Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
Wow! What a great ride! Of the five I-Team books, this is definitely my favorite as you can see from my grade – A+ and A+! Natalie Benoit is a New Orleans gal, a hurricane Katrina survivor who lost her fiancé and parents in the aftermath of the terrible storm. It’s been six years, and although she’s lost herself in her work for the Denver Independent I-Team, the investigative journalists, she decides she needs a vacation, to get away and enjoy herself and try to get over her past. She signs up for a journalists tour to Mexico via El Paso, where she gets caught up in the all-too-real drug cartel wars and is kidnapped.
Her fellow kidnappee – a US Marshal undercover – is Zach, who is barely surviving the torture from Arturo Cardenas, the drug cartel overlord. Cardenas is convinced Zach stole a shipment of cocaine and is trying to electric-shock the information out of him. Natalie’s survival instincts go into overdrive, and between them they manage to pool their resources and escape.
And that’s only the first few pages! I repeat: Wow! Just the descriptions of their ordeal kept my heart pumping pretty hard and fast the entire time. There wasn’t any time to slow down and savor, as Zach relives his war experiences via his PTSD, something Natalie definitely relates to from her Katrina experiences. And the story doesn’t stop when she gets back, safe and sound, to Denver, however, because Cardenas and his Zetas are only the tip of the iceberg of this story.
In true suspense fashion, there is misdirection and redirection, and Ms. Clare was successful in keeping the tension and anticipation high, postponing the villain reveal well into the story. But in addition to the tension and suspense, there is real emotion in the relationships between previous couples, between Natalie and Zach and even between the heroes (especially Julian and Marc – something I know all the I-Team readers love!). I found myself laughing, gasping in shock, tearing up – every possible emotion welled up at some point.
Props to Ms. Clare for the fabulous writing and story-telling, but equal props to our man Kaleo for his wonderful narration! He owned the I-Team, and it shows best in this book. The urgency of the story shows in the pacing, the timbre, everything about his voice – he pushes you, the reader, in front of him while he draws the characters and defines their ordeals. His isn’t the narration of Karen White reading Julie James as though she’s your BFF, sipping coffee and gossiping (which I love!). This is the narration of the guy grabbing your hand and racing you out of the danger the protagonists are facing, all the while keeping up a running commentary of the action. He is every character, from the doomed Mexican journalists to the heroes of all the books to the slimy bastard Cardenas and all the I-Team members.
Before I end this love-fest, I will say that this book did not suffer as much as the previous from the technical issues (repeated sections and mispronounced or misspoken words) but they are there. I guess that’s something that occurs in most books – I just don’t want anyone to think I didn’t notice. There were repeated sections sprinkled about, as well as the occasional misuse of “he” for “she” and vice versa. I even smiled wryly at both the gringo pronunciation of “saguaro” and the fact that saguaros don’t grow in the Chihuahuan desert near El Paso and Juarez, although by the time they got to Altar, they were likely to have encountered them. Yeah, I’m showing off my limited knowledge of Chihuahuan vs. Sonoran desert flora, but what I’m actually saying is, we the listeners notice these things, both in the story and the narration.
Ah heck, who am I kidding – who cares? It was so exciting a ride with great characters, interesting plot twists and fabulous narration, it’s definitely a major keeper! No over-the-top alpha a-holes, no petite and unrealistic heroines here – if you like your RS closer to realistic (I mean, as if this would actually happen in your own life?), as well as emotional and exciting – this is your audiobook!
Book Content: A+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence: Graphic – torture, descriptions of sexual abuse, death and dismemberment, it’s all in there
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Breaking Point was provided by Tantor Audio to AudioGals for review, although I bought my copy from Audible.com.