When the Smoke Clears: A Novel (Deadly Reunions)

by Lynette Eason

Paperback, 2012



Call number



Revell (2012), Edition: Original, 350 pages

Original publication date



Fiction. Suspense. Christian Fiction. In this thrilling romantic suspense, smokejumper Alexia Allen returns home to face her past only to find a long-buried secret that threatens her life.


Original language


Physical description

350 p.; 8.4 inches



User reviews

LibraryThing member BeautyintheBinding
Alexia Allen is a stong, competent firefighter. So when she finds herself under investigation and on leave, she makes the difficult decision to visit her estranged mother and attend her high school reunion. Upon her return home, she finds a dying man in her mother's home and she is suddenly the
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person of interest in his murder investigation. It's not the first time this town has looked on her with suspicion and the past still haunts her. When Detective Hunter Graham seems to take a personal interest in keeping her under supervision, Alexia balks, but soons comes to appreciate his protection when further incidents arise. Will Alexia be able to clear herself of present and past suspicions? Will her budding romance with Hunter survive the accusations, incidents and danger?

Lynette Eason is one of my favorite authors for Christian suspense/romance novels. When the Smoke Clears is the first book in the Deadly Reunions series and it did not disappoint. Eason's flawless writing combined with the mystery and suspense aspects of the plot kept me hooked throughout the whole story. Alexia's character was complex, well-developed and authentic. The story had plenty of closure and yet the epilogue now has me awaiting the next installment in the series. I recommend this book if you are looking for an inspirational, contemporary romance with plenty of suspense.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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LibraryThing member MichelleSutton
What a fantastic Romantic Suspense novel! Not only was it packed with romantic tension, but there were twists and turns all through the book. The hero was yummy and the way he related to Alexia was endearing. Gotta love a man who wants to keep his woman safe, right? One thing I loved most about
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this story was that I didn't know who was behind the killings, and at the same time I love that there will be another book in the series that ties with this one. Talk about leaving a trail of red herrings and leading the reader on a bit of a goose chase! Great job there. And the fact that Alexia even looked guilty herself on a number of occasions was sheer brilliance. The ending left me a bit speechless, but I like that, too.

There were many characters in the story I could relate to because the author made them feel so human. I understood Alexia's disillusionment with life based on her childhood pain, and Chad's issues regarding rejection based on his divorce. I loved how God put so many people in her path to reach out to her until her heart softened on a spiritual level. That aspect of the story was very well done and felt natural. I can't understand the extreme hatred her father had toward her, but maybe that will be revealed a bit more later. There is certainly potential to explore that more in future installments.

The romantic elements in this story were particularly yummy. I loved that there were several kissing scenes and various romantic situations. The best part was it didn't all happen at the end. Hunter played a big role in Alexia's healing, and that part of their relationship certainly helped her learn to trust a man, and one man in particular. I was feeling the love and the heat between them, but it never scorched me in a negative way. It was a warm experience for me as a reader. (Just using a bit of firefighter lingo to fit with the theme.) Anyway, I really enjoyed this story!
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LibraryThing member judyg54
This was an intense story with alot of mystery, intrigue, suspense and some romance. It was a story I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. And it isn't often that you don't know "who did it", but this story really keeps you guessing! I liked it alot!! My only regret is
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that book two in the series isn't out yet, so I can pick up where this story left off.

There are 3 girls who are graduating from high school and who have been friends forever. On the night of graduation one of them sees something she shouldn't and flees in the night, not telling her friends where she is going or what she saw. Fast forward 10 years and you find one of the girls as a "smokejumper" who after a near death experience with a fire, finds herself taking time off for an incident that is under investigation. She goes back home after 10 years for a reunion and things really start to happen. You have a mother Alexia needs to learn to love, a murder she needs to prove she didn't do, and a handsome detective she needs to try not to fall for. There is trouble following her wherever she goes. You have murder, arson, forgiveness and love all rolled up into one week in the life of Alexia. Yes, just one week, but my oh my what a week you will live through as you read this book.

