Review: Striking Distance by Pamela Clare

“I’m not done with you.” “I sure as hell hope not.”-First Strike

Striking Distance Pamela ClareSwedish-American broadcast journalist, Laura Nilsson, was stationed in Islamabad some eighteen months ago when she was abducted and reportedly beheaded by Saudi national leader, Al-Nassar and his terrorist group. Now, Senior Chief Navy Seal, Javier Corbray is on a mission with Delta Platoon to target the kill of Al-Nassar. Javier has no idea that Laura is still alive and held captive within Al-Nassar’s camp or that this attack mission will quickly turn to a recovery mission once he sets eyes on her again.

Laura and Javier had a brief history some two years ago when they met in a bar in Dubai. (Their meeting is told in First Strike, the prequel novella.) Javier recognized Laura “The Bagdag Babe” reporter (nicknamed by U.S. troops) and intervened when two Russian men began harassing her. What followed was dinner, conversation and a weekend of amazing sex. Both had agreed up front that there would be no strings to the weekend and even though they felt an undeniable chemistry, they left without plans to see each other again.

When the Delta Platoon attacked Al-Nassar’s camp, they not only came away with Al-Nassar but also an American hostage who yelled to one of the Seals for help when boarding the helicopter to pull out. Laura is the American hostage and Javier realizes it but Laura had no idea that Javier was a Navy Seal and given the uniform and camo-paint on his face, she does not recognize her rescuer.

Now, two years later, Laura is a reporter for the I-Team at the Denver Independent and is trying to resume a normal life after the trauma of being a hostage. She has testified at Al-Nassar’s trial in Washington D.C., and as a consequence, Al-Nassar has publicly demanded his people hunt Laura down and kill her.

Through mutual friends, Laura and Javier meet up again and after a bomb blows at her office, Javier believes that she has in fact been targeted by Al-Nassar’s men and is determined to protect her until all threats are eliminated. During their time together, Laura and Javier form a friendship and their initial attraction reignites. But after all of the sexual violence Laura faced during her captivity, she questions if she will ever feel comfortable with sexual intimacy again. And even still, a secret still haunts Laura that she is determined to keep private, even from Javier.

Striking Distance definitely has a heavier, darker tone throughout the majority of the book but it’s an intense ride and as the reader, you are never bored. Ms. Clare always delivers that heart racing adrenaline that so few authors can translate off the pages. Throughout the action, Ms. Clare gives us some humorous moments to cut through the dark tone as well as romantic moments that brought a new level of intimacy to Laura and Javier beyond the stereotypical sex scenes. Laura and Javier face a difficult and emotional road to find their HEA, however, both are strong characters individually and as they both learn over time, even stronger as a couple. Ms. Clare never hands over a HEA on a silver platter or with false pretenses but that is what makes her work so enthralling. The journey and authentic issues her characters overcome to find their happiness always pays off in the end.

Another enjoyable aspect this series is how Ms. Clare incorporates her prior characters into the current story. Clare’s characters are so richly developed, they are easy to invest in and are now staples in the ongoing stories. In other words, yes, I got me a little Marc Hunter time and whenever he entered a scene, I was all giddy with delight!

I would strongly suggest reading the prequel novella, First Strike, before beginning Striking Distance. In doing so, you will learn how Laura and Javier initially met and have a richer understanding of their physical and emotional connection that quickly developed during their sexy weekend in Dubai.

I still rank Ms. Clare’s I-Team series as some of the best Romantic Suspense written to date.

Fans of the I-Team series will not be disappointed in this latest installment.

Favorite Quote:

“He bent down and kissed her, giving her mother and grandmother an eyeful of grade-A Puerto Rican beefcake, complete with a manscaped package.”

Rating: A-
Striking Distance by Pamela Clare
November 5th 2013 by Berkley Sensation
GoodReads || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Sony || Kobo


  1. says

    i love military romance and romantic suspense one, this author was also more than often recommended to me… i’m tempted but this book ( because yes they need to work for their HEA) but at the same time i’m afraid i won’t like it because of what she suffered while being hostage so i will have to think more about this book before taking a decision

    thank you for the review and discover

      • Amy says

        The violence Laura endures during her captivity is not overly descriptive but it’s not ignored or lightly referenced in passing. Her rescue is how the book begins so the reader does not witness first hand Al Nassar’s abuse while she is his hostage. Ms. Clare focuses more on the psychological results/recovery; PTSD, emotional trauma from rape/abuse. Laura and Javier had such an intense, sexual connection when they first met in First Strike and Ms. Clare shows a realistic and slow progression of how Laura learns to trust and enjoy physical intimacy again with Javier. Hope that helps some.

  2. cheryl c. says

    This is another book that has been on my radar. I know that I would enjoy the romance and suspense, but I wonder about how difficult it might be to read the rough parts. Thanks for the tip about reading the prequel first.

    How would you say this book compares in angst/darkness/ violence to Maya Banks’ KGI series?

    • Amy says

      There are some similarities but I have enjoyed this series much more than Banks, KGI. After the first couple of KGI books I felt like the trauma the characters endured was more glossed over with too many over the top and cheesy moments. Ms. Clare doesn’t do over the top or cheese, at all. The I-Team series has always read/felt more authentic to me. Likely because of Ms. Clare’s personal background in journalism and the research she does when writing her books.

  3. He lycée says

    I love this series and was anxious to read this one tho it feels like we’ve waited 4ever for it. Unfortunately I’m at 72% and for me this one is not up to par with the ones that preceded it. I’ll c how the remaining 30% goes. She could still pull it off.

  4. Nishta says

    I only recently discovered this series and it’s absolutely phenomenal. I read them all in an alarmingly short period of time.

    This book is, for me, the best of the lot. It wasn’t vanilla or tidy with a rather bittersweet ending and I have to be honest, I cried a fair bit just reading about Laura’s difficulties post captivity. The characters are amazing and so real.

    My only issue with this novel is the mystery element of the story. I know that many people will be expecting this to be as much of a who-done-it puzzle type story as the previous instalments. It’s not. The perpetrator is rather random and easily taken care of. But it isn’t an issue for me because that’s not where the strength and heart of the novel lies. This is purely a character piece, with two people working hard to heal and to overcome an extraordinarily devastating circumstance. Highly recommended!

    I would also suggest reading the prequel first if you have the option. It helped me place a lot of the references in the novel in context and added an extra element of heartbreak by contrasting the relationship they once had with the one they have now.