows the victims are being injected with rattlesnake venom. The  only witness they have, identified a young man, seen near the latest body found on the church steps. This young man is missing.  What does he know? Did he killed the man? What does the priest of the church know and is he hiding something or someone?  …..Mills definitely has a winner in Fatal Strike. There are so many new developments as the mystery unfolds that will keep you guessing “who dunnit?”  More murders taking place and they seem to be gang related, but are they?  The connections that were drawn between all the characters are interesting  and intriguing.  The main characters are intelligent and unrelenting in their quest to unravel this mystery……. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
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In Fatal Strike, Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert were initially teamed up to use their sniper skills in order to deescalate a threat. Their pairing was the first time they had come together and it was only out of desperation that it even took place because both of their partners were unavailable. Neither one of them were sure if they could work well together but they soon realized that they were compatible, one sniper to another. On the heels of that one situation they were called in to investigate a killing that had the calling card of a gang that was slowly infiltrating the area, the Veneno gang.

Despite their hesitation about working with a new partner, Leah and Jon had to hit the ground running as they were thrust headlong into a case that would take all of their investigative powers. Not only were they pushed to the max in this investigation but they both would have to face the pasts that they have been running from for far too long. With one suspect on the run, assassination attempts, well-meaning but interfering loved ones, and unreliable witnesses that were giving only half truths, Leah and Jon were going to have to be on the top of their game in order to drill their way to the absolute truth of who was behind the killing spree taking place in Galveston, TX.

There is a religious element in Fatal Strike as much of the plot revolves around the characters faith and a connection to a certain church. Both Leah and Jon struggle with their pasts and their questioning faith is expressed along with their uncertainties about forgiveness. The plot was tight and the connections that were drawn between all the characters were intriguing. There were many twists and turns to follow and there was very little down time as the action kept Leah and Jon hopping. The relationship that developed between Leah and Jon was fun but serious at the same time. They had to get to know each other in the toughest of circumstances, even with an attraction smoldering between them. Overall, Fatal Strike was a suspenseful crime drama that packs a powerful punch on many levels!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
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DiAnn never ceases to come through for her readers with action, intrigue and a touch of romance.  Thank you for allowing me to be captured into another world while reading your books.
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DiAnn Mills was one of the first suspense authors I read as a teenager, when I was developing my love of reading. I’ve always enjoyed her books, and her newest book, Fatal Strike, is no exception. First of all, I love the cover! The colors and the silhouette are striking, and the design is clean and modern. Not to judge a book by its cover, but this cover definitely drew me in!

The story starts off with a bang when two FBI snipers, Leah and Jon, are called into a hostage situation, then paired together to investigate a string of murders. The story is full of action and takes so many twists and turns I never saw coming! It’s definitely more plot-driven than character-driven; there is some romance that develops between Leah and Jon, but it takes a backseat to the suspense. One of my favorite characters turned out to be Silvia, the mother of the suspect Leah and Jon are searching for throughout the book. Parts of the story were told from her perspective, which I thought was an interesting twist. This book grabbed me from the first page and kept me hooked until the end! If you are a fan of the suspense genre, you don’t want to miss this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Mills has crafted another good FBI investigation novel with scenes of suspense throughout. The plot is a bit complex with a number of people involved and the relationships between them quite entangled. There was a focus on the budding romance between the FBI agents Jon and Leah as they worked a case together. It seemed to move fast and I would have liked some obstacles to the romance having to be overcome along the way.

The aspect of the novel I liked most was a side issue. Both FBI agents had personal fears they had to overcome. Both were forced into separate situations where they had to fight the fear in a dramatic way. I also liked that Leah had to face her alienation from her family. 

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy lots of FBI agent action, a good dose of romance and the subtle message of needing a relationship with God. 

