caged lightning book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Caged Lightning is the first book of a new series by a fairly new author, Brent Rock Russell. One word that can be used to describe this book is intense. It starts off with a bang and gallops full bore right to the end. No getting bored here.

Dr. Stryker is an emergency room doctor in San Diego and he’s an ex-Navy SEAL. He met Senator Ripp when the senator had a mountain biking accident and needed a few stitches. Senator was intrigued and asked Dr. Stryker to be his personal doctor and security consultant. Since Senator Ripp was one of the statesmen that Dr. Stryker truly admired, he was flattered and accepted.

We meet Wyatt Stryker in Mexico where he has arrived early at the Senator’s private house. He interrupts what he believes to be a burglary. But strangely, the man leaving doesn’t appear to be taking anything with him. Some back and forth ensues and Wyatt almost has his brains splattered across the Senator’s lawn.

After discussing it with the Senator, they decided not report it to the police, since they (the Police) really didn’t know who owned the house and he liked it that way. The rest of the weekend went off without any issues and the ultra rich who came to visit had no issues either.

However, while he was partying down in Mexico, someone broke into Wyatt’s home and kidnapped his son and tied up his sister-in-law who was doing the babysitting. When he and his wife arrive home they have a terrible surprise waiting. When they try reporting the kidnapping through 911 they get the worst operator imaginable. So Wyatt decides that he and his buddy Javier (still a serving SEAL) would take matters into their own hands.

Turns out that a Mexican drug dealer (living in San Diego) was behind the whole thing. When they found out why and how they fit in, it is another terrible blow. But they discover that Wyatt’s son is alive and where he has been taken. So they make a plan that involves breaking more laws in two countries than most people could dream of in a lifetime.

This book is full of action and killing of the bad guys. I want to give this book 4 stars but can’t. 3.5 is where I have to go–there were a few things that just bugged me too much to give it that extra .5 stars. It started off with a man who was hired as a security consultant not treating a threat to his principles seriously, and almost getting himself killed. Then it became mostly a ‘guy’ story like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard, where you just go with it. But the author kept trying to add unnecessary parts and trying to make it feel more believable. To me, this just accentuated and pointed out how unbelievable the whole thing was.

This was the first such book by this author but I expect future books will smooth these kinds of issues out and I think I’ll enjoy them even more. It’s a good ‘kick the bad guys’ story and I suspect many won’t have issues with the things that bothered me. It does have a reasonable amount of violence so the squeamish might want to pass.

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Elevate Fiction. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.