Under a Turquoise Sky
About This Book
When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.
Transporting Kailyn to New Mexico may not be as easy as Aaron would like. Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Although Aaron’s job is to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?
I really enjoyed Lisa Carter’s first novel about the Navajo Reservation, Beneath a Navajo Moon, but felt it needed a little tightening in terms of prose and story structure to be a truly great story. Under a Turquoise Sky more than delivered. This sequel contained everything I loved about the first book and then some. Flawless structure and pace, heart-pounding romance, and nail-biting tension and suspense—I literally could not put this book down.
The writing was tight, powerful, and technically sound, with a great balance between descriptions, inner monologues, and conversations between the characters. And once again, vivid, lifelike characters were one of this book’s greatest strengths. Aaron and Kailyn perfectly embodied the two very different worlds they came from, and their journey to discover common ground was equally intense and moving. I liked them both instantly, and was intrigued to watch their story unfold. The minor characters were also well-written and really brought the story life, and I could easily see future novels about them, especially CeCe and her gang-related missionary work in New Orleans. It was also neat to see Adam and Erin, the hero and heroine from Beneath a Navajo Moon, make an appearance in this story and offer a further glimpse of their continuing story.
The pace and flow of this book was near perfect. The scenes flowed effortlessly, the romance and suspense ebbed and flowed as both threads continued to build steadily, and the ending was more than satisfactory. The romantic tension was great in the first book, and even better in this one. Two people who start out hating each other end up falling in love—of course it’s been done before, but when it’s done well, it’s always a treat to read. And it was definitely done well in this book. Aaron and Kailyn’s attraction and relationship built naturally over the course of the story, and provided plenty of sparks and chemistry to appease even the most ardent romance fan. They definitely earned their Happily-Ever-After in the end!
Another great strength of Carter’s is her detailed research into life on the modern Navajo Reservation, and after reading the preview of this book at the end of Beneath a Navajo Moon, I was disappointed that this story didn’t appear to continue that story world. So I was doubly glad to be proven wrong! I loved that this book returned us to the Navajo culture, not only building on what was revealed in the previous book but also taking the opportunity to unwrap even more insights into their traditional customs and beliefs. There was much less Navajo superstition and mysticism in this book, and so too was the spiritual thread a bit more subdued—both of which were exactly right for this story. Kailyn, like the previous heroine, is a firm believer, but came across much less preachy. A new cast of Reservation characters helped explore the ways some Navajo believers combine Christianity with their native customs and beliefs, using traditions such as the titular turquoise stones to help preach the message of salvation.
Readers who are unfamiliar with the romantic suspense genre may object to this story’s grittier aspects. The opening chapters of this book provide a pretty dire glimpse into the seedy underworld of drug cartels and gang affiliations. The murder Kailyn witnesses is intense but not overly graphic in its description. Aaron takes advantage of his gang connections to obtain illegal documents and a “chop shop” vehicle. He and Kailyn pretend to be married as part of their cover, though a physical line is never crossed. Aaron describes his past abuse in order to help another young victim. Part of the drug cartel’s operation includes sex trafficking.
This book will appeal to mature readers who enjoy high-action stories with law enforcement angles, as well as to readers who like breathtaking romance along with their heart-pounding suspense. Adults should read this book before teenage or young adult readers, in order to be prepared for questions about some of the darker crime-related subject matter. I would definitely recommend this story to my non-Christian family and friends.
Lisa Carter makes an exciting, action-packed return to the Navajo Reservation in her latest romantic suspense novel. With another impressive blend of strong characters, harrowing danger and electric romance, Under a Turquoise Sky is an emotionally gripping search for true faith and identity, set against a backdrop of traditional and modern Indian culture.
Available September 2, 2014 from Abingdon Press