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an honest and independent review.
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A book that is not for the faint of heart, with FBI snipers on the scene, and evil lurking, there is never a dull moment here.
This story begins with action and ends on the same note, and in between you won’t know whom to trust, and even when you think you know a person, be careful!
We get close and personal with agents Leah and Jon, and actually learn what makes then tick, and their weak spots, and how they work to take down those responsible for wicked deeds, but can they face the hurtle God is showing them?
A read that kept me page turning right to the end, and actually wanting more!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Tyndale, and was not required to give a positive review.
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DiAnn Mills' books have been hit or miss for me, and there's only been one or two I've really liked. But her newest release, Fatal Strike, is a fascinating and page-turning suspense novel with fabulous characters and a touch of romance. Five stars from me!

Honestly, the romance aspect may have been one of my favorite parts of this book. Both characters acted like the adults and professionals they were and, instead of acting like hormonal teenagers, they communicated (!!!) and didn't let their feelings for each other get in the way of their job or other relationships. Well done, Mills! I also really appreciated how instead of finding a significant other and their problems magically melting away, the characters found themselves having to confront their issues and pasts and in that process drew the other to God. 

The plot was full of suspense and plot twists and I was left guessing at every turn! The story felt like a unique twist on your typical suspense novel, which was a breath of fresh air. Both our main characters are very realistic humans that I found easy to relate to. The faith themes, as I briefly mentioned, were woven throughout the story and weren't too backseat, while also not being too prominent and "in your face."

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this romantic suspense novel and look forward to reading what Mills writes next! I highly recommend checking this one out if you love suspense, realistic characters, and a bit of romance. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
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Wow!  Another great action/suspense novel by DiAnn Mills!  In Fatal Strike, FBI Agents Leah & Jon team together to solve a mystery in Galveston, TX.  The story is intense, believable, and keeps you guessing until the end.  Great novel!
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Fatal Strike struck me hard with its swift pace, tight writing, and a plot which had FBI agents, snipers, opioid, murder using rattlesnake venom. That really rattled me while reading.

Leah and Jon were the agents in question who were investigating the murder of law enforcement officials using snake venom. The story led to many troughs and plateaus before the end was revealed.

My first book by DiAnn Mills, I have to admit the author did not allow me to breathe while reading. Every scene in the book happened for a reason. Jon and Leah were great agents who painstakingly took every piece of evidence and looked at it thoroughly. I loved the fact that they were not brash or rude who used their badge to intimidate witnesses. I found them to be quite empathetic. That pulled me into the story.

The plot line was known and I could guess at the string-puller. But the twists and connections between the victims and their families brought a sparkle to the book. The author's style of writing made it easy to keep reading.

Romance between the main characters was okay, I didn't really feel that intense hint of desire between them. But I suppose working in close quarters and finding humor and support in your partner does lead to love and relationship.

Overall, this book had all the things would make it a fun romantic suspense. I think I liked my breakfast read, wouldn't you say?
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I enjoyed many things about this book and had one small issue with it too. It was interesting seeing two snipers paired up together who didn’t know each other.  After the initial scene, not much was made of the fact that they were snipers.  I would have liked that aspect to be used more.  Still I appreciated the candid way they talked about how they were doing working together. Jon and Leah both have baggage but as they continue to encounter Father Gabriel and other people of faith, they see how faith changes the way you look at life and your circumstances.

I appreciated Silvia’s faith in hard, uncertain times. “What I’m saying is I can’t take another breath without God.  And I’m going to cling to Him even when I don’t understand why bad things happen. Because I believe good can come out of bad things.  I may not see the good right away, but I trust God for it” (location 3847).

My only issue was that there were so many characters it was hard to keep them all straight.  A character list at the beginning of the book would be helpful. Of course, that might take away some of the mystery in trying to figure out who is on which side of things.  People aren’t always what they seem to be and figuring out the connections was a big part of solving this case.

All in all, it was a complex, mystery that covered a lot of ground from gang activity, rattlesnake handling, to smuggling and more.  I would recommend it.

