Title: Save Me
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Series: Archer Brothers #3
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Tucker McCoy thought the hardest mission of his life was over. After being deployed for six years, all he wanted to do was return home to his wife and daughter. But when he arrives home with roses in his hand, the last thing he expects is to be welcomed by a stranger. Being presumed dead for six years doesn’t help his cause as no one is giving him the answers he needs.
Now his mission is to find out where his family is and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring them home, even if that means bringing down the people involved.
Penelope McCoy has a secret and one she’s willing to keep until she can find someone to trust. In order to do that, she and her daughter must hide, change their identities and forget about their previous life.
For six years she’s been running and she soon realizes that time is catching up with her. Now she has to decide whether to run again or face the ghosts of her past head on.
Heidi McLaughlin brings the Archer Brothers series to a close with McCoy’s story in Save Me. Delivering more of Evan, Ryley, Nate, Cara, and the rest of this great cast, this novel expertly conveyed the deeply rooted sense of camaraderie and unconditional love that only these characters can deliver. McCoy’s quest to find his wife and daughter exuded the mystery and emotion I’ve come to adore from this series as we got to experience the vulnerability and fear and that made this warrior so undeniably human. Save Me not only wraps up the action and suspense of the military storyline, but Heidi McLaughlin unraveled McCoy’s heartbreaking love story in this novel. Through flashbacks of his relationship with Penny and McCoy’s desperate search to find her and Claire, we get to know the man beneath the SEAL and I found myself falling head over heels for McCoy’s deep devotion to his family and fellow SEALs.
“Loving you has been the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but not having you in my life is the hardest.”
Honestly, Save Me wasn’t the conclusion I’d hoped for when it came to this series. There were quite a few loose ends left open, questions that went unanswered, and a storyline that moved too quickly. When all was said and done, Save Me lacked that satisfying sense of completeness I look for as a reader and I couldn’t get my mind to stop wanting more. What happened with Rask? Did his family ever accept him? If Frannie was oblivious to the whereabouts of Penny and Claire, how did Lawson obtain all of Claire’s photos and report cards to send to McCoy? Did EJ ever call Evan “Dad”? How did the window at Penny’s home get broken from inside and what did it mean to the events that occurred that night? While the overall storyline came together in this final series installment, so many of the smaller pieces – the pieces that made me care about the characters and invest in their love stories – didn’t quite fall into place and in the end, I wanted more for the Archer Brothers, McCoy, Rask, and River.
“Because our lives are nothing but a conspiracy and if we don’t think outside the box, we’ll never figure it all out.”
Having anxiously awaited the conclusion to the Archer Brothers series, I was somewhat underwhelmed with Save Me. Overall, this novel felt rushed with a good number of grammatical and other editing issues along with an uneven sense of pacing that kept me from completely losing myself in the story. To be fair, Heidi McLaughlin’s writing is great and it was easy to enjoy her descriptive imagery, heartfelt dialogue, and the fascinating world she has created. I must applaud her creative construction of this story and the ease with which she pulled me along for the ride as each twist and turn encouraged me to keep me reading. The characters certainly embodied the feeling of family and unwavering loyalty that shared military service fosters and it was that special bond that had me so invested in this series. I hope Rask will get a novella some day as his story begs to be told and I am more than eager to listen. Despite what I felt were significant deficiencies, Heidi McLaughlin satisfactorily ties up the series and brings this heart-wrenching story to a close with Save Me.
From the moment I met Tucker McCoy, I needed to know his background. I yearned to see how he would adjust to life after everything that happened and find out just how Heidi McLaughlin would give him his happily ever after. Needless to say, Save Me was action packed and kept me on the edge of my seat with these characters!
I really appreciated Penny’s character – especially as a mother. I could feel her fear and motivation to the very core of my bones. It brought her character to life in a very realistic way for me. Tucker’s dedication to his family also made me grin quite a few times. Your heart can’t help but be warmed at how much he wanted to be reunited and how sure he was in his convictions. I also truly loved getting to see the entire gang together again. Though they may not have been active members of the military, those protective, proud traits never went away. It reminded me why I adored the start of the series so much. However, what stole the show for me were the sweet, tender moments of flashbacks. Seeing the couple together and how they began was so special and certainly left its mark.
Though I enjoyed Tucker’s journey of attempting to find his family, there were quite a few things that I couldn’t look past which is what resulted in the lower rating. First of all, there were several things mentioned that seemed to be of significance, yet readers were left completely in the dark by the end. I wasn’t sure if they were inconsistencies that should have been removed, or pieces of the story that were forgotten. Furthermore, the pacing of the overall story felt a little off. The beginning was a tad drawn out, and then things started to pick up, to then be hit with a very quick resolution. For having the overall storyline be in the third book, it felt like the way to tie it all together was just too quick and easy for my taste. Finally, there were more than a handful of grammatical or spelling errors and unfortunately, it began to detract from the story for me.
That being said, Heidi McLaughlin has a knack for writing the suspenseful scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat. She continues to drop morsels and only when you pull back will all the pieces actually come together. There were a few twists I didn’t see coming and I appreciated those elements of surprise. Though I did have a handful of issues, I have no doubt that readers will fall in love with this Navy SEAL team, and become enamored by Tucker’s story in Save Me.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Archer Brothers series:
Here With Me (Archer Brothers #1)
Choose Me (Archer Brothers #2)