Title: Daylight Again (Hell or High Water: Book 3)
Author: S.E. Jakes
Rating: 5/5 Smooches
This title is part of the Extreme Escapes, Ltd. universe.
Hell or High Water, #3
Prophet Drews is a man on the edge, and he’s pulling Tom Boudreaux, his partner on the job and in real life, right over with him. When his old CO calls in a favor, Prophet asks Tom to join the off-the-grid rescue. But the mission raises all of Prophet’s old ghosts: CIA assassins, the terrorist Sadiq, and most importantly, John — traitor, former teammate, and Prophet’s first love.
To help bury those ghosts for good, Prophet and Tom gather the members of Prophet’s former SEAL team . . . and a spook named Cillian who’s been tailing Prophet for years. In the process, Prophet is forced to face his team’s shifting loyalties, ghosts who refuse to stay dead, and scariest of all, his own limitations.
With everyone’s lives in danger, Prophet and Tom must unravel a tangled knot of secrets, including their own. Prophet must decide how much to reveal to Tom, while Tom must decide how far he’s willing to go to help Prophet lay his ghosts to rest.
Prophet Drews has intense nightmares, multiple times a night. He is tense, high strung and an emotional wreck, not to mention the PTSD. The friction between Prophet, his lover Tom Boudreaux, his teammates, especially Mal, and CIA spook Cillian is building. As always, the Seal team is ready to roll with its own unique brand of justice, mayhem and revenge.
With this third book in the Hell or High Water series, SE Jakes has again proven she is a master at plot manipulation, dialogue, action and tension. The James Thurber quote at the beginning of the book is very appropriate: “There are two kinds of light—the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.” In this case the light that is cast on the characters is a bit of both.
In Daylight Again, readers learn more of the truths behind the lies and obfuscations in the first two books. These veracities reveal the characters’ motivations. Although Tom has been connected with Prophet’s Seal team, he now has a clearer picture of what the team members had been doing over the years, and now he is fully invested in both the mission and in Prophet.
“And yes, Prophet was still an asshole. It was almost comforting. Almost. … Dealing with Prophet wasn’t entirely unlike dealing with a live grenade or a Claymore mine. You had to know when to ease off the pressure and when to stay firmly planted and unmoving so you didn’t die in the explosion. Then again, Tom supposed that Prophet would say that dealing with Tom wasn’t all that different.”
John Morse and the terrorist Sadiq are still in the wind, and Prophet is strung tighter than a brand new tennis racket. The purpose of this review is not to give away any of the secrets or reveal any of the intimacies that are woven throughout this book. Suffice it to say that there are some amazing reveals in this book and the conflicts and action will keep readers on the edge of their seats from the first chapter of the book. Jakes is a master at foreshadowing and irony, which is even more apparent in this book.
The relationship and interactions of Prophet and Tom are even more intense and passionate in this third book. Whether they are fighting, having sex or ignoring each other, the tension seems to sizzle from the pages.
“He was about to leave Prophet alone so his own anger of being the last to know—true or not—wouldn’t take over. It wasn’t the time for that now. But he was hit with that goddamned voodoo feeling, the same one he’d gotten when he’d told Prophet to have his eyes checked. And Prophet was watching him, like he fucking knew. And Tom truly understood, for maybe the first time, how much it sucked to have Prophet know him so damned well. Love and hate, like Prophet said.”
It is important to read this series of books in order to really appreciate the characters, their camaraderie and their motivations. In this series, Jakes has created a series of multi-dimensional characters that sometimes let their emotions dictate their actions, even though they are professional killers. Tom is still the odd man out but he intends to prove himself to these men even if it kills him in the process.
“So Tom relaxed, as much as he could, given all the circumstances, and watched the group dynamics, pictured these men in happier days—on the battlefield, in the mess hall, on leave. They were simply easy with one another and these weren't easy men. There was King, with his ever-present dark skullcap and blue-green eyes that almost looked see-through, along with his promised shadow, Ren, a stocky blond with piercing green eyes and a palpable energy buzzing around him. Tom got the feeling that if Ren really wanted to, he could lead all the people out of this club and off a cliff, and they would gladly go, drinking, laughing, dancing the entire time. As evidenced by the fact that Ren himself was happily on a table, drinking. Dancing. Laughing.
The men talked in the kind of shorthand born from knowing one another for years. Tom knew there was a plan forming, and he grasped bits of it, but the edges were still fuzzy for him. He knew Prophet would explain it later, but he wanted to get this. Needed to understand so he could help. He gained the most points with Mal—or maybe lost them—when he spotted Cillian before Mal did. He mouthed the spook’s name, and Mal straightened, glared—but whether it was aimed at Tom or Cillian, he couldn’t tell. With two signs at the men that Tom didn’t really get, Mal was gone. When Tom looked up, so was Cillian.”
In Daylight Comes Again, there is some closure to events that took place in Catch a Ghost and Long Time Gone, but this book does not bring an end to the major conflicts and turmoil. Tom and Prophet are magnificent characters and the plot, as it is in the previous books, is action-packed. The further development of the characters of Mal and Cillian in this book bring extra heat and, of course, anxiety. But the unease between Cillian and Mal is nothing compared to the tension between Cillian and Tom and Prophet, especially when Prophet realizes secrets are being kept from him.
These men are far from perfect, and that is what makes the characters so appealing. Their tragic flaws are palpable, and Jakes does a great job showing both the strength and vulnerability of her men. Not only was the exposition action-packed, but the dialogue was as well. There is a lot of dialogue in this book, which makes this a brisk read. These men worm their way into the reader’s brain and stay there lurking in the background long after the last page of the book.
The world that Jakes has created is violent and teeming with pressure and sexuality. Jakes is a masterful storyteller and a wonderful writer. Her style is realistic and gritty, and she has the ability to grab a reader around the throat and force him or her to hang on for the ride. In the Hell or High Water series, Jakes has created a brutal world, which, surprisingly, contains aggression and compassion. The love and loyalty the men share for each other is unparalleled.
*Reviewer Note: Thank you to SE Jakes for providing advanced review copy of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.