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A presentation of latest Christian books to hit the stores

Smoke Screen

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense

ISBN-10: 0310332591
ISBN-13: 97803103325964

Publishing Date: November 5, 2019

Availability in London: Creation Bookstore.

Available in: Paperback

Reviews courtesy of: Goodreads


A gripping new novel from New York Times bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock.

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.


Sarah Grace Grzy rated Smoke Screen a 5 out of 5 Stars
Terri Blackstock has been writing Christian fiction and suspense novels for a number of years and has had over 30 titles published. Smoke Screen is her most recent release and my first Blackstock book. And it won't be my last!

Blackstock writes like the veteran she is. Her writing style is polished, yet simple and engaging. I found myself very easily drawn into the story within a page or two. The plot and pacing are flawless; while not especially action-packed, there's never a moment that drags. The complexity of the multiple storylines kept me on my toes without ever becoming confusing. Throughout the course of the book, the author tackles some very difficult topics such as divorce, a custody battle, alcoholism, murder, and more. And she does so with much grace, grit, and honesty.

Smokejumper Nate Beckett returns to his small Colorado hometown after an injury sidelines him from his job. Years ago, his father was convicted--perhaps falsely--of murder, and upon his release from prison and Nate's return to town, rumors about the family run rife. Nate just wants to heal physically, and maybe find some restoration in his family. Brenna Hertzog is fighting a vicious custody battle against her ex-husband--and his influential father--and finds herself turning to alcohol to cope. The reunion between these characters couldn't have come at a worse time in their lives, but they are able to find healing as their relationship blossoms once more. The faith themes Blackstock weaves throughout the story were very beautiful and well done, and I loved seeing how the characters pointed each other back to God in the end. The romance between the characters was void of the extreme physical attraction that I find so tiresome in most romances, which was a breath of fresh air!

In summary, I think Terri Blackstock may have a new bestseller in Smoke Screen! Due to the aforementioned themes, I would recommend this book to older teens and adults. If you love a good contemporary fiction\suspense, you're not going to want to miss this one.

Kelsie Maxwell rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
Smoke Screen is a smart new mystery from bestselling author, Terri Blackstock.

Brenna Strickland Hertzog is a divorced single mom with a drinking problem she tries to hide. She’s resentful of her narcissistic ex-husband. Brenna has returned to her hometown after a contentious divorce, with no thought that her teenage sweetheart would move in across the street.

Nate Beckett is a smoke jumper injured while saving a family from a fire. He has returned to his hometown to heal while he is on a one month medical leave. His brother tells him that Brenna is back in town and lives across the street.

Any renewed relationship or friendship between Nate and Brenna is going to be difficult, because Nate’s father has just been pardoned for the murder of Brenna’s father fourteen years ago. Further complicating the situation is the accusation that Nate burned down the church where Brenna’s father had been the pastor. Neither family is supportive of a relationship between the two, though Nate and Brenna are developing a friendship that seems to be moving toward a more serious commitment.

Smoke Screen is a well-written mystery. The story is revealed through the alternating viewpoints of the primary characters, Brenna and Nate. This can sometimes be tricky and confusing to the reader but is handled appropriately through chapter headers. The characters are fully-fleshed and relatable, if not likable. The plot twists are well-conceived and executed. The romantic aspects add an element of distraction from the tense plot. The Christian themes were of particular interest to me and revealed the strengths and weaknesses of some of the characters. I enjoyed this novel from start to finish. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy mysteries with a little romance.

Julie Graves rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
I have likes and dislikes about this story. I liked Nate's character. I thought he was perfect hero material. I loved how humble he was and how he was willing to give his fellow jumpers credit for the daring rescue he performed. I loved how he stepped in to help Brenna through her problem. I loved that they had a past when they were younger and that they seem to pick up where they left off. Brenna on the other hand annoyed me. Thoroughly! I'm not a fan of hysterical/weak women and Brenna was both. Yes, it added to the drama of the story and some people really like that in a story, but for me I just wanted to slap her and tell her to buck up and fight back and quit sabotaging herself! I liked how everything was all wrapped up in the end and once again Nate was a hero.

Dana Michael rated Smoke Screen a 5 out of 5 Stars
Terri Blackstock should have the title Queen of Romantic Suspense. I downloaded this book after church on Sunday and thought I would just peruse a few pages to see what it was about. I didn't stop until after midnight when I read The End. Seriously, I could not put this book down. I loved the hero. He was definitely that. A hero. The heroine was one I had to warm up to, but could empathize with. She was in a very bad place in her life. As far as the bad guy, I had an idea who it was, but it didn't matter because it was great seeing how it all played out. Great writing and sweet romance and as such with Blackstock, a great message of hope.

