Based on the author’s personal experiences and inspired by the self-help book “For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men,” by Shaunti Feldhahn, “Last Chance Rescue,” is Tracey Cramer-Kelly’s first novel and tells the story of a man whose life is changed when he meets a former high school classmate and female Iraq war veteran.
“As a military veteran and former paramedic who is now a mother of two, I wanted to put into words the experiences military personnel have lived through but find hard to explain in the context of everyday life,” Cramer said, adding that while “Last Chance Rescue” is fiction, it is in many ways the story of military veterans and their families around the world. Brad Sievers, the speaker in “Last Chance Rescue,” is reunited with Jessie Van Dyke, a former classmate and active-duty Army paramedic who served in the Iraq war. Both characters are troubled by events that occurred in their past — experiences in Iraq, trust and intimacy issues — but something is awakened when the two begin working together as part of a search-and-rescue team in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado.
“The story is really about the transformation of Brad and Jessie because she has a lot of baggage from her time in Iraq — what she experienced, what she saw, the friends she lost — and she’s dealing with a fear of intimacy. And Brad has regrets about life experiences. They learn to trust each other in this search-and-rescue team environment,” Cramer said.
Cramer was inspired to write “Last Chance Rescue” from a male perspective after reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s “For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men.” “I read it at the right time when I was kind of thinking how I would write the story,” Cramer said, adding that the gender barrier was not a challenge since she has always naturally gravitated toward male friends. “When I was in the military I had a lot of male co-workers and I naturally gravitated toward male friends and part of it was because I’m not the ‘tea-and-gab session’ kind of gal. I like to bond like men do, playing basketball or something physical.”
Released last year, “Last Chance Rescue” has been lauded on the book’s Web site by readers and critics for its intense, true-to-life rescue scenes and intimate portrayal of life as a military veteran.
– By Iuliana Petre