When Brad Sievers runs into his old friend Jessie Van Dyke at his high school reunion, little does he know how much it will change his life. When his high-powered advertising career fizzles, he falls into a most unlikely career opportunity — becoming a member of Jessie’s search-and-rescue team. Nothing in his life has prepared Brad for this, but he finds it more fulfilling than a dozen advertising campaigns.
Through dangerous rescues and personal trials, Brad and Jessie become close friends. They share in the birth of her first colt from her rescued horse; Jessie helps Brad when one of his first rescues doesn’t make it. When one of their rescue victims turns out to be a fellow soldier from Jessie’s Iraq War days, Brad almost loses her to old demons. But when Brad is severely injured in a training accident, Jessie nurses him back to health as only she can. And when she goes missing one night, Brad realizes just how important she has become to him.
Both Brad and Jessie must fight their own defenses to finally let down the walls that will allow them to rescue each other. This is a story about breath-taking action and adventurous lives, and the heart that is behind it all.
Written with the voice of experience, Last Chance Rescue draws on the author’s own Army Reserve training and medevac experience. Tracey’s ride-alongs with actual search-and-rescue teams give the thrilling rescues the energy that puts the reader right in the action.
“He’s dead,” Micah said.
Dead? Brad thought he’d heard wrong.
“Micah!” It was Ryan. “I’ve got foot tracks. Looks like the other guy walked his way out.”
“Any blood on the ground?” Micah said.
“Can’t tell,” Ryan said. The radio crackled with directions for Echo to follow the tracks.
Two of the searchers moved off on their snowmobile as Micah and Jessie slid back into the ravine. Several minutes later they reappeared with the body. Micah covered it quickly, but not before Brad saw the carnage.
A dark circle—like a stain—spread across the man’s right cheek. Was that a bruise or blood? And his eye — is he looking at me? Brad’s thoughts became disjointed. He can’t be looking at me; he’s dead! The man’s eye was still open—bulged out as if it had been popped from its socket. Above his eye ... is that scalp? A flap of skin hung below the man’s jaw — part of his face had been torn away! And there was blood dripping from his chin...
Everything inside him was going to come up. Jessie took one look at Brad and grabbed him by the shoulder. She half-pulled, half-dragged him several yards away, where he fell onto his knees in the snow. She had one hand on the back of his neck as he buckled over to be sick.
Long and Short Reviews
“You rescued me, and I don’t mean just from the mountain.” The how, where, when, and why of this quotation is the essence of this beautiful love story that is full of action, emotion, introspection, and sharing of life.
The learning to love oneself in order to truly love another who will give love in return is another compelling part of this novel. In addition, the acceptance of others and their limitations comes into play as the main characters come to terms with issues that cause deep-seated anger, guilt, and feelings of self-doubt.
The main characters, Brad and Jessie, share an enviable ability to communicate with each other about their inmost emotions as they come to realize the other’s unconditional acceptance. Their story is full of faith, friends, and family along with fear, fun, and their own special friendship—a type of friendship so often missing in male/female relationships.
Brad Sievers, a laid-off advertising agent, has used money, prestige, and being associated with the “right” people as a gauge for success for ten years, but he has never realized a sense of fulfillment. When Jessie Van Dyke, a schoolmate from kindergarten through high school, says she never thought of him being that shallow, he takes a hard look at his life. She says she always saw him as a sensitive, caring person that was a little unsure of himself and attractively shy.
The reader gets a front row seat to his changes in life style, a style full of action, true friends, and a commitment to help others while coming to terms with longtime issues with his father. More importantly, the reader gets to watch a truly special friendship and love develop as the hero and heroine survive both physical and emotional upheavals.
Jessie Van Dyke’s life the past ten years has left her with lots of emotional scars and unresolved issues. She also carries a load of guilt that is not hers to claim. Her feeling of responsible for taking care of others makes her an excellent medic, while in Iraq and while working Search and Rescue. However, it leaves emotional wounds when she cannot always succeed in saving a life. She is a complex character that the reader gets to see grow in wisdom and understanding as she deals with her own demons and while becoming an important part of Brad’s life.
Tracey Cramer-Kelly gives the reader some intense, realistic Search and Rescue scenes while she creates memorable characters that deal with life and death issues along with so many other emotion stressors in modern day society. Her secondary characters add new dimensions to the story as they interact with Brad and Jessie.
The psychology and philosophy imparted through the development of the characters’ self-awareness and self-acceptance make LAST CHANCE RESCUE a story that gives serious food for thought. However, most of all, the remarkable relationship she creates for Brad and Jessie makes this a provocative story—a story I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Rhode Island Roads
I found myself not able to put the book down once I started reading it. I wasn’t expecting such an action-packed book, full of vivid imagery, knowledge about rescue maneuvers and extraordinary character development.
The first few chapters describe in great detail what an actual rescue mission was like, right down to the finest details of the language used by real rescue teams, helicopter pilots and medics. It was quite clear to me that the author had a very knowledgeable background in this area that made the reading even more enjoyable because it was fact; detail upon detail of terminology and information that only a well-trained person would know.
Taking place in the Colorado Rockies, Brad Sievers comes in contact with an old friend, Jessie Van Dyke, at their high school reunion. Realizing that he was missing something in his career in advertising, he joined Jesse on one of her rescue missions and decided to make it his new career. In search of his own fulfillment, Brad was finally able to feel that he could do something that would actually make a real difference in someone’s life. Jessie, on the other hand, was an experienced rescuer and had already made many rescue missions that changed peoples lives forever.
Jessie and Brad become good friends during their work and actually ‘rescued’ each other through some very difficult times. Neither one wanted to admit their feelings for each other for fear of being hurt again and demons arising from both of their pasts. When Brad nearly died from a fall himself, Jessie finally realized that she truly loved Brad. Brad was still struggling with his feelings, not sure if it was love or just a strong attachment to his rescuer from the fall who happened to be Jesse. One night when Jessie went missing at the Last Chance Rescue horse ranch, Brad’s true feelings for Jessie were finally revealed. Both Jessie and Brad had to battle their own demons from the past, but once that was done, their love for each other was everlasting.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes action-packed, never-ending adventure with a roller coaster romance thrown in the middle of it all. It is well written from the author’s medi-vac and pilot experience making the flow of the book superb. The characters’ development and self-discovery throughout the book transitioned satisfactorily from one chapter to the other.
Plain and simple, it was a great book!
I am very pleased to say that Tracey Cramer-Kelly is an excellent writer. Well-crafted plot, storyline and character development that is consistent throughout and a very plausible, satisfying and realistic ending to the tale. A man in his 20s is dissatisfied with his life and decides to make a clean break of things and head out to a mountain town in Colorado, where he runs into a woman who was a friend in high school. She is a paramedic and very involved with the local search and rescue team.
Their first get-together is interrupted by coming upon a serious car accident. The accident is quite accurately depicted along with the treatments, both what was done and quite frankly also what couldn’t be done with a personal BLS jump kit, and had the feel of someone who had actually been there. Rather a nicely presented handling of an emergency that impressed our young man, who in turn is introduced to the rescue team and eventually, bit by bit, gets more and more involved with the team. Training up and going out on various missions, and, oh yeah, a budding romance with a few speed bumps along the way. To tell more is to give away too much of the story. I found Last Chance Rescue to be a very entertaining read by someone who’s been there.