15 July 2014

Review: Firewall by DiAnn Mills


Software developer Taryn Young has just become Mrs Francis Shepherd after a whirlwind courtship. She is about to board a plane with Shep for their island honeymoon when a bomb rips through the airport, and Taryn wakes up in hospital to find she and Shep are the prime suspects.

FBI Special Agent Grayson Hall has been assigned to interview Taryn to find the truth behind the fatal bombing. He and his partner are initially convinced she is guilty, but while she manages to convince them of her innocence, it soon becomes apparent that Shep is intimately involved in the crime. As the investigation progresses, Greyson finds himself developing feelings for Taryn.

There is something slightly ‘off’ about a romance plot in which one of the partners has only recently come out of a serious relationship (as in, serious enough that she married the guy). Even as teenagers we understood that rebound relationships never work, and while I’ve read some excellent novels about second relationships (Somebody Like You by Beth Vogt springs to mind), Firewall is not one of them.

Taryn’s emotions towards Grayson felt more like a bizarre kind of Stockholm Syndrome than real caring, and I didn’t think her emotionally-backward genius-level IT geek came across well (Ted Dekker’s Hacker on the other hand … brilliant). Bluntly, I found it difficult to care for her as a character. She felt more like a mash-up of clich├ęs than a real person. Yes, I know Firewall is fiction, but the beauty of great fiction is it makes me feel like I’m reading about real people. Firewall didn’t.

Despite the relative failings of the romance, the suspense side of the plot was definitely up to standard. It was chilling to watch the FBI investigation progress and see how thoroughly Taryn had been duped, and Mills did an excellent job in that I never saw Taryn as stupid or naive (let’s face it, even the most intelligent of women can make bad choices in marriage, Christian or not). The finale was excellent, as it pulled of a huge plot twist that tied up all the ends of the suspense plot. However, this was not enough to squelch my ‘yuk’ factor around the ‘romance’ side of the plot. Firewall is not a book I’ll be rereading.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Diann Mills at her website.

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