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The Darkest Hour

(KGI #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  24,406 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews
It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.

His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymou
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Berkley
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  24,406 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews

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Blacky *Romance Addict*

Well, this was my first non-BDSM Maya Banks, and I really liked it!

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I am definitely going to continue with this series, and I'm especially looking forward to book 3!

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The story is about Ethan and Rachel, getting a second chance in life, literally.
It's been a year since Rachel's death and Ethan is still grieving, a total mess. One day he gets an envelope with loads in pics and information that leads him to believe his wife might be alive and held hostage somewhere in South America.
Lucky for him, he
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of romantic suspense and second chances
Recommended to Auntee by: Shawna
I loved the premise of this book because it reminded me a little of two of my favorite RS books, To the Brink by Cindy Gerard, and Wild Card by Lora Leigh--two stories about second chances. Although this book was good, and is a good start to what looks to be an exciting series, it just quite didn't make it to great. Something was missing for me--and I think it had something to do with the relationship between the H/h.

Let's back up a minute and get the synopsis out of the way. Ethan Kelly is an e
4 to 4 ½ Captivating Stars

I really enjoyed this book. Why on earth it took me so long to start this series is beyond me.
5 stars – Romantic Suspense

I’m a big fan of Maya Banks and military romantic suspense, so I was really looking forward to this first book in her new KGI series. I’m not at all surprised that I liked and enjoyed it, but I was amazed and impressed by the emotional depth and intensity of the story. Ethan might be an alpha military hero, but he’s not afraid to express his love, demonstrate his feelings, or shed tears of grief, relief, joy, and gratitude. The homecoming scene where Ethan cries while
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
Obviously I'm in the minority, reading other reviews, but I have to say - I didn't enjoy this.

I'm not going to rehash what the story is about, plenty of those kinds of reviews. Here's what pissed me off:


To me, he's a sonofabitch. His wife has been presumed dead for a year. Granted, no one knew - but when she's finally, FINALLY rescued and brought home, a literal shell of the woman she was, all super dick can worry about is her not finding out about the divorce papers he gave her befo
Tara♥ {MindforBooks}
So look. I'm not usually one to get on my high horse and go off on a rant about certain words or derogatory phrases used in books. It's fiction and sometimes things are said because the flow of the story and banter can lend itself to the occasional 'you're a girl' comment or 'that's a pussy thing to do' remark and I get that. And you know what? I would probably even overlook it more often than not. But...

This book pissed me right off. I LOVE alpha book men. Adore them. Can't read enough of them.
Opening Line: " He'd hoped if he drank enough the night before he'd sleep right through today."

Ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly is hangover again, it's been a year since his wife Rachael was killed in a plane crash in South America and he can't seem to move on, the pain as fresh as the day she died. Ethan has cut himself off from his large family and refuses to have anything to do with his brother's top secret business, that of KGI (Kelly Group International) With their expensive military backgrounds th
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mojca by: reviews by Zosia, Shawna and Auntee
Your wife is alive. Four simple words and Ethan’s life implodes. Again. After losing his wife in a plane crash, a year after her death someone concocts a sick joke. Making him believe she might be alive. There’re pictures of her being a prisoner in a Colombian drug cartel camp. Guard change schedules, topographic maps, camp layouts...Everything he might need to get Rachel out of that hell. If he believed she was still alive that is.

And he does. Despite everything, he does. Because maybe, just ma
Listening to this series on audio as a re read. This one, while a tougher read I would probably increase to 4 stars upon re read. Many of the below (originally) mentioned things did not bother me this time and I enjoyed the angst in this book even though I am not usually a fan of it.

Previous comments:

I know I am late to this series, but thought I would give it a try. The story is a heartbreaking love story. I enjoyed the character development and it makes me interested in the next books in the s
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Story Rating 4 Stars
Character Rating 4 Stars
Romance Rating 5 Stars
Action Level 4.5 Stars
Heat Level 3 Stars
Overall Rating 4 Stars

This book took off right from the beginning and kept me interested all the way through. It was exciting and had me tearing up in quite a few spots too. I absolutely loved how this story involved the whole family. They were just so caring for each other. I can't forget to mention all the hunky brothers and friends. The few love scenes were done well with some good heat t
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read** by: Mo

***4 Kelly Family and Alpha Badass stars***

Pardon my excitement as I know I'm late to the party, but this book gave me two VERY awesome things:

(1) A new author to stalk
(2) A new series to devour

Allow me a moment.

