Malicious Intent

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Malicious Intent (Defend and Protect #2)


Lynn H. Blackburn


Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Publication Date:

March 2022




352 pages


The last thing Secret Service Agent Gil Dixon expects is to meet Ivy Collins again. He’s had decades to forget how she disappeared from his life at age 17—and how her mother stole from his family. When forged currency turns up in her company’s bank account, he visits her to see what’s going. He arrives in time to rescue her from kidnappers demanding information about her company. Now, Ivy and Gil have to stick together as they determine who’s pursuing her… and whether that person wants her company’s new invention or something bigger. Something only a handful of people know about.

Once again, Blackburn does a fine job mixing forensic thriller (federal agents, cyberattacks, car chases and kidnappings) with romance (old flames stumbling into each other’s lives, fraught conversations where they clear the air, talking about how foolish it is to still be crazy for each other after all these years). While the story doesn’t have a historical romance setting, it makes overt references to L.M. Montgomery (Gil is named for Gilbert Blythe, stolen letters are hidden in a copy of Anne of Green Gables, etc.). Since the story is about facing a past that involves facing parents’ sins, there’s more than a hint that Blackburn is applying gothic/romance tropes to her tale. The backstory itself is clever and more compelling than in many similar books. Unfortunately, Blackburn undercuts the drama by communicating the backstory in conversation rather than flashbacks. Her approach keeps the book from becoming a melodrama but sells the plot short.

In the end, this book is less than the sum of its parts, but still a fun ride.



3 stars

Suggested Audience:

Christian readers who enjoy romantic thrillers with a forensic crime emphasis.

Christian Impact:

Various characters attend church, pray and consider questions about where God is in the midst of their current dilemmas. Also a strong emphasis on reconciliation, via the main characters learning to overcome their past mistakes.

Malicious Intent (Defend and Protect, #2)

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