Author: Kat Martin

The Conspiracy by Kat Martin

The Conspiracy by Kat MartinThe Conspiracy by Kat Martin
Series: Maximum Security #1
Published by HQN on 22nd January 2019
Pages: 368
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two-stars

Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn’t responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can’t find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend, now the only man she can trust…or so she hopes.

As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper’s father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there’s more to Michael’s disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard. As the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons’ snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.

I thought ‘The Conspiracy’ started off quite well, with the plot quickly and decisively set up: Harper Winston’s brother has gone missing and her desperation to get him back leads her to his former best friend (and the man she’d always wanted) though they haven’t been in contact for years. That this has ties to their powerful father who has shady dealings—who might have something to do with her brother’s disappearance—upped the ante from the start.

After an exciting start however, it was towards the middle that my interest started to flag. The insertions of multiple POVs, long descriptions of place, secondary characters, their personal histories and scattered pieces of the overall puzzle, simply detracted from the momentum of the main story. I skimmed, then read on when the story got back on track (rinse and repeat)—this pretty much described the entire experience throughout the book.

The initial attraction between Harper and Chase consisted mostly of individual internal monologues revolving around their lust for each other and their indecision about making a move. Still, there’s action, some twists involved and a case of major pushing away…which also happens only to a certain extent because neither Harper nor Chase can stop wanting sex with each other.

I’m not entirely sure how to put a finger on this, but reading ’The Conspiracy’ feels curiously akin to reading an older style of romance (outfitted with contemporary themes of RS and the technology of the day) with a more erotic hook, with Kat Martin’s characterisation steeping her protagonists in more ‘traditional’ roles that historical (?) romantic fiction tends to perpetuate.

In this case, Harper cried a lot, turned pale a fair bit, gasped each time as she stared at Chase’s body, was somehow naive as hell at the heart of it yet magically transformed into someone who knew how to be part of a military op. On the other hand, Chase’s eyes burned with hunger constantly as though he was on the verge of ravishing her, got hard with the slightest thought of her and pretty much played the macho man throughout. That he used their sexual attraction to get back into her good graces felt like manipulation: did Chase have to really do stupid things while knowing it would cause Harper some pain, then bend over backwards to make it up? That it had to take something so monumental for him to turnaround to decide that he wanted her permanently when he’d initially wanted a clean break with her?

Most probably it’s Kat Martin’s style that doesn’t gel with me personally. I simply thought ‘The Conspiracy’ could have been so much more (a leaner, meaner read that could have left me reeling the good way, essentially) but fell far short of my own expectations.

This isn’t a book for me clearly; from style to characters, there were quite a few things that I couldn’t really get on board with, though I can imagine that this would be a typical offering for the RS crowd from a staple RS author.

two-stars

Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin

Into the Firestorm by Kat MartinInto the Firestorm by Kat Martin
Series: , , #3
Published by Zebra on January 31st 2017
Pages: 400
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one-star

M. Cassidy...Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured. Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She's also popping up a step ahead of him every time he s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.
Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .

A very promising prologue which I felt boded well, but it didn’t go how I’d anticipated from there onwards. A lot of the action is very linear, almost reality-tv-like as we follow the characters’ actions and activities, but I found myself getting bored, unable to muster up that sense of anticipation that should have accompanied the search for their target. There are winding turns as both Luke Brodie and Emma Cassidy go through just to comb for information, as the introduction of secondary characters, a list of suspects/informants and a romance sub-plot that diffracted the romance and the overall sense of suspense.

I liked Emma well enough I guess; her gutsy determination making her a woman who has to draw the attention of a notorious womaniser because she is different from every other woman he knows. But the cliché has only begun. Luke’s reputation precedes him: he’s renowned for finding people just as he is for the rotating number of women in bed for whom not being with a woman for three weeks is made out to be apparently a huge accomplishment (is this really worthy of applause?), where this short period is already termed as a seeming lack of interest in the opposite sex. If that didn’t add to my already less than stellar impression of him, wanting Emma suddenly made him realise he needed a woman badly and how he needed one now was cringe-worthy, as is the denial that he isn’t a manwhore when he is the very definition of the unapologetic, uncommitted male fearing anything more than casual affairs. The setup of a male protagonist who only goes for one-nighters, who is ruled by his razor-focus in the field and a philandering attitude with women somehow cannot resonate with me as some romantic lead worth trumpeting despite Kat Martin’s attempt at rationalising his behaviour as one who finally burned out on one-nighters and found sex with Emma to be the ‘best of his life’.


In short, Luke Brodie is the romantic lead stereotype I never quite signed up for and can’t ever see as a shining example of a romantic lead. There’s enough repetition about how Emma refuses to join his nightly brigade of women but can’t help it because of Luke’s huge sex appeal and how well he fills his clothes. But above all, it was hard to get invested in this pairing beyond their ruminating about how hot each other was, because lust seemed to be the primary reason for hooking up, apart from the shared case they were working on.

