Seconds to Live (Homeland Heroes, #1)
When cybercriminals hack into the U.S. Marshal's Witness Protection database and auction off personal details to the highest bidder, FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. Trouble is, he has to work with U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills, who knows the secrets of his past, and the seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

Seconds to Live (Homeland Heroes, #1) Details

TitleSeconds to Live (Homeland Heroes, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 3rd, 2019
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764233951
Rating
GenreChristian Fiction, Suspense, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance

Seconds to Live (Homeland Heroes, #1) Review

  • Necee
    January 1, 1970
    “Most people didn’t have a clue that only five percent of the internet was available for public viewing, with many private, hidden layers making up the remaining percentage. The dark web was one of those layers where criminals set up shop and prospered by selling illegal products and services.”A darkly compelling read of the underground world known as the dark web. Susan Sleeman gives a powerful story in the fight against illegal activities through this new Homeland Heroes Series. The story “Most people didn’t have a clue that only five percent of the internet was available for public viewing, with many private, hidden layers making up the remaining percentage. The dark web was one of those layers where criminals set up shop and prospered by selling illegal products and services.”A darkly compelling read of the underground world known as the dark web. Susan Sleeman gives a powerful story in the fight against illegal activities through this new Homeland Heroes Series. The story itself is worth the read just for the intricate nature of these illegal activities. It helped my understanding of the fight our justice system has in stopping cybercriminal activity on so many layers.That being said, after reading Seconds to Live, I found this one wasn’t my favorite. Though it was a good storyline, I just didn’t connect with the characters. It was written more technical/suspenseful, which was interesting, but for my romance loving heart it was a little lacking in the romantic connection. I believe it was a real struggle trying to capture the feelings between the two main characters since they were more online friends. Though Sean and Taylor worked well together, I found they questioned their relationship/not relationship too much. However, it probably does represent how hard it would be going from an online connection to navigating it face to face. I loved how their relationship with God is worked through. How they call each other out on their lack of trust and their need to trust God more. “God has a purpose, you know. A reason. And we need to trust that He’s in charge and has a plan here.” That even when they are failing, they can trust He’s got their backs. Sleeman does a wonderful job in moving them past their fears into a deeper Godly relationship.I am looking forward to more of this series. I’m hopeful that the next book in the series captures my romantic heart again. I love Susan Sleeman for engaging mystery and romance, so I’ll be back! If you love this style of read, you will also enjoy Lisa Phillips series the Northwest Counter-Terrorism Task Force starting with first book First Wave. Another great series on homeland security not to be missed.I was provided a NetGalley copy of this book by Bethany House. All opinions in this review are my own.
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    'Trust me, I know what I'm doing. I have more training and experience than any of them.'When a cybercriminal hacks into the WITSEC program and begins auctioning off personal details to the highest bidder, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals must race to try and uncover the identity of the hacker before all the witnesses in the program are compromised or killed. FBI Agent Sean Nichols must work with U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills, and they only know each other from an online presence. They now have to work 'Trust me, I know what I'm doing. I have more training and experience than any of them.'When a cybercriminal hacks into the WITSEC program and begins auctioning off personal details to the highest bidder, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals must race to try and uncover the identity of the hacker before all the witnesses in the program are compromised or killed. FBI Agent Sean Nichols must work with U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills, and they only know each other from an online presence. They now have to work against the clock and form a bond that will help them catch this devious hacker and now murderer before more people die.Susan Sleeman is a go-to author for me for suspense. She is good at what she does, no doubt about it. I love how she brings in the technical details of each branch of law enforcement into the mix to make it even more interesting. The story builds excitement with each chapter and races to an exciting conclusion. I highly recommend this book. I am now eagerly awaiting more in Sleeman's Homeland Heroes series.*My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a preview copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
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  • Libby May
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my where to start. Well this one was so much fun. I was hooked from chapter one!Since I just read Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard, my brain automatically compared the two, especially since both came out the top as five star reads for me. This one was better juuuust a little (because I read it most recently?)The plot line was interesting. It was a good first book to a series, but the plot line in the book itself as a standalone was sturdy and firm and (as opposed to Always Look Twice) I Oh my where to start. Well this one was so much fun. I was hooked from chapter one!Since I just read Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard, my brain automatically compared the two, especially since both came out the top as five star reads for me. This one was better juuuust a little (because I read it most recently?)The plot line was interesting. It was a good first book to a series, but the plot line in the book itself as a standalone was sturdy and firm and (as opposed to Always Look Twice) I really liked the ending of this one. All the loose ends tied up nicely, at least the ones that didn't extend to the next book.The characters were so well done. XD I loved Sean as a character. He was pretty awesome. I didn't fall for him as a fiction boyfriend though. He was too quick and bossy for my personal preferences. Taylor was awesome. Her complex build up and backstory and her passion and quiet strength just blended together so well! I can't even describe how well done she was.Content: As a suspense there were two murders described, though not overly details (Still, discretion advised) There were a few intense scenes that could be stressful. Hacker was paranoid and rash and threatened lives. The romantic tension in this book was quite a bit higher in this book than in Always Look Twice. The dynamics between Taylor and Sean were reeeeeal. Sparks were there for sure. We watched them fly. Sean noticed Taylor's body, but not in an inappropriate way. There were several hand holdings, two detailed kisses and a couple not-detailed kisses. There was suggestion and encouragement for a character to get hypnosis treatment to retrieve memories which personally goes against my beliefs, and I just wanted to put it out there for whoever else would want to avoid that. It's not described in the book and not preformed on screen, but it was portrayed in a positive light.Five stars from me! I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review, positive review was not required and all opinions are my own!
