When books get offered up to me to read and review for my readers here at BadGroove- I do it with trepidation because everyone has books that are their “type” and books that aren’t their taste. I realize that just because I enjoyed delving into that particular author’s world doesn’t mean you will. I do try to keep the books that I do review at least loosely related to racing of some sort- whether that be fiction or non-fiction- since that is the main focus of BadGroove. When I agreed to review THE RACE by Gina Fava- I did so with my usual reserve, knowing only that the book’s main character was an F1 driver and well the title was THE RACE so…it sounded like something I might like to read.
The first thing I did when I got it is that I read the back jacket- which as most do gives an overview of the plot of the book (I will be giving you my own soon). I will tell you this- if I had been browsing at a bookstore (something- unfortunately I do much less than I would like because there aren’t really any bookstores around here- isn’t that sad?) I would most likely NOT have picked up this book. Judging by the synopsis on the jacket I had already decided that this book was probably NOT my thing and thus was going to be a chore to read- and likely review. However, since I had already promised a review and I didn’t really have anything else to read- I decided to give it a start and let me tell you I AM SO GLAD I DID! Lesson learned: Not only can you not judge a book by it’s cover- but sometimes not by it’s synopsis either. Or maybe I enjoyed reading this particular book because it was a little bit different than what I usually read. Either way- I think you will enjoy this book.
THE RACE focuses around a main character- Devlin “Lucky” Lucchesi. Very soon into the book you find out that Devlin is much more than meets the eye: he’s a loving husband, devoted father, and just happens to be a seven-time F1 champion half way to his (record) eighth championship. However, Devlin’s also an ex-Army Ranger who served in the first Persian Gulf war and what looks like your average pit crew/race team is anything but. Devlin’s race team is made up of all the members of his (ex)Army Rangers unit (as well as some family members) but they do much much more than service his winning F1 machine. They, along with Devlin, make up the HELL Rangers- a covert special operations team based in Rome. When I read that on the back of the book- my brain turned off. I was sure that I wouldn’t like this book- because I am not big on special ops/military fiction/spy fiction- it is so NOT usually by bag of tea. That made it hard for me read the first couple of chapters- but I soon found myself drawn into the story that Gina Fava weaves and falling in love with the characters as she weaved it.
There are some background chapters to start, but to me the story really starts with Devlin waiting at a cafe to discuss his most recent win at Monte Carlo (the weekend before) with BBC correspondent Ana Malia. A group of “tourists” pouring over a map of local attractions catches his eye but he can’t quite place where he has seen them before. His training has him keeping a vigilant eye on the group while he chats with Ana. Later that morning- Devlin witnesses an explosion at the nearby train station- the very train station that his beloved wife Ella was picking up her visiting family from. So begins an international terror plot that intertwines Delvin’s past and present as well as his future, when Devlin and the HELL Rangers discover that the terrorist has kidnapped his young son- partially as an insurance policy for his sinister plan and partially as vengeance against Devlin for a transgression in their linked path.
When I read a book I like to delve into that book’s world- that author crafted that world particularly for me and I like to immerse myself into it when I read. Reading often provides me with a source of escapism I love and it’s that escapism that I look for and crave when I read. An F1 driver who is part of some sort of covert special operations team is something that I would have considered not my type of book- and thus I was positive I would have trouble getting into the book and getting that “escapism” that marks a good book to me. That I soon found myself engaged and wrapped up into the plot of this book, separates THE RACE from other books! After all, I was soon wrapped up into the plot right there along side the HELL Rangers as they search Rome for Devlin’s son, disarming bomb after bomb as they go. I ran along side them, hoping that WE would not be too late in finding Devlin’s son, wondering who WE could trust and who we couldn’t, and equally devastated when members of OUR team fall in the fight. It is exciting to me that this book is just the first in a series of HELL Ranger Thrillers- and knowing that I can see parts of the plot as laying the groundwork for what I hope will be an engaging, exhilarating series of books.
For “full disclosure”: I did receive a complimentary copy of THE RACE for review purposes from the author.
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