From the back cover:
Artist Mia Kearney has the perfect life: a successful career, a home she loves, amazing friends…until the hot August morning her world explodes. Lone survivor of a nuclear accident, Mia awakens in a government facility, faced with Homeland Security agent Nicholas Price, a man who wants answers she knows she doesn't have.
When Mia escapes, Nick has a choice to make. The CIA wants him off the case, but instinct tells him not to let Mia out of his sight.
Now the web of deceit that's woven tightly around them is about to unravel, and someone out there won't be satisfied until Cedar Branch's last surviving resident is dead.…
I don't care what certain people say. I did not pick this book up because it takes place in Idaho. I already have to live here, why would I want to read about it, too? I do have to admit that I did google Cedar Branch b/c I had no idea if it actually existed in the state of Idaho. Nerdy, I know.
OMGosh, the first chapter of this book is SAD. Sooooo sad. Cedar Branch is a small town that has a cafe, a gas station, and a small grocery store. The book opens in the cafe where the whole town of, like, 8 people are eating breakfast. Davis does a great job of portraying camaraderie between these people. Which makes it all the more horrific at how the chapter ends. After hearing what sounds like a car backfiring, they look out the window and see what is described as a "haze" or "mist". Soon, they're all gasping for air and collapsing. The last thought that the owner of the cafe has before she dies is that at least she doesn't have to live without her husband (who already seconds before). See what I mean? Sooooo sad.
Mia Kearney wakes up in a hospital-like room and is told that she survived a nuclear accident that happened a few miles outside Cedar Branch. When Homeland Security agent Nick Price comes to question her, he tells her that all the residents of Cedar Branch are dead and she is suspected as the person behind the "accident". See, Mia's mother was a big political activist and one of her passions was stopping nuclear testing on Amercan soil. How this computed to Mia somehow having possession of a nuclear weapon was never made clear. Oh, Mia was also found in a crude, man-made nuclear bomb shelter. That would seem a little suspicious, I suppose. But as in most books, it was explained in a very satisfactory way. Mia's grandfather was in WWII and was a little paranoid when he returned home. So he made his very own bomb shelter in the basement of his house. Lucky for Mia, when the bomb went off, she was down in the basement-turned-art studio.
Anyway, Mia senses something fishy going on. Cuz she's one smart girl. So she escapes. She escapes a government facility that is in the middle of nowhere and gets back to her grandfather's ranch where she lives in a line shack that is on the property. Fortunately for her, she told Nick about the line shack, so he's there when she starts getting shot at. Nick went after her after his boss called him back to Washington after telling him that the CIA was taking over the investigation and Homeland Security was no longer needed. Nick being Nick, was a little suspicious. It didn't help that the man in charge of that branch of the CIA was a longtime nemisis and the man (we find this out later) that was part of the plot that killed his sister. He goes after Mia, determined to get some answers about what really happened in Cedar Branch.
Together, Nick and Mia go on the run. Don't forget, you can't go on the run in a romance suspense novel without there being a tracking device on someone or something. #1 rule of thumb. Check belongings and person for tracking device. They obviously didn't know that rule, so they didn't figure it out until after they were tracked down by the evil CIA guy, Davies. Things got very interesting from then on out.
In between Nick and Mia falling in luuurve and heating up the sheets, they were following leads that would uncover what really happened in Cedar Branch. So far they had an Idaho Senator (damn those Idaho Senators), the evil CIA guy, and another guy Kresky who owned the Environmental study company that was a front for all their evil doings.
Let me just tell you how it ends, m'kay? What killed the whole town was actually a deadly toxin called K-19. It's a mutated version of some toxin that is found in frogs in Colombia. The original toxin can only be deadly if it goes directly into a cut or open wound. The bad guys mutated it so it would be deadly when inhaled or when it goes directly through your skin. So basically if it's released in the air anywhere near you, you're fucked. The nuclear bomb was really to cover up what really happened b/c of course the government had no idea what these psychos were doing.
The reason Mia survived, you ask? A number of reasons that all combined, saved her life. Apart, she would have been dead like the rest of them. #1 - Mia was in a nuclear bomb shelter. #2 - As a sculptor that uses chemical, she wears a mask and protective clothing. #3 - Something in her genes gave her a sort of immunity to the original toxin. Why? Because her father is Colombian of course and she used to play w/ the frogs as a little girl.
Overall, I would recommend trying it. The plot was an interesting one and the character development was good.
4 out of 5 stars.