One father was murdered.
Another was convicted of his death.
All because their children fell in love.
Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado hometown. His mother begs him to come back now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.
Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down not long after, people assumed Nate set the fire to get even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left town without looking back.
Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and now she’s fighting a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. Brenna is barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.
As Nate and Brenna deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—the past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.
Praise for Smoke Screen:
“Full of secrets, lies, and with a visceral impact that grabs from the first sentence, Smoke Screen is Terri Blackstock at her finest.” —Colleen Coble, USA TODAY bestselling author
“Terri never fails to deliver a plot that moves, well-developed characters who are real, flawed, and relatable . . . Just a word of warning if you decide to pick up this book—don’t plan to do anything else until you finish it.” —Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author
New York Times bestselling authorFull-length, stand-alone suspense novelAlso by Terri Blackstock: If I Run, Intervention, Cape Refuge, AftermathIncludes discussion questions for book clubs
Brenna Herzog faces a difficult divorce, the release of her father's murderer, and long-standing rumors that surrounded her father's death in this exciting inspirational thriller from Blackstock (If I Run). During a long custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Brenna's once-strong faith begins to fade as she drowns her sorrows in vodka. When Nate Beckett, her high school boyfriend, returns to town, Brenna feels her depression lift. Nate's father, Roy, has been in prison for 14 years for the murder of Brenna's father, pastor Strickland, but Roy has always maintained his innocence. Strickland had objected to Brenna's relationship with Nate when they were caught sneaking out together, and, after he was shot to death, a fight the pastor had had with Roy became the primary evidence for Roy's conviction. As Nate attempts to patch up his relationship with his father, who had been an abusive alcoholic, Nate assists his father in searching for the real killer despite his belief in Roy's guilt. As Nate stays in town, he spends time with Brenna, and they realize the love they had as teenagers is still strong. Nate is determined to help Brenna keep her children, and also to discover the truth as new information emerges about the night of Strickland's death. Blackstock's intense and twisty story will please fans of her faith-grounded crime dramas.
SMOKE SCREEN is the latest evidence of Terri Blackstock’s Award winning writing skills. She continues to be masterful in the art of creating characters that are believable, plots that are dynamic from beginning to end, descriptions of setting that make you feel as though you’re right where the action is taking place and subject matter that is timely, easily understood and relatable.
This is the story of uncontrolled wildfires - 1) the kind involving REAL FIRE that scorches absolutely everything in its path and 2) the kind involving FIRE FROM THE TONGUE that also scorches absolutely everything in its path. Both are horrible. One takes years to recover from. One may never see restoration from the devastation that has taken place. Most everyone is familiar with the old English-language children’s rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones But words will never harm me.” We also know that nothing can be further from the TRUTH! Some things can be said about you when you’re young and you can’t outlive the LIE! The characters in Smoke Screen deal with both types of these Wildfires. Blackstock showcases her writing skills as she cleverly weaves her plot around these Wildfires. She shows the effects on individuals, their families and their town. She shows the effects many years later. Blackstock writes of greed, power, insensitivity, hatred, misplaced loyalty, deceit and also shows how love NEVER fails.
I was provided an complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
SMOKE. SCREEN. Teri Blackstock
Her ex husband with a new wife, barely out of her teens, and now he is running for mayor, Wants his eight year daughter and 4 year old son on the platform with him, bribing them with gummies. He is even suing her for custody of them. Brenna wonders if his father has bribed the judge. A secret of her drinking, until she falls asleep, daughter of a pastor. He’d roll over in his grave if he knew. The man convicted of the murder of this pastor is out. This is a stand alone, and has many twists and plots dealing with a number of issues. The plot flowed with a story and good characters Given ARC for my voluntary review and my honest opinion by Net Galley and Thomas Nelson.
An exciting story of second chances and redemption
Smoke Screen is a story about Brenna Hertzog, a recently divorced mother of 2 young children, and Nate Beckett, a smokejumper who is recuperating from injuries sustained while fighting a fire. Nate returns home to the town of Carlisle, Colorado for some rest while he’s healing and is reunited with his former love, Brenna who in the midst of a custody battle with her ex-husband and his new, much younger wife. The two have a complicated past that has driven their families apart, and Brenna’s life seems to be spiraling out of control, until Nate steps in to remind her of her once-strong faith and of how strong she really is.
I really loved reading Smoke Screen. The story offers excitement, mystery, and unexpected twists, and it’s a touching example of second chances and redemption. I appreciated how the author incorporated Brenna’s struggle with alcohol, her need to medicate her pain, and Nate’s desire to help her, not enable her addiction, but also not be codependent and try to fix her. I found the struggle between Brenna and her ex-husband over the custody of the children to be especially compelling. As a mother, I could easily identify with Brenna’s need to protect her children at any cost. Overall, I felt the story was well-written and very enjoyable.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.