I loved the day and time sequences in this story. I also loved the spiritual message woven throughout its pages and the verses that tied it all together for me were, "When I am afrraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I Trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56) Detective Hunter said it well, "bad stuff happens. It's a fallen world. . . God's not picking on you (Alexia) . . . But he wants to be there for you to get you through it." The author did a fantastic job on this story and left the door wide open for its sequel. I can only say, "get busy Lynette Eason! I am anxious to read the next story in this series!". I knew I was going to like her book when I read her dedication page and her beginning verse before her story started. Give yourself some time when you start this book, because you will have a hard time putting it down until you finish.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0800720075
ISBN-13: 978-0800720070
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LibraryThing member love2readnovels
Alexia Allen fights fires. When she has a brush with death while trying to save a child she is ordered to take leave while the incident is under investigation. She decides to attend her 10 year class reunion and stay at her moms house. As soon as she arrives trouble starts. Hunter Graham was drawn
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to Alexia in high school but she didn't seem to show any interest. Now ten years later he's Detective Graham and still finds himself drawn to her. Even when it seems she's in the center of all kinds of trouble, from murder to arson. Not to mention family secrets. Who is really behind all the trouble and will she survive long enough to actually find out?

From beginning to end, When the Smoke Clears is loaded with non-stop action and suspense! I literally could not flip pages fast enough. I was totally enthralled with not only the story but the characters as well. The family dynamics in Alexia's family as well as Hunter's family we realistically portrayed. I was completely on the edge of my seat through the whole book and while the end is partially concluded (in a satisfying way), the door is wide open for the next book in the series. Which I can not wait to read!!! Two things came across to me while I was reading. One, no matter what we go through God walks through it with us. Always working in every situation. Two, that God can change hearts and forgiveness is part of that change. That's not always easy as we see in Alexia's case. I thoroughly enjoyed When the Smoke Clears and would highly recommend it. It's an edge-of-your-seat tale that once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down!!! It's Book 1 in the Deadly Reunions Series. A thank you goes to Lynette Eason as well as Revell for providing this complimentary copy for my review! Well done Lynette!!!!
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0800720075
ISBN-13: 978-0800720070
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LibraryThing member MonicaLynn
Alexia Allen moved on from her life as soon as she graduated high school with a lot of feelings of loss and feeling unwanted by her family especially her mother whom was dealing with Alexia's abusive father.

Alexia's long time High School friend Serena convinced her to come back home for their 10
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Year reunion. Alexia was also having some trouble with work at the fire department where they believed she was the cause of an incident and was suspended for a time and being treated poorly. So Alexia goes home.

Once home she finds out her mother is in the hospital but goes to the house firs to drop off her baggage and freshen up and to put it off a while before seeing her mother whom she has rarely spoken to in 10 years besides a few phone calls and messages and info from friends on how her mom is doing. When she arrives she hears a noise and goes to check it out only to find a man dead in her mother's basement. This starts quite the chain of events in Serena's life that will either end or change her life.

A great book with a lot of twists and turns some faith, some action, some romance and murder. What a great start to this series.
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LibraryThing member Becky_McKenna
This was a tough book to get through and I wavered between a two and three star rating. The writing is decent and the plot is good, but I was constantly jarred out of the story by the author's writing style. Things improved during the last half of the book, but I still feel like I'm being generous
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with three stars. To make it easy, I'm writing my review in 'list' style:

What I didn't like:

1. I loved that Alexia was a strong firefighter in the first chapter, but then she lost a lot of her confidence when she returned to Columbia. I get that she was on leave, and at the same time resolving childhood traumas, but she turned into a limp dishrag. After the first five damsel-in-distress rescues I had to force myself to keep reading.

2. Let's talk about the flow. When The Smoke Clears is fast paced, which is my favorite flavor in reading material, unless scenes change so abruptly that I miss the switch. Thankfully, this book had section dividers to mark these jarring moments. Other issues with pace/timing: Injuries would occur with unrealistic recovery times. Time stamps were on every chapter, which only drew my attention to the problem. C'mon...if I had just been through all the things Alexia had gone through, I would've told the reunion committee they could pound sand. No way would I have felt obligated to fulfill that commitment! Also, hospitals have TV's and newspapers. I can't believe that after several days Alexia's mother didn't find out about Devin's death on her own.