Ok, I've composed myself.

What a great introduction to this series and the Kelly family.

Ethan is torn apart by the death of his wife Rachel. So many regrets swimming in his mind. And the cherry on top, he was horrible to her on the last day he saw her alive. But then on the one year an
If you have read Amy Fetzer, Cindy Gerard, Suzanne Brockman, Cherry Adair or even Lora Leigh then you have read this book. That is part of the problem with this book, it has been done before. Lots of times, which is what I think hurt this book the most. There wasn't much about this book that was different enough to separate it from the pack. I won't go into a lot of detail about the book itself, as of course I am late to the game and everybody else has told it better than I.

The story of Ethan a
Originally read - June 2011
Re-read - December 2015

Review posted June 2011

What a great story! I haven't read much of Maya Banks in the past but she has definately now registered on my radar:)

It was quite sad in places and bought a tear to my eye especially when learning how Rachel was treated for a year whilst in captivity and how Ethan suffered emotionally both when he thought she was dead and on learning what she had been through.

I really liked the scenes where he showed his emotions and severa
Mimi Smith
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
3 stars

The Suspense

I have to admit I wasn't vowed and amazed by this one. The story is:someone kidnapped Rachel a year ago and then faked her death, so everyone, including her family, thought she was dead. Now, a letter arrives to Rachel's husband Kelly, with pictures of his supposedly dead wife and her coordinates. They get her out, but who did this to her? And why?
I felt the suspense part could have been done better. The premise could be a good one, but it was paid almost no attention at all,
3.7 stars

Y'all, the first 50% of this book was insanely good (It looks like the vast majority of you have read this already since I'm Way Late Lana to the party but remember how good it was?!) and I didn't even want to pull myself away to notch an update on here. I loved how this was romantic suspense but flipped a bit with the woman, in this case our former military dude's wife, being the one taken captive and held for a year; she was the one dealing with the trauma of that situation.
I also lo
Jane Stewart
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
3 ½ stars. Very enjoyable beginning and end. The middle part about Rachel’s healing and problems with Ethan was a little slow.

Ethan and Rachel were married. Rachel went to South America with a group of relief workers. On her way back, the plane went down and her wedding ring was returned to Ethan. He’s been mourning her death for a year. All of a sudden an anonymous package arrives showing pictures of her as a prisoner in the jungle of Columbia. Ethan and his brothers (all former mil
♥  Sam ♥ ~S2~Im made of awesomness
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: um...everyone!
Recommended to ♥ Sam ♥ ~S2~Im made of awesomness by: deesreads Read
I think first and foremost I need to apologize to Dee, for taking so long to get my gear into action and actually read this. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least. A story about alpha brothers, a tight knit family, danger, mystery, romance, passion and betrayal. I was a reader’s heaven.

The story starts with Ethan mourning the death of his wife. It is the one year anniversary of her death. During the middle of his drunken break down he receives a package that brings light to the hope that his wi
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
“The Darkest Hour” by Maya Banks starts on the one year anniversary of Ethan Kelly’s wife’s death. She died in a plane crash on her way back from a humanitarian mission in South America. He is not taking Rachel’s loss well, even one year later. When I first started reading this book, I thought ‘whoa, this dude needs a hug.’ Then, when Ethan receives an envelope containing photos of his supposed dead wife with a note stating that she is still alive, I thought ‘whoa, this dude needs a beer!’

Can yo
SamJ ★Needs a HEA★
★Book Basics★

Genre : - Cont Romantic Suspense
Series : - Book 1 in the series.
Love triangle? - (view spoiler)
Cheating? - (view spoiler)
HEA? - (view spoiler)
Would I read more by this author/or in this series? - Yes
Rating - 3 stars


I have had this series sat on my kindle for a fair few months.

I really liked the premise of the story, but for me, the execution was not as good as it could have been.

