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Catalyst

Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
Series: Flashpoint, Book 2
Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

When a food storage depot in famine-struck South Sudan is torched, American aid worker Brie Stewart flees, only to land in a market where she's the next item up for auction. Is the attack on the aid facility another assault upon the war-torn fledgling democracy, or has her family set her up as a pawn in their quest for oil rights?

Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford crossed paths with Brie years ago when she was a shill for her family's company, pushing a pipeline that threatened his tribe's land. Determined to lead the rescue operation to save her, he won't let her abduction - or the attraction that flares between them - get in the way of settling their unfinished business.

The Green Beret's skills are put to the test in the flooded grasslands of South Sudan, where they must battle nature and dangerous factions who are after more than oil. Bastian and Brie put their hearts on the line as they find themselves embroiled in a conflict that extends beyond country and continent. Together they must douse the spark before it reaches the flashpoint and engulfs everything they hold dear.

©2017 Rachel Grant (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The second novel in Grant's Flashpoint series offers intelligent romantic suspense that moves with the urgency of a thriller." (Kirkus Reviews)

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this is an excellent read I highly recommend it

I am a fan of Rachel Grant having read her previous books but I particularly like this new series that she is writing. the characters are interesting and believable and the storyline has an unusual Twist I look forward eagerly to the next book in the series whenever that comes along.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant!

I love the book anyway, but thought I'd try the audio version. I was initially wary about a male narrator, but this was incredibly well done. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be more open minded about male narrators in future.

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Profile Image for Linda Townsend
  • Linda Townsend
  • 24-12-17

A romantic thriller on steroids!

A romantic thriller on steroids and an eye-opening lesson on social responsibilities, status and consequences.

“So, your friends call you Bastian. Your enemies call you asshole. What do lovers call you?”
“Why do you want to know?”
She smiled up at the stars. “Future reference.”

Catalyst by Rachel Grant is a wild ride from the starting gate. Don’t expect it to let up from there as the momentum of this roller coaster ride does not ease until the final paragraphs. The couple’s adventures are imbued with twists and turns I never imagined without a single dull moment! I laughed, swooned, cried and was both amazed and dismayed. It’s the first book I’ve ever read by Rachel, but it won’t be the last as I already have the book that preceded this one, Tinderbox, queued on my phone ready to hit play.

I had absolutely no issues reading Catalyst as a stand alone. I understand that the hero in Catalyst was first introduced in the series debut and I will be enjoying Tinderbox soon!

The two main characters, American aid worker Brie Stewart and Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford were both great characters who I found it easy to relate to. She’s smart and thinks on her feet. By her choice, Brie is estranged from her family. She was born into wealth and privilege but is now committed to doing her part to fight what her family stands for.

Sebastian is a Native American who has risen through the Green Beret ranks to be second in command of his unit. He is proud of his people and of his country. Years ago, he saw Brie before she walked away from her family promote putting a pipeline through his tribe’s native land. He was repulsed by what she stood for, but was physically attracted to her even then. She was his forbidden fruit.

Now, years later, their paths cross again. Sebastian has a hard time believing that the Princess Prime he knew before could have changed into the caring individual she seems to be today. He can’t help but think that she’s putting on an act. They have words. But, weeks later, when her camp is attacked and she is kidnapped, Sebastian is determined to be involved in her rescue.

Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Catalyst:

“I’m an aid worker. I’ve been helping South Sudanese people who’ve returned to their villages after being displaced by the civil war prepare for the rainy season, which, by all accounts, is going to suck elephant dicks this year.”
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“Ten years ago, I attended a community meeting for an oil pipeline proposal PE was ramming through the environmental impact process in eastern Washington. I sat in the front row as you defended PE’s plan to destroy an important Traditional Cultural Property to build a pipeline that would bisect the state from the Canadian border to the Columbia River. You had no respect for the sovereignty of tribes over the land. Your plan lacked even basic environmental protection for air and water, but you defended it because you didn’t give a fuck about air Indians breathe or water Indians drink.”
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“I’m going to make an exception for you. If you want to study me – every inch of me – I’m willing to be your lab rat.”
“Well, I’d need to have research questions if it’s going to be a valid scientific endeavor.”

I listened to the audio edition of Catalyst for which Greg Tremblay is the exceedingly able narrator. His strong and clear voicing of the story and the characters is excellent. He consistently distinguishes between each of the characters – male and female - with voices that sound genuine exuding emotions that added to the graphic and stirring nature of the tale. The end product is polished. His outstanding performance kept my attention captivated. I look forward to hearing him again.

Catalyst is hot and steamy, but also sweet and caring. It’s a romantic thriller on steroids, and an eye-opening lesson on social responsibilities, status and consequences. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. The ending is warmly satisfying as far as the main characters’ futures, but, as the author notes, the future for the Sudanese region is not rosy. Awareness that we can make a difference is a first step in making change happen. Rachel brings this cognizance to the forefront in a highly entertaining format and I applaud her for doing so. If you enjoy riveting edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense set in exotic locales with excellently-plotted intricate storylines, I’d highly encourage you to check out Catalyst!

