Review: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker (Black Knights Inc. #1)

Hell on Wheels is the first book in the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series from author Julia Ann Walker and introduces readers to a special operations unit known only to the President of the United States and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They work out of a motorcycle shop but it's what they do behind the scenes that has brought the notoriety and respect of those who know of their existence. Led by Frank "Boss" Knight, this elite group of men are experts in their respective fields, but they know that each assignment may require them to lay their lives on the line, such as the case in this first book, that finds BKI dealing with the loss of one of their own, Grigg Morgan, and how his best friend, Nathan "Ghost" Weller, and his younger sister, Alisa, control their long-held feelings while learning the truth about Grigg's death.

Months after his best friend's death, Nate Weller is handling the loss the only way he knows how--by not saying anything. The guilt he feels is overwhelming, but the appearance of his best friend's sister, and the one girl who's owned his heart for twelve years, at Black Knights Inc. on Goose Island in Chicago has him in protective mode. Someone's after Ali Morgan and it's connected to her brother's death, which they assumed was an open and shut case. But the more they try to find out who wants Ali, the more questions are raised about Grigg Morgan's torture and death. In order to save Ali from harm, Nate needs to do what he does best, but his deep feelings for her need to remain under wraps, no matter what happens. Because even though Ali professes her love for him, she's sure to hate him once she learns his role in Grigg's death.

This series starter was packed with various kinds of tension. Both Nate and Ali have had feelings for one another since they first met twelve years ago, and while they've tried to keep their distance, the feelings certainly haven't abated over time. Nate is like his nickname--he ghosts around and nothing is heard or felt from him unless he deems it necessary. While Ali may think Nate has never liked her, she brings out a more human side to him. The secret that Nate is keeping from Ali is a devastatingly painful one and one that has him carrying a heck of a lot of guilt on his conscience. Grigg's torture and death was described in the book, but I fully understood why it was important for it to be as graphic as it was for a romantic suspense novel. You could tell that what happened affected not just Nate and Ali but the BKI team as well.

As I write this review, I will already have gone through the first five books in the Black Knights Inc. series, working my way until I get to the advanced reader's copy for the latest release. These books have a different flavor to them compared to the first in the author's Deep Six series, Hell or High Water, while still sharing the kind of humor that appears to be a staple in Julie Ann Walker's writing. Even though you know who the bad guy is in this first book, the anticipation as to how Nate, Ali, and the rest of BKI team will learn the truth and gather the evidence they need to take him down remains high all throughout the book. Hell on Wheels was a precursor as to how much of an adrenaline rush you can get from simply sitting back with your e-reader or tablet and leaves you wanting even more of Black Knight Inc. 4.5 stars! ♥

Date Read: 29 August 2015

Learn more about Julie Ann Walker here.

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