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  • Kelly Bridgewater
    January 1, 1970
    Suspense is my ultimate genre of choice. I love when a story keeps me guessing from page one. Susan Sleeman's first novel with Bethany House Publishers' Seconds to Live captured my attention from the first page. Sleeman thrusts readers into the suspense with a shove and a chase through the town. The procedure to find the Phantom is detailed and makes readers trust the hero and heroine as they work together to follow the clues. The plot was wonderfully woven together. The only issue I had with Suspense is my ultimate genre of choice. I love when a story keeps me guessing from page one. Susan Sleeman's first novel with Bethany House Publishers' Seconds to Live captured my attention from the first page. Sleeman thrusts readers into the suspense with a shove and a chase through the town. The procedure to find the Phantom is detailed and makes readers trust the hero and heroine as they work together to follow the clues. The plot was wonderfully woven together. The only issue I had with the plot is that the Phantom is introduced in the first chapter to start the action, but I wanted and needed more background on what he has done. Maybe a actual scene of when he butchered his previous partner I kept waiting for a scene where the Phantom showed his feelings. Something to give me a moment to empathize with the villain. The romance sprinkled a little as the story progressed into the predictable ending. Overall, Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman is a fast pace glance into the world into the dangers of computer hacking while showing the inner workings of a hunt for a killer. I received a complimentary copy of Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "Seconds to Live" is a Christian romantic suspense novel. I've enjoyed this author's previous books, but she unfortunately hit every one of my major pet peeves in this book. Taylor's very devoted to her job of protecting witnesses, and she's willing to stand up to others to make sure they stay safe. This put her in conflict with Sean, who needed her witness to help track down a hacker that broke into the witness protection database and threatens the safety of all of the witnesses in the program. "Seconds to Live" is a Christian romantic suspense novel. I've enjoyed this author's previous books, but she unfortunately hit every one of my major pet peeves in this book. Taylor's very devoted to her job of protecting witnesses, and she's willing to stand up to others to make sure they stay safe. This put her in conflict with Sean, who needed her witness to help track down a hacker that broke into the witness protection database and threatens the safety of all of the witnesses in the program.Though they were supportive friends online, they're in constant conflict once they meet and try to work together. They want to get along, but he's under a lot of stress and their personalities clash. He's impulsive. She likes to plan. They never really became a good team as they kept hurting each other by their actions. They're also both devoted to their jobs on opposite coasts. The author did such a good job of convincing me that they could never be a couple that the quick turnaround at the end didn't work for me. They suddenly convinced themselves that their physical attraction and intense kissing meant their different personalities will complement each other instead of continue to create conflict. But I just don't see their relationship actually lasting as they still had many issues to work through.Sean and Taylor were very distracted by each other's physical appearance and presence, but the rest of the team seemed rather dense considering they were supposed to be a top team. At 71%, they said, "we should have known that Phantom would do something like this." Well, I certainly had guessed that a long time ago. This happened several times, and the twists were not surprises me.Any respect on my part for Taylor also took a nosedive after 91%. The author mentioned several times that she had her gun ready and loaded, but then she didn't take an opportunity to use her gun to save her witness. Instead, she irrationally, impulsively threw herself into danger so that the manly, capable hero – Sean – could save everyone. Why can't she be capable, too, not just a good babysitter for petulant witnesses?Both Taylor and Sean had major trust issues that they had to overcome, including trusting God with the future. There was no sex or bad language.I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Denise Hershberger
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of this book had me really excited to read it. I liked the idea about witness protection agents and cibercriminals for a change of pace, but this book fell flat for me.There was so much potential in the beginning. I was hooked from an exciting moment in the plot, but after that I felt like things flipped and instead of feeling the excitement and other emotions instead I was being told everything. I wasn't able to immerse myself in the book because the author kept explaining The premise of this book had me really excited to read it. I liked the idea about witness protection agents and cibercriminals for a change of pace, but this book fell flat for me.There was so much potential in the beginning. I was hooked from an exciting moment in the plot, but after that I felt like things flipped and instead of feeling the excitement and other emotions instead I was being told everything. I wasn't able to