Series: Alpha Ops, #5
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on November 1st 2016
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After weeks on a sold-out tour, singer Cady Ward is coming home for the holidays. But after one too many episodes of fan-craziness, Cady’s manager decides that she needs protection—in the form of muscled cop Conn McCormick. Longing for peace and quiet to prepare before her next album drops, Cady doesn’t need a bodyguard just to deal with some vague email threats…though she can’t deny that close proximity to Conn’s body is a very nice place to be.
Conn is in the midst of a career scandal when his boss assigns him to pop-star guard duty. It’s a poor use of his skills, even though Cady’s feisty nature proves the perfect distraction for Conn while Internal Affairs investigates his case. What begins as a sizzling attraction becomes something deeper than either Conn or Cady could have expected. But when Conn uncovers the sinister plan behind the threats to Cady, he’s faced with a professional dilemma: To save her life, will he risk having a future with the only woman who’s ever touched his soul?
My standing weakness for Anne Calhoun’s writing isn’t exactly a state secret, but good language and the beauty of precision and pacing can make or break a story for me. ‘Going Deep’ isn’t any different from the rest of Calhoun’s Alpha Ops books: slow-going and rather predictable with her stories reading more like a meditative character study than an action film straining at the edges to burst free into explosions and non-stop action.
And that is in itself, unusual enough for me to slow down and savour the descriptive and very introspective story of a bodyguard assigned to an up and coming pop singer whose several weeks of hiatus will change everything they know of each other.
I had however, expected more action and suspense and thought that the ending was an anti-climax when we were given a cursory resolution of the so-called mystery and Conn’s own conflict at work, which somewhat curtailed my enjoyment of the book.
But perhaps what really appeals and what I remember most after the last page is turned-and this is admittedly not for those who want a healthy mix of action and steam—is how Calhoun cracks open her characters, and displays them at their rawest and most vulnerable. More surprisingly though, it’s not during sex when that happens, even if these scenes are more erotic than dirty.
I liked Conn and Cady immediately; they are characters who don’t seem to play the usual games, are strangely honest with with each other minus the usual issues that flare so brightly until one hurts the other unspeakably and needs to grovel for the damage done. Instead, there’s a sort of melancholy stamped into both of them, and whose attraction to each other somehow seem natural—like a long-forgotten spark, a connection that’s rare but to be cherished for the moment—, which I find all the more remarkable for a pair as mismatched as Cady and Conn.
Throughout the book there’s this constant moody lyricism that calls into the question of home, that elusive something that Cady and Conn both can’t seem to find in their own respective lives. Calhoun expounds this yearning as excellently as she did in the first book of this series, leaving an ending that’s bittersweet, like the closing of a chapter without a glimpse of how their new path together would go, while leaving me wanting more of their lives together in the future.