Formats available: ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, science fiction romance
Series: Hell Squad #18
Published by Anna Hackett on June 17th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon
As the battle against the invading aliens intensifies, a group of bad boy bikers and mercenaries will stand and fight for humanity’s survival…
Squad Three berserker Dom Santora has an ugly past he can’t forget. Born and raised in the darkness, he spent his life before the alien invasion as a Mafia enforcer. He’s found some meaning fighting against the aliens with his fellow berserkers, but he knows his soul is too stained to ever find redemption. And there is no way he’ll ever deserve the quiet beauty of a woman like Arden Carlisle.
When the raptors invaded, Arden lost her husband and children in the first horrible, bloody wave of the attack. Since that terrible night, she’s survived, but she hasn’t been living. Hollowed out by her grief, she’s found a way to keep going as the comms officer for Squad Nine. But lately, color has started to seep back into her world, and the person she sees most clearly is the dark, handsome, and lethal Dom.
Dom and Arden are two damaged souls who find each other in the darkness. But the Gizzida are putting the final pieces of their endgame into place. The aliens want the Earth and to wipe out the human survivors once and for all. As Dom, Arden, and the berserkers work to find a deadly alien bomb, they uncover the true horror of the aliens’ plans. To have any chance at love, life, and survival, Dom and Arden will have to fight harder than ever before.
There can be a HUGE difference between real world time and book time, and that is certainly the case in the Hell Squad series.
The first (and absolutely awesome) book in the Hell Squad series, Marcus, was published in 2015. That was four years and 17 books ago. Having read the series as it was published from the very beginning, it feels like the Gizzida invasion of our Earth was a long time ago, unfortunately not in a galaxy far, far away.
In the books, it’s only been two years. Half the time. So, while the survivors of the invasion sometimes feel like they’ve been fighting with and hiding from the aliens FOREVAH, it hasn’t really been all that long for them.
Long enough that any relationships that develop between the survivors living in the Enclave don’t qualify as insta-love (although there’s a hint in Dom that something of that sort may happen later with a current non-resident of the Enclave). There just aren’t THAT many people hiding there. Enough to make a community, but not so many that everyone doesn’t have at least a nodding acquaintance with pretty much everyone else.
It’s also been three months since the previous book in this series came out, and I have to say that longer intervals work better for me in regards to reading this series. There are certainly patterns to all of the books in the series, but they are less obvious to this reader when I’ve had a bit more of a gap between books.
To put it another way, I like the individual books better when I’ve been away long enough to miss seeing all my friends in the series.
About this particular entry in the series…
The relationship that develops between Dom Santora and Arden Carlisle is a bit different from some of the other romances in this series, and it’s because of Arden. Dom is certainly one of the baddest of the baddasses that make up the squads, but even with his past as a Mafia enforcer, he’d still have a few other contenders in a battle for squad member with the darkest past and the worst emotional scars.
None of the Berserkers in Squad Three have ever made any claims to being white knights. And the women they fall in love with are never damsels waiting for said knight to rescue them. They are all more than capable of rescuing themselves, thankyouverymuch.
While Dom may not stand out as being any darker of past than any of the other Berserkers, Arden is a bit different from the usual heroines of this series. Why? Arden feels like the first heroine we’ve had in this series who was happily married with children before the invasion, and is the only survivor of her family. She was with her husband and two children when the attack came and she watched them die.
In the two years since the invasion, she’s had a lot to grieve, and has spent a lot of her time grieving. As this story opens, enough time has past that she is starting to see the light at the end of her own personal dark tunnel. She’s not quite there yet, but she’s at the point in her grief when she knows that she will get there, with the help of friends like Indy Bennett (heroine of the previous book, Griff) and her job as comms officer for Squad Nine.
And quite possibly with the hands-on assistance of her own personal dark knight, Dom Santora.
Escape Rating B+: Dom and Arden’s story was definitely better for the break from this series. While their relationship goes through similar situations to many of the others it’s their personalities, particularly Arden’s, that give this entry in the series that bit of different and interesting to make it shine.
The book ends with a rousing speech by General Holmes (military leader of the Enclave and titular hero of book 8) ties it in nicely with the overarching plot of the series – the fight to kick the Gizzida off our Earth and take back the planet. There have been setbacks in reaching that goal, but his speech felt like the kind of “once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech that the leader of the light gives just before the climactic battle – which they go on to win. I hope so, and I hope soon!