3. Weak character dialogue. Whenever Alexia wasn't being actively assaulted, shot at, chased, etc., it felt like the author didn't know what to do with her characters. It created sections of choppy, unrealistic dialogue that did nothing to help me bond with the characters. It's a fixable thing and I'm sure the author will improve or has already improved.

4. Unresolved ending. If you're going to have a plot carried out across your series, you need to have another clear, resolvable plot for each book. In this book, I wasn't sure exactly what plot would've been consider the book plot: Was it Alexia's fight for her job? Was it to find who was trying to kill her in Washington? Was it to find Jillian? Was it Alexia's memory issues about her childhood? Finding her father? Finding her brother? Finding out who is trying to frame her for murder? Who's trying to kill her now that she's home? What do they think she knows? Why did they try to kill Hunter Graham? It's a hot mess for awhile. Some minor things were addressed at the end, but without much explanation. It was a very abrupt ending. When it was over, I stared at my iPad and said, "That's it? Seriously?" Siri answered,"I'm not sure I understand."

Hmm... Interesting.

What I did like:

1. Things smoothed out about 45% into the book and reading was much more enjoyable. I knew to anticipate the action, or maybe I just learned the author's writing style.

2. The action and suspense scenes are really good. They aren't up there with Colleen Coble just yet, but I'm confident they will be in time. I'm certain of that. I can also tell that Ms. Eason has done her research on police procedure, which is evident by Hunter's behavior in the parking garage and many other scenes. Easy to understand police communication without being overly wordy or bogging down the plot. Nicely done.

3. I thought Detective Hunter Graham stole the show from Alexia a few times. I really liked his character after he stopped wavering about Alexia's innocence. He's complex; soft spoken when he needed to be, yet when the situation called for a protective Alpha Male, he could deliver that, too. He wasn't perfect, either, as shown by his doubts about Chad's innocence which made him more realistic.

4. Serena's 'notes' to Alexia. This was a neat touch and I LOVED it! What a subtle way to show a friend that you love them. I thought it was a very non-confrontational way of bringing God's Word to someone who's never read the Bible before. Great passage selections and Serena's notes were very touching, too.

Overall, the ratings for this book are very high. I will admit that I enjoyed parts of it despite the ending, but I can't say I'm ready to jump right into the next book. Therefore, I recommend that fans of Christian Fiction and Mystery/Suspense give it a try. It's worth a read, but I'd suggest borrowing a copy from your local library...just in case I'm having an off day.
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LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
I have read other books by Lynette Eason. This is the first book in this series. I have to admit, it grew on me.

I was very confused at the beginning (prologue) where we are at Alexia's graduation. At this point, we know little of her history, so it was hard for me to realize that there wasn't
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really a fire even though what sounds like a fire is described (apparently in Alexia's thoughts or memories).

It seemed a little odd to me that with a fire memory like that, Alexia would pursue firefighting and smoke jumping as a career, but . . .

After an incident at a fire that results in her temporary suspension, Alexia returns to her hometown for the first time since graduation. But trouble follows her. And only part of the trouble is resolved in this book (which is a little annoying, but . . . we'll see.)

Quite a few people seem able to "disappear" in this book--something that seems a lot harder in this day and age where social security numbers are needed for so many things, and there's so many cameras, and so much social media presence.

Dominic (Alexia's brother)--left home after being caught dealing drugs and doesn't contact Alexia (and doesn't appear to have contacted his mother either). We find out what he did in this book.

Alexia's Father (Greg?)--leaves her mother at some point and no one hears from him again (until Hunter tracks down some history during this book--but we still don't know exactly where he is.)

Jillian Carter--leaves town graduation night and vanishes for years--then contacts Serena out of the blue (apparently just prior to Alexia coming home). We get an idea of what she might be doing in this book but she's part of the section where the mystery isn't resolved too. Somehow, I suspect we won't know the full story until the last book of the series.

I did like that so many people of faith are in this book: Alexia's mother; Michael Stewart, a pastor and man who's seeing Alexia's mother; Hunter; Dominic; Devin (though we don't get to know him well); Serena. I agree with another reviewer that there are good discussions about faith without it feeling too "preachy". (Though if you're a reader who dislikes any mention of Christian faith in fiction then this is not the book for you.)
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