Thank you to Tyndale House for providing me with a complimentary e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.
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FBI snipers Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are tasked with solving gruesome murders taking place in Galveston. Victims are being injected with rattlesnake venom. The prime suspect is a young man,  seen near the latest body found on the church steps, who is missing. A local gang is claiming responsibility. Leah and Jon have a history together, and in order to solve the case, they'll have to move beyond their past. 

This is a fast-paced thriller that will keep the reader guessing, as Mills is a master with suspense and mystery. The main characters are intelligent and tough, though they still struggle with realistic fears and faith issues. (The religious element was not overwhelming in any way.) The suspense angle was more prominent than the romance angle, which I enjoyed.
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There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

Leah and Jon are the best sharp shooters around.  As a matter of fact, Leah is third in the nation.  You don't want to face off with these two in a shoot out.  They know each other but have never actually worked together.  They discover right away there is an attraction between them.  But they decide to put that on hold until they can discover who is killing prominent people with snake venom.  Everybody they interview seems to be hiding something from them.  There have been attempts on their lives and others connected to the case.  They begin to believe there is an informant in the Galveston Police Department.  They are also trying to determine if God is real.

This is a good book with lots of action.  I recommend it to all mystery readers.

I was given this book by Tyndale House Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.
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I really liked the main characters, two FBI agents/snipers working together for the first time. They developed both a professional and personal relationship naturally and easily. Galveston made a great setting for the story. The plot was a little unusual, with supposed gang members using snake venom as a murder weapon, and nothing was as it seemed. Although there wasn't a strong Christian component to the plot, there was the Catholic priest who lived his faith in the face of personal risk, so the faith element was a natural part of the plot. 

I received a copy of the book from the author, but this voluntary review reflects my honest opinion.
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An interesting suspense novel by DiAnn Mills. Fatal Strike intrigues the readers with a look into FBI procedures and various twists and turns throughout the storyline. This was my first book my DiAnn Mills. The story didn’t hold my attention as much as I thought it would, and I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I typically do. However, this was an enjoyable read, and I think suspense fans will enjoy it. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
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Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are called into action in Galveston, TX to take out two kidnappers when hostage negotiations fail. Both agents are top snipers for the FBI. Before the smoke clears and the paperwork is done, Leah and Jon, who have never worked together before, are asked to investigate the third murder here in Galveston in three days. A police officer, an attorney and now a judge have all been killed with lethal injections of rattlesnake poison. Leah and Jon hit the ground running and start their interviews with the only eyewitness to the judge’s body being dumped on the church steps. It seems that this eyewitness clearly saw Dylan Ortega dump the body and leave, and he has home surveillance video footage to prove it.

Dylan is just getting his life back together after spending a little time behind bars. No one in the community can believe he could possibly be the killer. However, the investigation seems to indicate he is a part of the Veneno gang whose mission is re-conquista, to take Texas back for Mexico. But a larger question looms … how is this gang being funded? The further Leah and Jon dig into this murder, the more complicated the relationships of the people involved in Dylan’s life becomes. Dylan is on the lam. Can Leah and Jon find him and/or find the murderer and discover the real agenda of this gang?

DiAnn Mills is a master at police procedural thrillers, and FATAL STRIKE is no exception. She opens the story with a gripping scene, and the intensity never lets up. Fast-paced and riveting action flow throughout to keep the reader engaged and turning pages. Although Leah and Jon are strong, determined characters, they each hold onto secrets from their past that still haunts them. While working through those secrets and the case, the agents find an attraction to each other. Can they detach mentally, work the case, and keep it professional? FATAL STRIKE is a story about shame and forgiveness; about making mistakes, recovering from them, and moving forward. This inspirational thriller asks the question … can you offer up lip service to God with your life full of toxins? FATAL STRIKE is a great read … don’t miss it!
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Loved this read. The book had an intricately woven, complex plot. I anticipated a couple twists, but many fit into place only as I read them. The romance was good and enjoyable.
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