REVIEW: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

bookTitle: Hot Zone (Amazon)
Elite Force, #2
Catherine Mann

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: December 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Master sergeant Hugh Franco lives only to save others, until he plucks beautiful attorney Amelia Bailey from the wreckage of an earthquake and finds himself embroiled in ways he never expected. On the run from kidnappers, Hugh must call on all his training to protect them. But Amelia's fiery touch threatens to crack his world—and his heart—wide open.

Why I Read this Book: After reading the first chapter of Hot Zone at the end of Cover Me (my review), I knew I had to read this book. That first chapter is so intense! 

What I Liked: The book started off with a bang. I was thrown in under the rubble right along side Amelia and Hugh. It was refreshing to have a calm, albeit shocked, heroine. She didn’t go insanely crazy during the disaster. She was as under control and level-headed as possible, considering the situation and circumstances.

Hugh’s past broke my heart and made me cry. Because of the great loss he suffered, he throws himself into danger’s arms during every rescue mission. He literally lives by the mantra “That others may live”.

Not only is there the main love interest between Hugh and Amelia going on but there’s a budding romance between Hugh’s boss, Liam, and another rescuer, Rachel. I really enjoyed their funny and flirtatious banter.

What I Didn’t Like: There were some inconsistencies in a couple of scenes. One was where:

Amelia slumped down with her back against a tree, drawing in shaky breaths one after the other. She hugged her knees to her chest.


She turned toward him, burying her face in his chest.

Wait a minute, she was just hugging her knees – when did she stand up to bury her face in Hugh’s chest?

This may seem like a minute detail but it put a kink in my reading momentum. When I read, I’m visualizing what’s going on in my head - like a movie playing. (Who doesn’t, right?) When an inconsistency occurs such as this, it stops me in my tracks and I’ve got to backtrack. I read and re-read this part a few times trying to figure out how it went from her being on the ground to being in his arms.

Here’s another inconsistency – When Liam and Rachel are searching for Hugh, they let Disco (Rachel’s search dog) sniff a shirt recently worn by Hugh so as to pick up Hugh’s sent. Rachel commanded Disco to “go find” Hugh and then she announced that “he’s locked in on the scent”. The book shifts to a different story arc. Then 35 pages later we return to Liam and Rachel, only now they’re at a collapsed apartment complex searching for survivors. What happened about searching for Hugh? When we return to Liam and Rachel they’re somewhere completely differently than where they last left off. That kink in the continuity of their story line threw me off.

Memorable Moments: Hugh does the “Vulcan nerve pinch” on a villain. I seriously had no idea what this is; I had to Google it. A fun Twitter conversation ensued after.

“Believe it or not, [condoms] are part of the gear in a survival vest – the most efficient way to carry water.”

You learn something new everyday folks!

Survival was paramount right now, right along with making sure [Amelia] didn’t fall on her face.

Keeping it real! LOL (That’s totally me right there – making sure not to fall flat on my face in the utmost important of times).

Overall Impression: Hot Zone is about finding love when all in the world seems bleak. The limelight was stolen away from the hero and heroine from time to time because of too many story arcs going on in the same book. But the author carried an intensity that never floundered. It pleases me to know that the next book in the Elite Force series, Under Fire, will be Liam and Rachel’s story.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. I have this series on my TBR! Sometimes the 2nd book is often the weakest in a series.

    1. This book was pretty much on par with the first book, for me at least. I'm definitely looking forward to the third book in this series :)

  2. I couldn't get past all the babies in this one. The action grinding to a halt so the hero can strum a guitar and sing some tunes to orphans. The heroine saying - "I would die for this baby" - on every second page. The sister-in-law sneaking a pregnancy past her anti-babies husband. The baddies who were "doing it for the babies".

    It was nauseating, and it's a common problem I have with this author. If she focused more on the suspense and the romance, and less on the probable outcome of all that sex, then I'd be a true fan of hers!

    Funny that I missed the mistakes because I was so focused on all the reproduction - otherwise it would have annoyed me too!

    1. "I was so focused on all the reproduction" <--- LOL


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