My full review is published at Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Please check it out there!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Cyn
  • 09-12-17

Lord what a ride LOVED this story thrills excitmen

An exciting on the edge of your seat ride that grabs you from the first page until the last. Brie is an aid work with a secret that only a few know about. Sebastian knows all about her and her past when he sees her he can’t help but put his foot in his mouth. Even with a different name, hair, makeup and clothes change she can’t seem to hide who she is from him or does she…. She has worked so hard since she found out what her family is really like to outlive what they stand for. Her family does their worse for money she does her best to help those they hurt. Brie is the black sheep of the family. A family who would love to pull her back in using her and her body for their cause to make more money.

Brie is a very bright she thinks on her feet with come back after every comeback for Sebastian who tries to put her in her place not believing a word she is saying. She throws her hands up and said who cares leaving with tears in her eye…she just needs to hold it together long enough to get out of his sight then she can fall apart…

Sebastian has come up in the world he is second in command of his unit, he has worked hard coming far from his reservation and his tribe. He is proud of his Indian blood but he is also proud of his unit and all they stand for. He also has a secret of how much he would love to have one night with the princess as he calls her. He has mixed feeling from years ago and her help with trying to put a pipe line through their native land. When he follows her out after all the cruel words he said he finds her in tears, he fights what he sees and what he knows to be fact…but are they?

The narrator does an outstanding job really bring the story to life holding your attention keeping you on the edge. He gives the right amount of pause to really let you take in what he just read keeping you hooked as you picture each detail in your mind. I don’t feel it would have had the same effect if I had read the story he really delivers a strong emotion listen. With a very strong voice that really brings his male characters to life but a very feminine one that makes his females very pleasant interesting and lively, I really loved his different character voices. You have no trouble putting the voice with the faces they are well balanced and really sound as you would picture them to be. You know just who is talking and what they are feeling, you can hear their pain, sadness, sorrow, joy, love and fear. There are no background noises, no volume changes if any breaks were taken I could not tell. His performance was outstanding, very clean, and clear delivering a highly entertaining audio I got lost in. From start to finish this is how an audio should be done bring life to the characters, making the listener buy into the story, feeling each emotion making the listener hold their breath, laugh and want to cry, keeping the listening on the edge delivering a story that makes you not want to put down. Just delightfully outstanding I can’t wait to listen to more of his work.

The author gives you a well balanced story with a delightful plot that keeps you spellbound. It is very entertaining with many twists and turns that keeps this story moving at a fast pace, highly thrilling, and exciting. There will be times you will have your heart in your throat waiting for the end to be near. When the attack came on Brie and her co workers I was holding my breath when she was taken to the salve market my heart broke. What a tough lady that really knows how to handle herself in so many ways. When Sebastian shows up she doesn’t know what to think, with very mixed feeling she does her best to trust him but has to wonder if she put her trust in the wrong person. When his team put the children first I lost my heart not only to him but his team. It is touch and go through out with lots of action, danger. I loved the characters, the humor, danger, excitement and the love story. I just loved how the romance was written knowing they must keep on their toes with others out hunting them to when they set up a plan to find out who is behind it. Danger and excitement until the very end. The author gives a wonderful well balanced plot that is well thought out and written. I was hooked from the first page and could not put it down. I can’t wait to see what the next book in this series is about.

3 people found this helpful

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  • ReadingMad100
  • 18-04-19

Exceptional romantic intrigue.

CATALYST is book 2 of 3 in the FLASHPOINT SERIES. It’s a standalone and the first book for me by this author. I am completely wowed.

This is for you if you love: mature, smart and likeable main characters who engage in a romance with a delicious enemies to lovers vibe against the backdrop of fast-paced action, danger, intrigue, and good versus evil in an uncommon setting (South Sudan); twists and turns that challenge the protagonists to grow and strengthen first within themselves and then within their relationship.

It’s for you if you love well-researched background cleverly weaved within the story as incidental learning regarding political and cultural issues, and issues about the human condition in third world countries.

AND this story is for you if you want to hear a master narrator at his craft. In combination with author Rachel Grant’s first-rate story-telling, narrator Greg Tremblay created the ultimate listening experience with superb voice characterisations, accents, tone, timing, and humour.

This story runs for almost 11.5 hours. It flew by. Every scene was gripping, the dark elements were shocking and the romance heart-stopping. I’m always in it for a satisfying romance – and this one made me a very happy listener. Not one dull moment.

I am so delighted to have discovered this author.

I highly recommend this intelligent and engrossing romantic intrigue story, especially on Audible, if you can, for the brilliant narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rellim
  • 16-10-19

Another hit from Rachel Grant

Wow! This is truly an Audible Escape gem. Given how many books are only 5-7 hours long ~ this one keeps you invested for 11.5 hours.