immerse myself in the book because the author kept explaining everything to me instead of letting me live in the story.At about 30% I only kept reading because I wanted to know who the criminal was! There was a good plot twist toward the end, but overall it wasn't an engaging read.I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    ‘They were the unsung heroes, men and women who put their lives on the line every day, like soldiers going into battle.’I enjoyed everything about this first offering in Sleeman’s new romantic suspense series Homeland Heroes. Seconds to Live is a fast-paced, danger-infused story. I loved that Taylor and Sean were email pals for six months before meeting in person. They didn’t quite know what to do when they first laid eyes on each other and their feelings seemed realistic. They were nervous, ‘They were the unsung heroes, men and women who put their lives on the line every day, like soldiers going into battle.’I enjoyed everything about this first offering in Sleeman’s new romantic suspense series Homeland Heroes. Seconds to Live is a fast-paced, danger-infused story. I loved that Taylor and Sean were email pals for six months before meeting in person. They didn’t quite know what to do when they first laid eyes on each other and their feelings seemed realistic. They were nervous, unsure, and yet very aware of all the things they had shared through email. Sleeman did a good job of transmitting the trepidation and tension between them. The whole dark web, cyber hacking plot line might seem too technical for some but it thoroughly captivated me. I felt like I was right in the midst of the excitement and fear in trying to figure out who hacked the WITSEC database before any witnesses were murdered. One of the best aspects of this story to me was I couldn’t possibly guess the identity of the hacker. I simply enjoyed the roller coaster emotions and thrill ride of Seconds to Live. I can honestly say I never think much about those who have gone into witness protection and the ramifications of that choice. I feel like I should pray for these people. I’m looking forward to more stories in this series. If you enjoy contemporary mystery/suspense with moderate romance and Christian themes, then I recommend this book.I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars"Help. Oh, help. . . . she'd made a huge mistake."When one of U. S. Marshall Taylor Mills' witnesses breaks protocol and is hunted down by a vicious criminal, the tip of the proverbial iceburg breaks through the surface. Not only has Dustee's whereabouts been compromised but the notorious "Phantom" has managed to breach the entire database of the Witness Protection Program. Frantic to protect those for whom she is responsible, Taylor relunctantly agrees to join forces with an elite FBI 3.5 stars"Help. Oh, help. . . . she'd made a huge mistake."When one of U. S. Marshall Taylor Mills' witnesses breaks protocol and is hunted down by a vicious criminal, the tip of the proverbial iceburg breaks through the surface. Not only has Dustee's whereabouts been compromised but the notorious "Phantom" has managed to breach the entire database of the Witness Protection Program. Frantic to protect those for whom she is responsible, Taylor relunctantly agrees to join forces with an elite FBI RED team, (Rapid Emergency Deployment). However, the lead agent on the case is none other than a man she has only known in cyber-space; Sean Nichols. Glimpsing Taylor Mills in person for the first time nearly takes F. B. I. Agent Sean Nichols' breath away. They know each other so well, and then again they don't, since their only conversations have been through various emails back and forth across the country. How interesting has this case become, when not only are the lives of dozens of innocent people at stake, but rapid fire emotions are threatening to rise to the surface as well. As the team rushes to stay one step ahead of a deranged hacker, Taylor and Sean struggle to find a middle ground through some of the tough decisions that a high profile case demands. In the end, who may have "seconds to live"? What an interesting story line, especially for those who have a profound understanding of technology and how dangerous criminal infiltration can be when exercised at the highest levels. The two main characters spend a lot of time in their own heads analyzing their relationship from every possible angle, which may slow the story down for some readers or it could have the opposite effect . . . . an enhanced satisfaction in the end. I received a book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Kay Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    SECOND TO LIVE by Susan Sleeman is the first book in the Homeland Heroes series. It’s the well-crafted and the extremely exciting story of the joint efforts of FBI Agent Sean Nichols and U.S. Marshall Taylor Mills to both protect the witness protection participants and to bring down Phantom, the person responsible for the U. S. Marshall’s Witness Protection system being hacked.What started off as discussions over the computer during past crimes, soon developed into a rather close friendship SECOND TO LIVE by Susan Sleeman is the first book in the Homeland Heroes series. It’s the well-crafted and the extremely exciting story of the joint efforts of FBI Agent Sean Nichols and U.S. Marshall Taylor Mills to both protect the witness protection participants and to bring down Phantom, the person responsible for the U. S. Marshall’s Witness Protection system being hacked.What started off as