Sep 29 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Rebecca Zanetti Deadly Silence (October 4, 2016)

Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti
Deadly Silence (Blood Brothers #1)
Forever / October 4, 2016 / $10.99 print, $5.99 digital

If it were the 1960s and Rebecca Zanetti was taking the stage with The Beatles for the Ed Sullivan Show, I would be the loudest, screaming-est fangirl in the middle of the front row. That’s how excited I was to start reading Deadly Silence, first in the new Blood Brothers series by my girl, Zanetti.

I’ve enjoyed her foray into more paranormal storylines, and I loved the first two installations of her post-apocalyptic Scorpius Syndrome series … but this? Deadly Silence harkens back to her super-successful Sin Brothers saga about the Dean Brothers, with secretive psychotherapy and military testing, supersoldiers, and intuitive lifestyles that scream “stay the fuck away from me.”

We are introduced to twelve-year-old Ryker Jones, struggling to keep his sanity and safety in another horrendous foster home situation, and its owner, Ned Cobb. It’s hard enough to look out for number one, but between his protective streak his yearning for some semblance of family, he finds himself bound to two of his foster brothers: Heath and Denver.

Whatever he’d done in a past life to deserve this must’ve been really bad. A dark need to fight back, to hurt the adults running his life, slithered inside him, and it wasn’t the first time, so he probably deserved hell.

But something told him the younger kid fighting the three bullies on the edge of the dirt field didn’t deserve this beat down. Or maybe Ryker was just tired of the wrong guys winning every time.

This notion of family is a strong current running through Zanetti’s worlds. It drives the motivation for her main characters, and it explains their fearless willingness to go to bat for one another.

From day one, Ryker was all in or all out, and he didn’t know how to be another way.

As adults, Ryker, Heath and Denver have evolved into an even tighter family unit, bound together as blood brothers—a bond stronger than if the blood running through their veins was the same. In their collective search to find their real families, they’ve opened up The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency. It’s quickly obvious that the quest for heritage and the need for family aren’t the only remarkable traits of this trio.

All three of them had special gifts, ones they’d never been able to explain, and if they were going to be freaks, then why the hell shouldn’t they save people? Why did bad guys win and good people die?

Zara Remington has been having an affair with Ryker for the last two months. The Lost Bastards are in town tracking down a serial killer when her law firm contracts him for investigative work. And that was all she wrote: “He was every vision of a badass bad boy she’d ever fantasized about.”

For a while, the casual approach had worked. But then she started cooking dinner for him, and for a lost boy with no family, it represented hearth and home … and their relationship began to slowly evolve. The first realization Zara has is when she’s called in the middle of the night to retrieve Ryker from a bar fight. Her number being the only one programmed in the phone.

“We’re not dating. It’s casual, which is what we both wanted, but I think it’s getting a little odd, you know? We have to either go forward or stop, and neither one of us is willing to go forward.”

Relationships are scary. It’s hard to take that leap of faith to show your cards and make your heart vulnerable. And nobody would understand that more than a man who forged a family out of fellow foster kids. But when Zara finds herself in the middle of a divorce case gone wrong with clients of her firm, Ryker bulldozes right on past that line of self-preservation.

Naturally, danger is a strong motivator. As it turns out, the Jones boys left their foster home under questionable circumstances and have been on the run from Ned Cobb’s brother, the Sheriff. Sheriff Cobb was a malicious son of a bitch, and a constant, abusive presence at the foster home, who kept the boys under constant scrutiny. Also present to periodically test and observe the trio was Sylvia Daniels, who had her own sadistic streak.

When the Lost Bastards computers are hacked, a kid named Greg shows up demanding help in tracking down a malicious bitch of a doctor who’s part of a covert military operation with a man they refer to as The Commander.

I know, right! OMG, this is like the Sin Brothers 2.0! As it turns out, the Dean brothers are not the only guinea pigs born to the supersoldier-test tube-genetic-manipulator Dr. Isobel Madison—but (so far, at least) they are the only ones outside of a military complex! When last we saw Dr. Madison, she was on the run after a huge smackdown of a battle that finally broke the restraints on the Dean brothers. Clearly, she wasn’t killed and in the six years since, has continued to run her genetic and psychological experiments. Imagine their surprise when recognition kicks in.

The guy held out a hand and slowly reached up to rip off his mask while the other guy did the same. Similar bone structure, angled faces, deep gray eyes. They looked alike. “Who are you?” he snapped.

The armed guy studied him, his gaze intense. “If I had to guess I’d say we’re family.”

Zanetti is a master at weaving together four tension-filled, substantial storylines—Heath’s serial killer, Greg’s search for Dr. Madison, the Jones boys fleeing from Sheriff Cobb, and Zara’s murder charge—while never losing focus on the central love story between Zara and Ryker. Though there are a lot of characters introduced (and re-visited), Zanetti’s timeline isn’t confusing or overwhelming. She sets up a fast pace and lays the groundwork for what promises to be another exciting suspense series.

Unlike other series that rely on past characters saving the day every time, I enjoyed the involvement of the Dares. It’s realistic. I mean, why would a crazy-assed doctor mixing DNA and supersoldier genetics, setting up military training programs and compounds, just stop after three little boys are born?

Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti, available October 4, 2016:

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Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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