Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Beast of Stratton by Renee Blare

About the novella:
Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her missing father, infiltrates Miles Stratton's engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins. Betrayed by his best friend, Miles would rather hide than help, especially from the man's daughter. But something's not right. Someone is trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A decorated war veteran, he's defended his own before and the Beast of Stratton can do it again. Even with the enemy at his side.

My review:
This is a quickly moving novella of around 150 pages. Most of the action takes place in about a day. The novel starts with immediate action and remarks from characters indicate there is much more to the story than what we are seeing. There are times when I was a bit confused at the way the information was revealed.

The dialog is taut. There was rarely a “he said” or “she said” and I sometimes had difficulty recognizing the speaker. The sparse writing moved the action along quickly but I would have preferred more clarification as to who was speaking and, sometimes, who was doing the action.

Since the story develops so quickly, there was not very much character development. 

Mile's has just come back from a tour and is suffering from PTSD. I wish there had been more back story about his military duty. He did two tours, we find out, and he flew a helicopter. But he is also the CEO of Stratton. Becoming a helicopter pilot in the military is a multi-year commitment yet it seems he has been gone from the company only a few years. I didn't really understand that aspect of the novel. There could have been a few pages of explaining it.

The romance happens really quickly, basically in one day. It was pretty intense too. I think it could have been expanded a bit. Generally a romance has an obstacle that must be overcome. In this case, I think it was Miles' PTSD. His quickly changing emotional level made for an interesting interaction between the two. Miles would be caressing Aimee one moment and totally distrusting her, it seemed, the next. I do enjoy it when the two people work on the obstacle together, to resolve the issue, but that did not happen here.

The story did contain a strong Christian message of forgiveness.

I think this novella has great potential. I would have liked to see it about 50 pages longer. An explanation for Miles' military service could have been included. I would have liked to see the romance a little less intense and covering a longer time, maybe a week. The suspense went quickly and it could have been expanded. Also, the resolution to the Stratton company mystery could have used some more setting up to make it acceptable.

Renee Blare was raised in Louisiana and Wyoming. She and her husband and son live nestled against the Black Hills, where she serves a community in northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist. You can find out more at and read her blog at

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 172 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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