Kelly Bridgewater rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
Suspense is definitely something I read a TON of Terri Blackstock is also an author who I have read everything she has written. So when I heard Blackstock was writing another book, I couldn't wait to get my hand on it. With her newest novel, Smoke Screen, I wouldn't really classify it as a suspense novel. There was an element of surprise in the plot, but it didn't have the spine chilling chase from something or someone that Blackstock's stories usually do. Smoke Screen reminded me a lot of Center of Gravity by Laura McNeil. A story where the main heroine is trying to cope with the loss of a marriage and what it does to her. While the suspense element, trying to find out who really killed the preacher, was there, it didn't really capture the whole story. There was romance between the heroine and hero. Something that started fourteen years ago and tried to resume in the pages of the story. I really liked how Blackstock created a safe and honorable hero who didn't take advantage of a weak woman as she moaned the lost of her marriage. Overall, Smoke Screen reminds me of a contemporary woman's fiction with a hint of suspense. Not a bad novel but not what I was expecting.

Ashley Johnson rated Smoke Screen a 2 out of 5 Stars
This book was not what I was expecting at all. It was more like a depressing fictional drama than a suspense book. I could not find myself rooting for any of the characters and I really wanted more in the way of mystery, suspense, and plot in general. 90% of the book focused on Brenna’s alcoholism and custody battle. She was hard to empathize with and hard to like. I have a hard time thinking that the alcoholic needs custody of her children. I’m not sure what Nate saw in her and that made me question his judgement as well. Add in a 14 year old mystery that took a back burner to the drama and you have a really oddly plotted novel. I think Nate would have had an easier time jumping out of planes into fires than trying to figure out Brenna and her mood swings. This one wasn’t for me.

Susan Snodgrass rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
'God is powerful. He could be my dread champion, my rear guard, the one who fihts for me. But I feel like I'm fighting all alone.'

Terri Blackstock returns with a captivating new novel told in two different POVs. Nate Beckett's father spent fourteen years in prison for killing Brenna Strickland's preacher father. Now, Nate's father has been released and Nate has returned to town to recover from a burn injury he's gotten on his job as a smokejumper. Brenna has also returned to town, divorced and fighting for her children from a vengeful ex husband who left her for a younger woman. Brenna is coping with alcohol from this devastating turn of events. In the meantime, a wildfire is threatening their town. This is a many-faceted novel that will draw the reader in over and over and interest is held captive until the very end. It moved me greatly. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Terri Blackstock has not lost her ability to keep a reader enthralled with the depth of emotions and suspense she is known for. Recommended.

Kay Defreese rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
Smoke Screen is different for the usual suspense novel that Terri Blackston usually write. There was still some suspense toward the end but not the heart pounding danger that the heroine is usually in. This story is told from the viewpoint of two characters. Brenna Strickland Hertzog has been through a lot in her 30 yeas of life. When she was 16 her minister father was supposedly murdered by her boyfriend's father. Years go by and she marries Jack Hertzog. Jack is a jerk and dumps her to marry a much younger wife.

He doesn't really want to spend time with his kids but under the pressure from his father, William Hertzog who takes every opportunity to make Brenna's life a living hell. The children don't really want to spend time with their father but she really has no choice. She didn't handle it too well when she was separated from her children and took to drinking too much when they were away from them. The other viewpoint is Nate Beckett. He was the one who was involved with Brenna when she was a teen and her father died.

They broke up when this happened. He moved to another town and became a smoke jumper. He has injuries on the job and returns to his home town to recuperate. His father is paroled from prison and maintains that he is innocent. Meanwhile Nate reconnects with the divorced Brenna much to the chagrin of his father. Most of the book dealt with Breena spiral into alcoholism with Nate trying to help her. The the mystery was not really addressed until the last 10 percent of the book. I had a good suspicion on who the real murderer and it was confirmed toward the end but I had no idea of the motive.

Hallie Szott rated Smoke Screen a 4 out of 5 Stars
Single mother Brenna Strickland struggles with alcohol as her ex-husband works to take everything she holds dear. Injured firefighter Nate Beckett returns home to recover—and reacquaint himself with his father, the man accused of murdering Brenna’s father. Family, reputations, secrets, jealousy, faith, romance, and truth all tie into the obstacles that Brenna and Nate must overcome, making for quite an emotional story.

Terri Blackstock’s Smoke Screen proves to be a quick, intriguing read. Getting to know Brenna and Nate is a pleasure (even as their circumstances—and choices, too, at times—frustrated me), making me want only the best for them. I just had to keep reading to find out where their story would go, and thankfully, its progression is quite satisfying.

This review is also posted on Hallie Reads.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Maureen Timerman rated Smoke Screen a 5 out of 5 Stars
The title the author gives this book is perfect, and shows up in more than one way, and it becomes crystal clear as you go further into this story.

There appears to be a lot going on here in this small Colorado town, but the action begins in another part of the state with smoke jumpers, and a horrible wild fire, lives are at stake here. Things do not get more comfortable here, and there is a lot at risk, especially in the lives of young children.

You will be quickly immersed here, and you won’t want to put this one down until you know the answers

Clara K Page rated Smoke Screen a 5 out of 5 Stars
Kept you guessing on how this book was going to end and who really committed the murder...and arson of the Church. Loved the main characters.

The importance of forgiveness and being forgiven plus keeping your faith in God even when life throws you some curves.