Book Review: The Escape by Lisa Harris
This action-adventure with a side of romantic suspense is marketed as Christian, but I’ll just note up front that it’s not overtly so. The religious side of thing is limited to saying grace before meals and mentions of church group activities, which frankly is a good thing. I really have a pet hate for evangelising in books that are supposed to be about something else entirely.
US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are partnered up to escort a prisoner transfer flight from Seattle to Denver. A plane crash leaves them stranded in the wilderness, with a dangerous prisoner on the run they have to track down before anyone gets hurt. Madison has a major backstory - her husband was murdered five years ago and his killer has never been caught - which is obviously going to play a significant role in this series, as the book ends on something of a cliffhanger.
There’s a lot to like about this story. Madison is extremely capable, brave and smart, and willing to step into tricky situations to give her team the best chance at achieving their objective. She calls Jonas on his tendency to try to protect her, too. She’s a strong female protagonist by definition.
Which is why it bothered me so much that it was always Madison who got hurt. She and Jonas both were going into dangerous situations but it was Madison who was shot, hit, fell into a river etc. Never Jonas. And that was conscious authorial choice, as it was for Jonas to be the one who actually got to get the final decisive action with respect to catching the fugitive, in effect stealing the moment Madison had worked so hard and suffered for. And then he also got to turn up in the nick of time to save her at the cliffhanger, too.
This really started to bother me after a while. It was contradictory; on the one hand here is Madison being capable and brave, and on the other, she’s being ‘punished’ for it by constantly getting injured and having to be rescued by Jonas on more than one occasion. I think the author might have some internalised issues to unpack there.
There are hints that a romance might develop between Jonas and Madison, mainly when we are in Jonas’ POV and he’s hinting that he might have romantic feelings for her, but it hasn’t developed into anything really by the end of this book. The plotline seemed pretty well resolved (though we never did find out why the plane crashed) with the overarching mystery of who killed Madison’s husband obviously going to continue through the series. Overall, a good read, but I’m marking it down to 4 stars because of the issues I had with the contradictions in Madison’s portrayal.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.