Zero Hour

Megan Erickson
Zero Hour
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Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date
January 2018
Book 1 of Wired & Dangerous
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour - each breath - to avenge his brother's murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They're all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past ... and she's the wild card he can't control.

Roarke might still think she's a kid, but Wren's been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her - especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.

Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Dec 07, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
33 people found the following review helpful
ZERO HOUR spoke directly to the geek in me. I blank out at many things technical, so hackers (whether they be black/white hats) written as heroes/heroines of romances are relatively new in this genre but so welcome.

I love the lingo, the geek side of things, the stuff that the deep, dark web is made of, most probably because I've never been able to get my mind around it. That Megan Erickson has jumped wholly on this subject has made me more than moist with excitement, with the underlying classic tropes of the forbidden best friend's younger sister while a high-stakes hacker-style investigation into a murder brings it all together. There's a lot of beguiling intrigue to be explored in this arena after all, and I've always wondered why not many authors have chosen to use this very contemporary setting along with the realistic and contemporary threats we face today to weave a pretty little tale.

Unsure as I was about how hackers would appear in this series, I was nonetheless surprised by the tattooed protagonists who sometimes acted more like members of an MC at times instead of thickly-spectacled people who were glued to their computers and surfaced bleary-eyed only for meals and sleep. Yet Ms. Erickson gets the anti-social, loner-types pat-down though, by introducing a varied, unpredictable put-together team of characters whose questionable histories are still veiled to us.

Roarke and Wren do have a hell of a backstory and a decade of separate lives that Ms. Erickson didn't make too much of, except for the fact that pining (on both sides) went on while they moved on with others instead. Their sudden reunion—spurred on by the death of his brother and Wren's own personal motive for revenge—however, felt almost like a coincidence, along with the hidden skills that they'd each picked up which didn't seem to fit the hacker-skill set. Where had they had weapons training, for instance, at least enough that they would carry guns around? What sort of jobs had they done in the past 10 years that made them what they were today? Why did Wren only return now, at a time when Roarke sought revenge when the tragedy that she and her friend suffered happened years ago?

I think the questions that kept popping up dipped my enjoyment of the story somewhat and the brother's-best-friend-to-lover trope was less convincing especially after knowing that Roarke and Wren had always wanted each other but never actively did anything about it. The ending, for all the gritty, edgy build-up, seemed a little anti-climatic with the rather convenient end of the mastermind, and the several loose threads hanging, while understandably left deliberately to set up the sequel, didn't give the story a proper sense of closure.

In many ways, ZERO HOUR reads like the establishing novel it is and while I did like how this narrative arc—the mesh of thriller and digital espionage really gets me going—seemed to be shaping up, I'm already eager to see how the author would explore the unstable dynamics of the ad-hoc group brought together by chance and the pairings that will come out of that.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Dec 30, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
34 people found the following review helpful
Think geek heroes are boring? Let ZERO HOUR change your mind. It's a gritty, pageturning, thrilling ride into the world of cyber romantic suspense with hackers and high-octane action!

Roarke gathered a crew together to avenge his brother's murder, but he never wanted to involve Wren, the woman who had the power to tie him up in knots. But Wren got an in with the villain, and it would've saved them work and time if she used that connection, so Roarke reluctantly allowed her to join them, not that he could've stopped her. But what he didn't know was that Wren had a personal revenge mission of her own…

Roarke and Wren are unbelievably hot together! Roarke is a typical geek with some problems communicating with the opposite sex, but when they were on the same page, they sure burned up the sheets! I love that he's not tanned (as so many heroes are) and that as a typical geek who sat in front of the computer all day, he's lanky (not muscle-bound) although he does know how to carry and use a gun (though not very proficient). (Why would a geek know how to use a gun? I think there's been mention of how they operated on dangerous jobs, hence the need to protect themselves.) I love all these flaws in him, but for all that, he's hot and he does whatever he needed to do to save his girl.

I see several Asian heroines in books these days, and Wren Lee, a Korean, is one of them. I'm all for diverse characters and it's great to see Asians represented in books, however, aside from her loving Korean dramas, her parents are strict, and she has dark hair, she could be anybody, even a white girl. My point, I guess, is that if you're going to make one of your characters an Asian, how does that play into the story? Where is the conflict that arises from the different cultures and races? Even if she were born and raised in America, there would still be differences from other cultures and races.

That aside, both Roarke and Wren are amazing characters. Not only them, but also the secondary characters like Eric, Jock, Marisol, Dade and even Maximus! Dade and Maximus especially are interesting due to their mysteriousness. I'm itching to read the next books in this series, which I hope will feature their stories.

ZERO HOUR moves at a fast, steady clip so that there were no boring moments. The plot also contains twists and turns that pleasantly surprised me, and the last few pages had me jumping for the next installment. I hope it comes soon!

If you love geeks, hackers and romantic suspense, pick this one up now!
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