Saturday, November 3, 2012

Disaster Status, by Candace Calvert (Tyndale)

Disaster Status, Mercy Hospital Series #2   -     
        By: Candace Calvert
I recently found myself in the unenviable position of being way behind on my Calvert reading.  Quickly remedied by downloading Disaster Status to my Kindle, I was shortly on the mend.  And what better mend to be on than with this story?

Second in the "Mercy Hospital" series, Disaster Status steps away from its prequel, Critical Care, in theme and intensity, but not in quality.  Okay, maybe in quality, too, for as the theme and the tension wratchet up, so does Ms. Calvert's storytelling.

The story follows Erin Quinn home to California where she resumes her career as an ER charge nurse and her life as a care-giver for her widowed grandmother.  Erin carries family baggage that encases her heart and her mind away from all, including herself.  Her job and her grandmother are all the life she needs.  At least she thinks so...

The story hits the ground running with a major disaster involving a chemical spill.  The emergency situation is eventually resolved, but it leaves an undetected undercurrent in its wake that will resurface in a most unexpected way.  During the course of the incident, Erin collides repeatedly with fire Capt. Scott McKenna, a by-the-book, self-driven, overachiever who also carries family baggage:  living in the shadows of a herioc father and with the shadows of a self-perceived failure to protect those he loved the most.  His job and...well, his job is all he needs.  At least, he thinks so...

Thrown together whether they like it or not, oil and water seem better suited to each other than Erin and Scott, at least at first.  But as concern for others around them force their attention away from their own hang-ups, a curious bond begins to develop that neither of them wants or understands.  It isn't until a shocking crisis explodes onto the scene do they see themselves and each other for who they really are.

Ms. Calvert doesn't skim the surface of our sensibilities as so many romances do.  She dares to bring in a dark element, something sinister, that threatens everyone in the story either directly or indirectly.  There is an evil afoot that you're not quite sure what to make of throughout the tale, something you even find yourself pondering after closing of the novel's back cover.

Tightly written, heartwarming, inspiring, and thought provoking, Disaster Status is a great read.  Something a little different, something a little daring.  Bravo to Ms. Calvert for daring to be different, and for doing it so well.