Book Reviews

Book Review: Before the Fall (The Shooting Star Series, book 3), by Leah Downing

Before the Fall (The Shooting Star Series, book 3),

by Leah Downing

Publication: self-published dba Full Net Enterprises; January 23, 2019

before the fall

About the book:

After surviving a domestic terrorism scandal, a murdered husband, and a demonic curse, escaping Hollywood’s D-list should have been a cakewalk for Lauren St. Germain.

But the reviews were in, and it was too late. She’d already fallen for leading man James Bayer who, simply put, is not a good actor. Although critics from across the globe had ripped apart his wooden superhero turn in Clan of Justice, he’d somehow convinced her—a federal agent-turned-yoga instructor—to travel to Africa and fight against a highly-armed, rebel militia of ivory poachers: Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

Enter Iblis, the supernatural demon who’s been haunting her late husband’s family for generations. He tempts Lauren with an offer. She can either remain on her current path that results in the death of her beloved James OR she can ask Iblis to save him.

Unable to bear the thought of losing yet another man, Lauren sets a new chain of events in motion. Events that spur a parallel adventure in Africa with the promise that James will indeed make it out alive.

Alive, yes. But at what cost to her?

**My Review**

How in the world do I even begin a review of this incredible novel??? Before the Fall is the third installment in Leah Downing’s Shooting Star series and is so action-packed your head will spin! I have to admit that I struggled somewhat as I first started reading because of the time between the second book (Path of Least Resistance) and this book. I remembered the characters, the overall premise of their story, Iblis, djinn, etc. but I couldn’t remember how book two ended. Nevertheless, I immediately found myself engaged and wrapped up in this story which is primarily about Lauren and James after his second movie was released and received negative reviews.

Lauren is desperate to cheer James up and move forward with their future together. While having coffee, they randomly run into her friend involved in sending aid to Africa in order to help prevent militias killing elephants for ivory. This random conversation results in James planning a trip for him and Lauren to enter the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) as volunteers working with the camps that try to save the elephants.

This is where everything gets incredibly fast-paced, bizarre, paranormal, and at times – confusing. But when you really pay close attention and are completely focused on Leah Downing’s words, you will be amazed. Iblis definitely goes to work on both Lauren and James during their time in Africa which results in scenes that are tense and awkward one moment, loving and romantic another moment, and completely horrifying the next moment. Take note that this novel is told from both James’ and Lauren’s points of view, with overlaps in events and times periods where they describe the same moments, feelings, or circumstances. However, as we all know with men and women, perceptions of the same thing are often completely different, and in this case, it certainly added to the enjoyment and mystery of the novel. 

So, I may have enjoyed a glass of wine or two (yeah right, most likely more than two), but there were several instances in Before the Fall where I asked myself “what in the hell just happened” and went back to re-read to make sure that what I read was, in fact, what I thought I had read. Please do not take that to mean that this is a difficult or confusing read because that’s not it. Leah Downing’s intelligence, creativity, voice, imagery, and characterization all add up to an experience that is so real and vivid that you will find yourself stopping to reflect, take a deep breath, process what happened, and then dig right back in. 

Before the Fall is so incredibly unique and surprisingly different that I don’t have a suggested audience, but rather, I feel that anyone will fall in love with this series and especially this third book. Leah Downing continues to amaze me and I am truly honored by the opportunity to read and review her work. I cannot wait to see what comes next in the Shooting Stars series!

*Many thanks to Leah Downing for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

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