Review + Giveaway: The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

The Darkest Hour
by Maya Banks
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Available: September 7, 2010
Genre: Romantic Suspense

It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.

His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond …until he receives an anonymous phone call claiming Rachel is alive.

To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

“Your wife is alive.”  If you received a note like that on the anniversary of a loved one’s death, would you believe it? Would you believe in second chances?  This is the chilling start to The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks.

Ethan Kelly has just returned from visiting the grave of his dead wife, Rachel.  It’s been exactly one year since her death and he still mourns her deeply. All he wants to do is drown his grief in liquor and numb himself enough to have the rest of the day slip by in a haze.  Once Ethan opens the FedEx package that arrived earlier in the day, the bottom of his world drops out and the numbness he initially sought is an afterthought.  The package contains documents, pictures and a simple note that reads “Your wife is alive.”  What Ethan quickly learns is that a woman who looks exactly like his wife is being held in a hellhole in the South American jungle.  Ethan’s emotions spin out of control after seeing the information.  Fury and hope.  He is torn between it being a sick joke and the possibility that his wife might actually be alive.  Ethan immediately takes the information to his brothers, Sam, Garrett and Donovan who run a special ops group, KGI, knowing that they will help him find the truth.  KGI is a private, rescue and recovery team that is trained to go into extreme situations and kill or blow up anyone or anything that gets in their way.  Ethan, his brothers and KGI back-up travel to the remote jungle, ambush the camp and sure enough find that it is Rachel that has been in captivity for a year.  Thanks to her captors who have been forcing drugs in her system to subdue her, Rachel is addicted to heroin, which has also caused her to have partial amnesia. When Rachel is rescued she vaguely remembers Ethan and Garrett but the reasons are sketchy, though she does have a sense that she is safe with them and that they care for her.  After returning home to the States, Rachel focuses on overcoming her drug addiction, her emotional frailty and her broken memories and nightmares of her past.  Ethan is overwhelmed that he may have a second chance with his wife, but is also hiding a secret that could be detrimental to his future with Rachel if all her memories return.  And though Rachel is back home, she is not out of harms way.

Ms. Banks conveys a complex and intense bundle of emotions as the Kelly family tries to rebuild a relationship with Rachel who doesn’t remember them. While the family sees it as a miracle to reconnect with the woman they have come to love as a daughter and sister,they also struggle with the guilt and anger of her captivity and the fact that they all believed she was dead.  All six Kelly brothers (the KGI brothers and Nathan and Joe who are at home on leave from deployment overseas), as well as their parents, have strong personalities. And the Kelly family is a tight, close unit that covers each others backs.  We see a vivid display of love and protectiveness toward Rachel by not only Ethan, but all the brothers. There is also great focus on the reconnection both physically and emotionally between Ethan and Rachel as they try to reestablish their marriage.

I have been a fan of Ms. Banks since reading her Sweet series (erotica) and all of my friends know that Damon from Sweet Persuasion owns me!  So naturally I jumped at the chance to review her first romantic suspense book in the KGI series. While this story is not of the erotica genre, Ms. Banks still delivered passionate, intimate and sexual moments between Ethan and Rachel. They shared an intense attraction, an almost magnetic chemistry that made them crave the other’s comfort and touch.  So in many ways there were erotic moments, but on a deeper level.  In the end Ms. Banks creates a heartfelt story of love, loss, overcoming extreme adversity and forgiveness.  She also gives us a look into the individuality of the other five brothers as well as a “stray” who ends up becoming a part of the Kelly family.  With this cast of strong, believable characters, I look forward to more of the fierce and sexy Kelly brothers!

Favorite Quote:

“Will you take a bath with me?” she blurted.

He blinked in surprise, and for a long moment he didn’t say anything.  He seemed to struggle with exactly what to say, how to respond.

“You used to wash my hair, I remember you touching me.”

Fire built in his eyes, sparking the blue until it resembled a storm front.

