Book Review: Seconds to Live

23 Dec

When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals’ Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses’ personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness’s help, as she’s the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom’s identity.

Trouble is, she’s a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other . . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies. 


Susan Sleeman is the bestselling author of over thirty-five novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

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My Impressions:

Seconds to Live is the first book in a new romantic suspense series by Susan Sleeman. In this Homeland Heroes novel, cyber threats against people in the nation’s witness protection program bring together an elite team of highly trained technical experts from a variety of federal agencies. The book involves an ensemble cast, but it is team leader Sean Nichols and US Marshall Taylor Mills who are the focus of the romantic thread. If you like a big dose of romance along with your suspense, then this book is for you.

The techie-aspect of Seconds to Live, involving hacking and forensic investigations, is very interesting, and there are a number of twists and turns that the characters and this reader never saw coming. I really liked that about this book. There is definite chemistry between Sean and Taylor. The two were online friends for months before coming face to face for this case. But these characters have major trust issues that motivate and limit their interactions with others. Their romance is definitely not a smooth one! I would have preferred more action and less thinking — Sean and Taylor spend a lot of time analyzing themselves and others — but that certainly made these characters believable. God is an important part of their lives, but they (like a lot of us) often rely on self rather than turning to God.

All in all, I enjoyed Seconds to Live. While it started a bit slow, the action and suspense ramped up towards the end culminating in an exciting ending. All of the characters were very likable, and I am really looking forward to joining the RED team on their next case!


Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)