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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review: Midnight Target (Killer Instincts #8) by Elle Kennedy

Midnight Target (Killer Instincts #8)
by Elle Kennedy
April 25th 2017

by Berkley Books
Paperback, 384 pages
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Score and Midnight Revenge...

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.

As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach...but first they have to make it home alive.

I just want everyone to know that as I was writing this review I was listening to the to all four Transformers film scores. Because that’s how I roll and the music has always suited this series. Also, this is the longest book in the series so there’s a lot to cover in my review but I’ll try and keep the gushing to a minimum.

Midnight Target takes place four years after the previous book and super soldier Jim Morgan’s daughter Cate is all grown up and working as a freelance photographer. And getting a crash course introduction to the life her father never wanted for her. When she snaps a photo that links a South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, Cate immediately becomes a target and Jim leads a team to get her out of the country alive but he’s shot and critically wounded in the process. Now the team bands together to seek revenge as old faces resurface to help, including Liam MacGregor and Sullivan Port who have unfinished business with each other. Meanwhile Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton who broke her heart two years before and still wants to protect her as if she were incapable of doing it on her own.

Bottom Line: It’s all out war in Midnight Target with the team facing down a powerful cartel all while dealing with overdue personal matters.

I’m always excited when a new Killer Instincts book is coming out but never have I looked at a book with a mixture of awe and dread. Awe because no one writes romantic suspense like Elle Kennedy, and dread because this will be the last time I see these characters in a new adventure. Midnight Target is the final book in a series that combines high stakes action with red hot romance.

Kennedy is THE highest standard for romantic suspense in my opinion. Not only are her stories to die for but her heroines are the absolute best in RS. These women are no weeping willows who are happy to hand their problems over to a big strong man. These women kick a** and don’t bother taking names. I want heroines who can fight their own battles but at the same time show their vulnerable sides without making them seem like they’re weak for being vulnerable and I want heroes who respect their skills enough to see them as equals and to be confident having these women watching their backs. That’s exactly what Kennedy gives her readers and it’s the biggest reason I’m going to miss this series so much.

That said, Cate had me a little nervous at first because she’s not a trained assassin like Noelle and her girls or a mercenary like her father and his men but she sure did get a lot of lessons from both sides in the four years since she came to live with them and it showed. She carried her weight, fought, and contributed to the team like she had been with them all her life but she didn’t have the hardened, jaded soul of the men and women surrounding her larger than life father which put a different spin on this story. Cate brought a little bit of an innocent vibe to the plot because of her sheltered background and I understood why everyone BUT Noelle, Cate’s stepmother, wanted to continue protecting her. At the same time though I totally got why that infuriated Cate and why she had to distance herself from her father and even Ash. To me, Midnight Target was Cate’s coming of age story but you know, with guns, death, and violence. She and Ash had a lot of chemistry that actually started way back when Cate was still a teenager and had just found her father and I loved how much these two characters had grown since then. The tension between them was incredible and their story sort of paralleled that of Cate’s father and stepmother. As far as being what I was hoping, these two aced my expectations.

But while Cate and Ash take center stage in Midnight Target, there is another story that has been years in the making, Elle Kennedy finally brings Liam McGregor and Sullivan Port face to face after two years apart and forces these two to deal with the events of previous books and the tense attraction between the two best friends. I have a soft spot for both characters because they were so close for most of the series until a shared kiss made them reevaluate their lives. I loved how Kennedy didn’t make it easy for these two to figure out just what was going on between them. Liam comes from a traditional Irish family which presented a huge obstacle for him and Sully had a tragic history that made him reluctant to be anything other than a playboy. Their story was very emotional and I’m not ashamed to say I shed a few tears for these two.

There has always been an element of danger and unpredictability in this series but never more so than with this last book. These characters aren’t invincible and they’re far from perfect which balances out how dangerous they are. Midnight Target really brought their mortality to the spotlight and put every single character in an emotionally vulnerable position. For characters that have made their living out of putting themselves in life or death situations with smiles on their faces this was a huge difference. The odds were really stacked against this team that prior to this book always seemed unbeatable. It seemed fitting to me that the author put them through the ringer and had them come out on top but not without a cost.

Overall, Midnight Target gave these characters an unforgettable sendoff, the plot was edge-of-your-seat addictive, the characters raw and emotional, and the romance was off the charts good. My only real complaint aside from the fact that this is the last book is that there was a lot kind of jammed into this book. Cate and Ash, Cate’s deteriorating relationship with her father, Liam and Sully, the cartel, old friends with new problems, etc and I felt it could have been better handled in two books rather than one long one. Cate’s relationship with her father wasn’t exactly fixed by the end and I would have liked it to be because despite his faults, Jim Morgan was a good father who needed to develop a new relationship with his adult daughter instead of always picturing her as a little lost girl. But even with that complaint Midnight Target was still a solid winner. Elle Kennedy’s characters tore me apart, broke my heart, and then put me back together again in a way only they can. I really am going to miss this series and I doubt anything could ever compare to it.

Sheep Rating: 4 crying sheep.

Adria Reyes

About the Author:
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

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