I would hav
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not even sure of what to say about this book. I did love it and I definitely had a great time reading it. From the first page I was completely entailed by it. What's not to love? A great family, 6 HAWT bad ass brothers with a huge love towards their family and a special soft spot for their mother, a guy who thought he had lost his wife forever without being able to apologize for huge mistakes he made to one day find out she is actually alive... So many things made this such an appealing stor ...more
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
** 4 1/2 stars **

Exciting, fast-paced story. I liked the hero's family and how they interacted.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I have so many so mixed feelings about this book. This is my first book in this well-known series. And in my opinion this is a very well-written book about literally nothing. Yeah, I know, but this is how I find it.

I expected a romantic suspense. This is neither a suspense novel nor a romance in fact. Well, there is some suspense part, but it is located entirely in the last one fourth of the book and even there it’s more like action than mystery. Of course, there is also this action part in the
Jacqueline J
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Suzanne Brockmann/Cindy Gerard/romantic suspense fans
I loved this book. The writing was solid. The plot was solid. Ex SEAL Ethan's wife, Rachel, died in a plane crash a year ago but he gets some info that she is not dead but being held by a drug cartel in South America. He and his brothers, who have a spec ops type agency, go to get her back. She doesn't remember that their marriage had been troubled and Ethan doesn't want her to remember because the trouble was all his fault and he wants a second chance to do better.

There wasn't a lot of suspense
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
She stared from face to face, her heart swelling and aching with irrefutable truth. She was home. She had a family. She was loved.

Ethan believes his wife died a year ago when he suddenly receives a package with her pictures, a detailed map and a note "Your wife is alive". Luckily he has his brothers "The KGI" who launches a big rescue operation. Rachel has been held captive by a Colombian drug cartel for the last year. They've drugged her on cocaine and heroine and she almost doesn't remember he
Susan (susayq ~)
I knew Maya Banks could write historicals. I love her historicals. Well, let me tell you, the woman can write romantic-suspense too. And she throws some angst in there and well, I'm a goner and in love :)

For me, this had the right mix of suspense, action, angst and romance. I admired Rachel and her will to fight. If I were in her place I would have probably given up and just let the bad guys kill me. Ethan was a wonderful, protective, tortured hero who had so much guilt that I don't know how the
Kellie Maddox-Ward
To sum this book up only one word comes to mind...

I was up, I was down, I was up, I was down and then suddenly I was thrown to the left then the right then up again, down again...

What a great storyline.. It made me smile, laugh, blush, cry, get angry, and really frustrated at times!

I loved the Kelly family.. All of them... Mum, Dad and Rachel included with all the boys, not too sure about Rusty yet though.
Looking forward to the next book.
Dana Ilie
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was the first book I have read by this author, and I definitely will be reading more. This book contains the most emotionally charged opening chapter I have ever read. My heart was breaking for Ethan in just the first five pages. This fantastic book kept my heart racing at times, and had me weeping at others. Wonderfully written characters, you meet the entire family and I felt I understood their personalities.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great start to a series. Think I'm going to keep reading this one.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2read2, fv-review

"Your wife is alive." If you received a note like that on the anniversary of a loved one's death, would you believe it? Would you believe in second chances? This is the chilling start to The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks.

Ethan Kelly has just returned from visiting the grave of his dead wife, Rachel. It's been exactly one year since her death and he still mourns her deeply. All he wants to do is drown his grief in liquor and numb himself enough to have the rest of the day slip by in a haze. Once Eth
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Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today and international bestselling author of over 50 novels. A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas.

Other books in the series

KGI (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • No Place to Run (KGI, #2)
  • Hidden Away (KGI, #3)
  • Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4)
  • Echoes at Dawn (KGI, #5)
  • Shades of Gray (KGI, #6)
  • Forged in Steele (KGI, #7)
  • After the Storm (KGI, #8)
  • When Day Breaks (KGI, #9)
  • Darkest Before Dawn (KGI, #10)
  • Brighter Than the Sun (KGI, #11)

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Get in the mood with our list of the top 100 romances of all time. We narrowed the field by limiting our results to books aimed at...
256 likes · 458 comments
“She laid her head against his collarbone, and he kissed her temple. To her shock, she felt a shudder roll through his body about the same time she registered wetness against her skin. Tears. His tears.
She started to turn around, but he tightened his grip.
“Stay,” he said in a choked voice. “Just let me hold you, baby. Just let me hold you.”
“Never be afraid to tell me anything,” he whispered against her hair. “No matter how ashamed you might feel. I’ll never judge you, Rachel. I love you.” 48 likes
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