REVIEW: Colton First Responder by Linda O. Johnston

Posted December 8th, 2022 by in Blog, Harlequin Mills&Boon, Review, Romantic Suspense / 0 comments

Colton First Responder by Linda O. Johnston is the fourth book in the Colton’s of Mustang Valley series; each book is written by a different author. I’ve previously only read the second book in the series, and I do recommend reading these in order. There’s an ongoing storyline regarding Payne, the father, who has been shot and is in a coma, as well as Ace, the oldest son, having been switched at birth. When I read the second book, I did feel like I was missing the background about these events since I had not read the first, and I feel this will be the case if you start the series with this book.

Grayson Colton had always felt like an outsider in the Colton family; he wanted nothing to do with Colton Oil. Instead, he struck out on his own and started a first responder company, assisting police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel when needed. When an earthquake strikes and he discovers a police van, he searches the area to see if there was an injured prisoner that needed help. He finds Savannah Oliver, who he knows somewhat because their families ran in the same social circles. She’s been accused of killing her husband, despite a body not having been found. Convinced her husband is still alive and setting her up, she begs Grayson to help her prove her innocence.

I thought the premise of the story was interesting, but the execution fell flat. I think part of it was that I had a hard time believing that Grayson would automatically believe Savannah was innocent without really knowing her and what kind of person she was. He then proceeds to help her hide out from the police, putting not only his own reputation on the line, but that of his company and his employees.

I did feel for Savannah though. She had pretty much been forced into the marriage by her father, and her husband wasn’t faithful. I admired her determination to prove her innocence. Even when things looked bad, she didn’t let it keep her down or distract her from her goal to gain her freedom.

Some things weren’t fully explained, such as why Grayson felt like he was always the black sheep of the family. Was it just because he wanted nothing to do with the family company? I could see why that would put distance between him and his father, but not really with his siblings. It sounded like he was never close to them, and it just didn’t feel like there was a reason for it.

Then there’s the mystery man who shows up claiming to be the actual first-born Colton child that was switched at birth. No one questions it; they just invite him to a family dinner. At the family dinner, readers aren’t treated to any of the conversation the family has with this man. It would have been nice to see how Ace, the one switched but raised as a Colton, reacted to him. It would have also to been interesting to see how the other siblings reacted to his presence there and how they all interacted with one another. One would think this would have been a pivotal scene since it’s the first time they’re all together, yet it’s just glossed over as if it were nothing.

I was also confused as to why Grayson let his former stepmother get to him. When he goes to see his father at the hospital, she comes out and insults him. He just turns around and leaves. Why? It was his father, and she was no longer married to Payne. In fact, he was married to someone else. Grayson had more of a right to be there than she did. This happens twice. Instead of confronting her and making a stand, he walks away from her. I’m also left wondering what she has over Payne, as she’s still employed with the family company and is actually living in a house on Colton land.

Despite my issues with it, I still thought it was a decent read even though it’s not my favorite of the series so far. If you’re willing to overlook the issues I’ve listed, the suspense in the story was well written. I believe fans of romantic suspense will enjoy that aspect of the book.

Book Info:

Publication: February 1, 2020 | Harlequin Romantic Suspense | Colton’s of Mustang Valley #4

When an earthquake hits Mustang Valley, first responder Grayson Colton finds an abandoned truck—and a fugitive in need of help. Savannah Oliver claims she’s been falsely accused of her husband’s murder. Grayson’s protective instincts come out in full force as he helps Savannah prove her innocence. But as Savannah’s past comes back to haunt her, Grayson must use every survival tactic he knows to keep them both alive.



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