Satan's Stronghold
by Robert Gallant
PageTurner Press and Media LLC

"He’ll sacrifice you if necessary to nail the drug dealer, her mind reiterated."

When Chesney Barrett is presented with the opportunity to avenge her mother’s death by shutting down a drug operation, she takes the chance, filled with determination despite the dangers it entails. In this novel, Gallant challenges his readers’ sense of morality and justice when the line between good and bad becomes murkier than the swamps Chesney travels to for her graduate environmental research and simultaneous undercover mission. Can she even trust Travis Weld, the agent who recruits her, when he mercilessly kills just as much as the drug dealers she’s after?

With this question in mind, Gallant’s characterization of Chesney is of a strong independent woman who embraces her femininity and is her own knight in shining armor, managing to save herself many times with her quick wit and athletic physique. Though Gallant excels at making Chesney memorable with how daring and stubborn she is to tackle any obstacle that comes in her way, the rest of the characters are not as developed. Chesney is surrounded by vicious and lustful men that would stand out better with more depth had they been given different mannerisms to diversify them.

Although the dialogue between characters is sometimes awkward and forced, Gallant’s strong eye for imagery makes up for it in his detailed descriptions throughout the book. His attention to detail not only makes the scenery vivid but also adds suspense to the plot. Almost every chapter makes you want to turn to the next to witness Chesney’s survival in a world where the potential of death is at every corner. The stakes are raised when she realizes she has more to protect than just her own life. Overall, Gallant manages to ensnare the reader at certain turning points and revelations in the plot, making this book fast-paced and easy to read in one sitting.

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