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If you've been following my book reviews the past several weeks you'll know that I've been stepping outside of my literary comfort zone a bit lately. There have been some hits and some misses, but overall it's been a great experience exploring new authors in unfamiliar genres. I'm very happy to report that my latest book selection, a romance thriller novel, has been a surprising hit! I received an advanced copy of Night Watch by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen from a Goodreads giveaway (thank you, St. Martin's Press), and it is my pleasure to offer this book review ahead of the official release this October.
Night Watch
My Rating: 4 out of 5  

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Kendra Michaels was born blind. Thanks to a groundbreaking stem cell regeneration procedure developed by English scientists with the Night Watch Project, Kendra saw the world for the first time at the age of twenty. In the years following her miracle of sight, Kendra has earned a reputation as an exceptional investigator due to her remarkable new visual acumen combined with her superior senses of smell and sound developed during blindness. When the doctor who gave Kendra the gift of sight nine years earlier mysteriously goes missing along with two other researchers associated with Night Watch, Kendra sets out on a mission to find themby any means necessaryand get to the bottom of Night Watch's sinister activities before she becomes their next victim.

Although Night Watch is the fourth book featuring Kendra Michaels, it is an excellent stand-alone story for readers (like me) who had not read any of the other books before. Through flashbacks readers learn about the life-changing procedure that gave Kendra her sight and witness the moment Kendra sees the world for the first time, which was one of the most moving events in the book for me. I have to say I've definitely become a Kendra Michaels fan. My first impression of her was that she reminds me a lot of a contemporary Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorite literary characters. Much like the titular character in the BBC television series Sherlock, Kendra's powers of perception outpace her colleagues in spades and she is certainly not one to let trivial details like rules and protocol stand in her way. She is stubbornly undeterred by clear and present danger, much to the distress of her associates. As a highly intelligent and resourceful character, she shines in tough situations but is not infallible; fortunately she teams with other intelligent, unconventionally resourceful people which makes for some very interesting reading. 

The novel itself was a fast-paced, page turner which gripped me from the first chapter. Like I said, I don't usually read thrillers but authors Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen are master story tellers. Their writing was so vivid, witty and engaging that I felt like I had been dropped right into the middle of an exciting action movie and I was captivated throughout. There was a fair amount of cursing though and a steamy romance I didn't much care for but nothing that seemed too excessive for the genre and certainly nothing more shocking than what one might see in a summer blockbuster movie. Overall, I really liked Night Watch with all its plot twists and interesting cast of characters. It's fascinating to consider how real life scientific advancements might change people's lives in the future, allowing once blind people to finally see, or potentially curing a host of other conditions. As the authors note in their closing, plots like Night Watch may not remain the stuff of fiction for much longer.

I'm looking forward to reading the next Kendra Michaels novel featuring her love interest, "gun for hire" Adam Lynch, and her "bad ass biker chick" friend Jessie Mercado. Until then, check out Night Watch when it goes on sale October 25th. I highly recommend it, especially if you're a fan of action/thrillers.