Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Nestled in the forest surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona, Mountain Shadows offers residents and guests a home and refuge. A year ago, the isolated retreat, with its log cabins and stone lodge, could boast a convalescing new owner, one employee, two long-term tenants, and an uncertain future. As others joined the rag-tag collection and made the hideaway their home, tentative beginnings morphed into friendships…and finally into a family of sorts.
Over this past year, the perfect place for hiding became a sanctuary for healing, as one-by-one the residents discovered that learning to live in the light with a family you choose is better than shrouding yourself in loneliness. But just as everyone seems to settle into a new normal, shadows from the past drag one of their members back into the darkness and the fallout threatens their carefully constructed new beginnings.
Now, the family they’ve created there must band together to protect each other from someone determined to destroy the lives they’ve worked so hard to reclaim.
Pulp Friction 2014. Four authors. Twenty-four books. One fiery finale.
The time has come once more to say goodbye to another fantastic Pulp Friction Series and to say these authors did it with flare, heat and hot sexy men goes without question. I’m always amazed at how four authors are able to mesh eight (sometimes nine) characters, four couples stories, and still maintain a balanced whole in terms of plot and characterizations. Yet, for the second year, the Pulp Friction gang has done it again. Pulp Friction 2014 was the Elemental Connections year. It had Laura Harner’s Fighting Fire, Lee Brazil’s In From the Cold, Havan Fellow’s Whispering Winds and T. A. Webb’s Earthquake series, with a wonderful conglomeration of characters, romances, and heartbreaking suspense. And it all took place on top of a mountain outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Even now its hard to say which characters I love the most, they are so varied and had so many different paths to HEA this series. Certainly Rowen Smith with his long black hair, deep connection to the woods around him and dark past,is close to the top. He just resonated with me as did his eventual lover, Mick Rutger, who went from the human equivalent of a Golden Retriever to something older, wiser, and more substantial. How I loved them both (thank you, Havan Fellows).
But I can no more say that then Charlie Turner and Amos Greene pop into mind (thank you, Tom Webb). Their journey towards happiness contained stark terror, abject pain, and astonishing revelations. Webb kept me in tears and in the dark for long periods of time during the slow roll out of his Earthquake stories. You never knew if monster or angel would be around the corner for these two along with Charlie’s brother Damon (loved him too). Sometimes the heartbreak comes from the last person you would expect, another theme that runs through all the stories here.
Brazil’s Professor of Literature Finn Lorensson and Dr. Cannon Malloy (originally from FR2013, thank you, Lee Brazil) were sometimes the hardest personalities for me to get a grasp on. Finn, a gorgeous hulk of a man had a deep need to rescue others, even at the cost to himself and his relationships. Cannon? To say he started off self absorbed, fearful and more than a little damaged by the events in Atlanta would be like calling coal black. It goes without saying that Finn was smitten immediately, but Cannon? Not so much. During much of the series their tentative relationship acted more like Dr. Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu. They were joined together but never quite going (or facing) the same direction. I loved that Cannon finally learned to embrace his sexuality (with a little eyeliner and flare) and accept Finn with all that entailed.
Finally there is Laura Harner’s former firefighter Scott McGregor reuniting with his college lover,Robby Hammond, at Scott’s hospital bed. A wildfire that ends Scott’s career and costs the life of most of his team is also what brings Scott’s only love back to him. Harner made us believe in their tortured past so the reader easily invests in these damaged men and any potential hope for a future together. So much trauma involved here, Scott’s PTSD, his injuries and loss of career, survivor’s guilt and yes, more secrets from his and Robby’s past pushing hard to come out. Plus its Scott’s Mountain Shadows Campground that acts as the heart and location for all these stories to unfold. I came to love Mountain Shadows just as much as its residents did. If there was a heart and center of all the couples it was Scott and Robby. They are the beginning of a new family and I loved them dearly (thank you, Laura Harner).
The penultimate stories in each series came with a certain amount of personal (or physical) explosions and exposition leading up to this. A mystery of who was behind all the arson and attacks happening at the campgrounds had to be solved, along with more than a few personal demons still to be put to rest, including Scott being blamed for the fires himself. How did it all turn out? Splendidly!
It’s hard seeing this group of stories come to an end. I wasn’t ready. But all the characters pull their dramatic weight in the last story. Each author gives their couple the right amount of “time on stage” to tie up loose ends and push them forward. I did wish that one little aspect, a total villain dies in a manner that didn’t feel as solid as the other revelations that surfaced here. That was the only bit of weakness that I could see. Everything else felt believable, rational, and happily fulfilling for all.
Am I going to go into details? No, absolutely not. Even the smallest of facts can lead to large spoilers, so don’t go looking for them here. Instead if you are new to the Pulp Friction gang, what joys await you. You have not one but two years of interconnected series to catch up on. The first took place in Atlanta GA, the second (Elemental Connections) in Flagstaff, AZ, and the third? This years Pulp Friction 2015 is a group of supernatural tales taking place in New Orleans in Harner and Webb’s Altered States universe. What’s that, you say? Well stay tuned as next week, all the Pulp Friction gang will be here to talk finale, Altered States, and the new stories starting to arrive.
For those of you who have been gobbling up these stories as quickly as they come out, you will love this series finale! It’s hot, suspenseful, a little scary and wonderfully over the top…of the mountain, that is. I loved it and think you will too. Grab it up and get prepared for the supernatural goings on in New Orleans. I’m through the first story already and it’s a doozy!
Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect. It still brands the series with the logo and the coloring and graphics are perfect for the series finale and title.
Published January 14th 2015 by Hot Corner Press
About Pulp Friction 2014 – All stories are reviewed here at STRW.
Pulp Friction 2014 Authors: Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb
The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.
The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment. The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:
Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by TA Webb
Flare-up (Fighting Fire #4) by Laura Harner
Out In The Cold (In From the Cold #4) by Lee Brazil
Blown Chance (Whispering Winds #4) by Havan Fellows
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) by T.A. Webb
Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) by Laura Harner
Cold Day in Hell (In From the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) by Havan Fellows
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb
Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors coming in December.
Shadows and Ash (Pulp Friction 2014 Finale)
Side Stories or Interludes:
Taking Chances by Lee Brazil (a In From the Cold story)
Wicked Winds (Whispering Winds 3.5) by Havan Fellows – bonus book, Whispering Winds
Frankie’s Knight (Elemental Connections: IV) (Earthquake #3.5)
Kismet & Cartwheels – bonus book, Fighting Fire