Third Man on the Left by Roni Hall
Dani is a nurse, but the recent death of a child has left her feeling guilty and unable to continue in her current job. She changes careers and takes a job working for a non-profit organisation; part of her work will take her to Tanzania. When the trip is delayed Dani has the time to build a romance with Noah, a fellow worker.
In Tanzania she uses her nursing skills but the situation is dangerous, especially when armed men come to the clinic. Dani finds herself responsible for getting her injured co-worker and some village children to safety. Once back in New York although she is reunited with Noah, though some of the drama from the past few weeks continues to cause problems.
I liked the idea of this story, particularly the setting in Tanzania. However, I thought that there were missed opportunities to really show the reader what was happening; in some places the action jumped ahead and left me wanting further explanations. In other areas, the dialogue dragged out with too much every day chit chat; this doesn’t work in fiction, where dialogue needs to be short, snappy, and there for a reason. I’m afraid that I also wasn’t convinced about the romantic elements; there was little build-up or emotion; I didn’t ‘feel it’. It all happened so fast and felt a little cliched, especially the love triangle.
So although there were parts that I enjoyed from this story, I do feel that it would benefit from a re-work, particularly to bring out a more three-dimensional nature to the characters, while I would also like to see some development of the dialogue style to help carry the plot forward.
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Tragic stories are common in the ER but nurse Dani takes the blame for a toddler patient’s death personally, confirming her abusive father’s belief that she is inept. To prove her competency and free herself from overwhelming guilt, she volunteers for a humanitarian mission trip to Tanzania where she can focus on doing good.
Prior to leaving, she meets the love of her life, Noah, who says he will wait for her. However, her mission partner/physician, Carter, is a surfer poster boy who has a thing for Dani. Noah’s gut tells him something about the picture perfect doctor is off but the expedition goes on.
Weeks into her trip the mission is savagely attacked by rebels and Dani is a microsecond too late to prevent her coworker from a devastating injury but saves him from certain death…for now. More rebels are on their way and Dani escapes into the jungle with four lives who are now solely dependent on her for their very survival. The ultimate test of her competency has begun.
Was the strike on the mission random, or was she an unsuspecting dupe in a smuggling deal gone bad?