discussions over the computer during past crimes, soon developed into a rather close friendship between Taylor and Sean. Both felt they could talk freely thinking of it as a long distance, nonjudgmental person that they would never actually meet face to face. However, when Taylor’s client under the witness protection is both in danger and needed for assistance in Sean’s latest case, it became apparent that wasn’t going to be the case. Sean shows up at Taylor’s office unannounced.Taylor and Sean are both well trained and highly respected in their respective fields. Each enters the story with past baggage (trust and guilt) and determined dedication to their jobs, which leaves room for no personal relationships, which only cause heartache and disappointment. However, both felt an immediate attraction from their first meeting with sparks continuing to fly through this action packed story as well as thoughts as to how it would affect their friendship.Taylor becomes part of the RED team as does her witness protection client Dustee. Dustee is in the protection system because she testified against the Phantom in the past. Sean is hoping she can help find and identify him. However, she’s on limited and supervised computer research due to her own addiction to hacking.When another person is murdered by Phantom - one they had talked to in the investigation, and then Taylor is shot, Sean feels even more pressure to prove he was the right person to be in charge of this investigation and is capable to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt.Where will the clues lead them? Is there a dirty cop within their mists? Can they find Phantom before someone else is murdered? Will working so closely affect the friendship between Taylor and Sean? Will that friendship grow or will this case destroy it? Will Dustee help them or will her careless manner cause more havoc and work for everyone else? Can they protect all the people within the witness protections system after their files have been compromised?Susan Sleeman does a fabulous job of combining just the right about of action, excitement and romance to keep you turning the pages and rooting for the good guys. You never feel that the police case is on the back burner when the natural attraction of Taylor and Sean are woven into the story or while you are understanding how each one feels the way they do. Love the way you get to know all the characters in this story making them feel like your own friends that you understand, feel for and want to help along the way. Knowing it’s the first book in the series, makes me super excited to see how the story goes from here and what other adventures they will lead me on.Highly recommend SECONDS TO LIVE to anyone that loves a fabulous, well-written suspense action romance that will have your heart pumping and fluttering at the same time. I give it a great big FIVE STARS!
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  • Trixi
    January 1, 1970
    One Mistake. That was all it took to put Dustee’s life on the line—death right on her heels. And that right there is the explosive start of another stellar suspense written by Susan Sleeman! Someone hacked the Witness Protection database or WITSEC and now lives are at stake. FBI Sean Nicols and US Marshal Taylor Mills must put their skills to the test protecting Dustee while trying to bring down a criminal name Phantom, who has eluded law enforcement every step of the way. One thing I can say One Mistake. That was all it took to put Dustee’s life on the line—death right on her heels. And that right there is the explosive start of another stellar suspense written by Susan Sleeman! Someone hacked the Witness Protection database or WITSEC and now lives are at stake. FBI Sean Nicols and US Marshal Taylor Mills must put their skills to the test protecting Dustee while trying to bring down a criminal name Phantom, who has eluded law enforcement every step of the way. One thing I can say for Sleeman, she never lets go of the reader once she hooks you with that first page! The pace rarely lets up and just when you think everyone is safe—bam!—she writes another twist into the plot. I also love the team effort of everyone involved—fellow FBI agent Kiley Dawson, Deputy U.S. Marshal Mack Jordan, and FBI Analyst Cameron Linn. I truly admire this team’s skills, personalities, and how much of themselves they put in to catch a criminal & protect a witness. Sleeman is one of the best at pulling differing characters together seamlessly! The push pull romance between Sean and Taylor adds an angsty layer of tension upping the suspense. Both were burnt in love, had rough childhoods and are wary of trusting another person, thus putting a wall up between them. Something God loves to tear down in lives! We have the same problem, you and I. We can’t trust ourselves, because we can’t trust others or God. We spout the words. Go through the motions. But actually trusting? Naw, we don’t succeed. I love seeing how everything culminates at the end as they bring down the Phantom, work out trust issues and once again rely on the Lord to get through every day. I can’t wait to read the next books where I hope we get each of the team members’ stories. Especially Mack, he fascinates me with his big personality to go with his big Texas drawl…getting him to open up will test Sleeman’s writing skills I think! *I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the author and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions stated are my own. *
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