Opposites attract when a former oil heiress and a Native American Green Beret meet again. Bastian & Brie are intriguing characters individually and as a couple. Grant does a great job of giving us strong female characters and alpha males who may be flawed, but aren’t complete jerks. No one here is TSTL.

Greg Tremblay is fantastic as always.

This may be included in Audible Escape, but I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a credit on this. It’s a series I could listen to over and over again.

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  • Sandy
  • 15-09-18

Green Beret erotica?

This was one of the worst books I’ve listened to in a long time. If I had wanted a book full of sex I would have ordered one labeled as erotica. I would say 50% of this book was sex scenes. And not just PG 13 sex either. So if that’s what you’re looking for then you will love it.
The story line was something like 007 movie. Seriously, it was so unrealistic.
The narrator did a good job.
I know everyone has different tastes. This one just wasn’t for me. I like a book with a good, realistic plot. This wasn’t it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • debbolsen
  • 13-06-18

My new favourite author

I love everything about Rachel Grants writing - its fast paced, interesting, well written and all the characters are developed in such a way that you really care about the outcome and want to know what’s next for them.
These books are amazing in their richness and layers, especially around humanitarian and social justice issues. I love the way that the patriarchal biases and sexism is called out by both the men and the women. This is done respectfully and as part of the story which just makes the books even more enjoyable to read because it is challenging stereotypes rather than justifying them.
The narrator was fantastic and the sex scenes were hot and enhanced the story.
Would highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 20-02-20

Romantic Suspence At Its Best

As with any Rachel Grant book, this book has everything a person whose love of romantic suspense could ever want -- action, romance, alpha hero, strong female, but most importantly, a well-researched story and characters so well developed and with so many layers they continue to surprise you. Ms. Grant's books always educates me in addition to the engrossing plots and sub-plots. It's evident that she takes careful time and effort into each layer of the story and I totally appreciate it. I know when I listen to a Rachel Grant book, I am going to get the type of story that keeps me engrossed and on the edge of my seat. I also appreciate the Author's Notes that includes the truth of the story versus the fiction. It breaks my heart as to what happens to children across the globe but bringing to light something that most of us take for granted is always an eye opener for me.

Greg Tremblay was outstanding with the delivery of the story

As for Brie and Bastian, I love how flawed both characters were and how they readily admit it. I also love how they examine themselves and try best how to move forward individually and as a couple. The last few chapters will definitely give you whiplash! I can't wait for the next book in the series which I hope will be about Savvy. I highly recommend both books in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kat in Hawaii
  • 29-06-19

Fantastic Romantic suspense!!!

Again, I must say this author's ability to write is truly awe inspiring!!!
Fabulous, lovable characters facing the horrors in South Sudan.

The truth about South Sudan's atrocities about starvation and the much needed menstrual panties for women who drop out of school due to the problems of not having a way to manage their menses is eye opening and heart wrenching.

Something, I honestly have never even considered.

I appreciate the authors honesty and knowledge about such things that we, not in 3rd world countries, take for granted e.g. Basic Food, pads, running water, electricity, beds etc.. That most people are not even aware of or care to acknowledge.

The story was truly a roller coaster ride of danger, intrigue and I could not stop listening till the end!!

Lots of twists, turns, terror and just so well written.
Highly recommend this series and her "Evidence" series!

Narration was well done. I'm on to the next in this wonderful series.

Thanks again, to the author, for the hours of audible entertainment.




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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-06-19

Sorry you’re offended

Read a lot of comments complaining about the emphasis on “privilege”/economic disparity and racial politics. Sorry to say that stuff literally and figuratively comes with the territory. These are not liberal propaganda sound bites; I can assure you that they are realities of being an aid worker, of working in developing nations, and of being in an interracial romantic relationship. If you dislike the fact that these themes were featured in the story, I simply suggest you choose a story with a different setting. However, I will also say that these realities have been boiled down and wrapped into a neat package, with certain tag lines used for the sake of simplicity. I agree that the exact wording and descriptions became tedious...there could have been so much more to unpack and discuss. But alas, this is romance/fiction and sociological terms like “privilege” have been warped by popular culture to seemingly lose its nuance.
In all, the story is steamy, it’s cute, it’s fantastical, it’s fiction. A welcome change from bodice rippers and non-plots but it is hardly and was never meant to be The Poisonwood Bible or The Wretched of the Earth, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-19

Thrilling! sexy and exciting and well narrated

This is the second book in Rachel Grant's excellent Flashpoint series. We met Sebastian the Bastard in the first novel and we watch him fall hard and fast here for Bree/Gabrielle.

the plot, imho, was a tad convoluted compared to Tinderbox. But it was still heart racing and immersive. Looking forward to Savvie and Cash next.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Mentions of rape, child sex trafficking, sexual violence, sex slavery, underage prostitution, etc. There's some decent amount of violence as well.