“Are you sure, baby?  I don’t want to do anything to make you uncomfortable.”

She shrugged, hating the awkwardness of asking her husband, her husband, to be intimate with her again.

“I just want you to hold me.”

Other books in the series:

No Place to Run December 7, 2010
Hidden Away March 2011

Other reviews on GoodReads

Author’s Website

Purchase Links: Amazon || Book Depository


I have one copy of The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks to giveaway.  Leave a comment on Amy’s review for entry with email address if it’s not part of your profile.  (Go ahead and comment even if you don’t want to enter, just indicate that you don’t want to be entered.)  Giveaway is open until Sept. 17, winner announced soon after.  Open to everyone.


  1. says

    This sounds like a really good read.

    Not only a thriller with the rescue of the hostage but also a lookat amnesia andrela tionships.

    I would love to get my hands on it if the giveaway is open Internationally.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  2. says

    This sounds like a really good read that gets you emotionally involved with the characters & their circumstances. Great review! I'd love to be entered to win a copy. Thanks.


  3. says

    Great Review! Can't wait to read this book. Maya Banks is one of my favorite authors. Second in line to Lora Leigh. Her sex scenes are SMOKIN' HOT!

  4. says

    I've already read rave reviews about The Darkest Hour and am really excited to see Maya venture out into the romantic suspense genre! I'm loving the covers that have been released for the series and I'm totally looking forward to reading them! :)

  5. says

    Very nice review. I was drawn in by the blurb on her new book of this new series, and also knew it sounded like an roller coaster of intense emotions. Ms. Banks's characters are believable and The Darkest Hour sounds like its going to be a wonderful read. Please enter me.

    armiefox at yahoo dot com

  6. says

    I'd love to read this one, review after review have been very positive. Second chance romance is oen of my favorite themes, esp. when it's about an already married couple.

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

  7. says

    Fantastic review! It makes me want to start this series now! I also love Maya's books and writing, they're awesome so please count me in! Thanks for the giveaway!


  8. says

    Sounds great. I would love to be entered. I giggled at the part where she wanted him to was her hair…wow. no one washes my hair but me. hmmm

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  9. says

    Great review. Since I first heard of this book I wanted to read it.I love Maya's books.
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  10. says

    Great review! You pointed out a lot of interesting things. I've heard–along with your review–other good things about this book. So pretty please sign me up.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  11. says

    I just bought one of her books, "Colter's Woman, (I also read the short story at her site)

    I like her writing style a lot.
    So after looking around her website I see this is the first book in the KGI series.

    I would love to read this and your review plus the excerpt makes it me want it more.
    Please put my name in the hat.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. says

    This is brilliant. And I'm loving you loving that quote, she's managing sweet and sensual. I really enjoyed your review, I thought it did also a slightly better described version than anyone could pull of. Impressive! I have my fingers and toes crossed :)

  13. says

    I came by to tell you I just got an award and I'm to pass it on to new blogs I think are awesome…so I'm passing it on to you. Come by and get your award. It's o.k., if your blog page is an award free page…just leave the award where it is, but know I like your blog and thought it worthy of such an award.


  14. says

    I recently added this to my must buy list, so I was pleased to read your review. Nicely done.

    For some reason I feel like I've read it before. It might have been Under the Wire and Into the Dark by Cindy Gerard. If I remember correctly a character was introduced in Under the Wire then got her own book in Into the Dark.
    sdcooper54(at)yahoo dot com

  15. says

    Hi! :) I definitely want to be entered. . . I really like the premise of it, it's a married couple, but it's not the usual sort of already married couple romance that you see. . . so I definitely want to try it!: )


  16. says

    Great review!

    I sure want to know why Rachel was kidnapped in the first place (if the book reveals that fact).


  17. says

    Can you belive I've never read anything yb Maya Banks so far? The Darkest Hour sounds a great read, it's promising you liked it so much.

    Please enter me too in the giveaway.

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com