On the other hand, Emma Cassidy’s own insecurities about Luke’s reputation, her fear about falling in love with him while knowing that Luke wouldn’t want anything more than their short-term affair made her seem indecisive at best. That Emma went after Luke after he ended their affair (while giving the typical excuse that he didn’t deserve her) because he had no courage to fight for their relationship drove the last nail into the coffin for me.

‘Into the Firestorm’ missed the mark with me; clearly Martin’s style of writing, use of plot devices and stereotypical characterisations aren’t a fit for me at all.

one-star

Into the Whirlwind by Kat Martin

Into the Whirlwind by Kat MartinInto the Whirlwind (BOSS, Inc. #2) by Kat Martin
Series: ,
Published by Zebra on May 31st 2016
Pages: 400
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two-stars

"I love her books!" --Linda Lael Miller
"Martin is superb." --RT Book Reviews
A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a private investigator, no one can handle the heat like the men of BOSS, Inc.
Megan O'Brien is at her wit's end. Her three-year-old son has been kidnapped. No police, says the ransom demand. Fearing for her son's life, Meg has no choice but to turn to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds.
Dirk's never forgiven Meg for the way she left him after their brief affair. But with bounty hunter Luke Brodie on his side, Dirk knows he's got to help Meg rescue her son.
The few clues they’ve gathered send them spiraling into a murky world of big banking and international crime. Meg may be way out of her depths, but she’s seeing a side of Dirk she never suspected—one no woman could possibly resist.

Desperation isn’t a good colour on anyone, least of all, a former model.

Megan O’Brien’s only hope – or so she makes it out to be – when her precious son is kidnapped is Dirk Reynolds, the man she’d heartlessly cut loose because he hadn’t conformed to her ideals of family and the approval of her parents. What follows is rather predictable – Dirk isn’t able to resist her pleas at all despite wanting to keep his distance – and the trail that opens up after her son is rescued is a far more interesting one that I can say of Meg and Dirk’s complicated relationship.

It bothered me a lot that, in this second-chance story, that Meg’s affections seemed conditional: save her son, get approval from her parents finally meant being good enough after proving oneself, which Dirk essentially did in an uphill climb to call himself trustworthy in her eyes. It only took a kidnapping it seemed, before Meg saw him for his qualities and decided that things should change between them. Ultimately, it was difficult to support this pairing when Meg seemed to reinforce that shallowness (except for when it comes to her son), even showing several TSTL moments throughout the book. The requisite HEA naturally demands that Meg accepts Dirk for himself before this pairing rides into their sunset, yet it was difficult by then, to change my impression of her and of the suitability of the couple.

That said, I’d definitely want to know the stories of the rest of Boss, Inc. – and Luke’s setup and his extensive involvement in this book – is a perfect hook for the next in the series.

two-stars

Into the Fury by Kat Martin

Into the Fury by Kat MartinInto the Fury (BOSS, Inc., #1) by Kat Martin
Series: BOSS Inc. #1
Published by Zebra on January 26th 2016
Pages: 354
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two-stars

A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a P.I.—the men of Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc. are down for the job…
Sinners, whores, and sluts beware—your time is at hand: a faceless menace is threatening lingerie models on a cross country tour, and Ethan Brodie is there to defend and protect.
Ethan’s learned the hard way that beauty is no substitute for character. So even though Valentine Hart is one of the most breathtaking women he’s ever seen, he’s keeping his hands off and his eyes open. Or that’s what he tells himself.
Then one of the models is murdered, and the closer Ethan gets to the answers, the closer he finds himself to Valentine—and the hotter the pressure feels. There’s more to Val—more to the other girls—than he could have guessed. But one is keeping a secret that could kill them all.

Murder, models and mayhem abound in this book, when Ethan Brodie is tasked to provide security for a modelling gig that’s abruptly cut short because of a mysterious stalker and a pile of bodies turning up that may or may not be part of this bizarre crime scene. Valentine Hart – a vet student in training and part-time model – is part of his entourage that Ethan is assigned to and becomes his (very intimate) charge when it becomes clear that she isn’t free from the danger that stalks all of them.

I thought the action scenes and the criminal element saved this book from becoming a compendium of clichés – a pairing of hot ex-cop who considers women conquests with an equally hot supermodel who seems to have everything given to her – and stereotypes of ‘perfection’ in the romantic suspense genre. But Kat Martin at least imbues both Ethan and Val a few more shades of character traits that renders them more human and relatable. It isn’t badly written of course, but I felt the book seemed unnecessarily drawn out than usual, resulting in the final few action scenes reading more like a paramilitary op in disjointed contrast to the slow beginnings of the story. I neither liked nor disliked this pairing to be honest, and the H/hr simply didn’t appeal to me at all even after the mutual attraction went past the strong physical attraction.

It feels unkind to classify this as a mediocre book when my personal tastes clearly run different from what Kat Martin has rolled out for us in this new series, but ‘Into the Fury’ isn’t that much of a standout enough to be memorable for me. Yet…I’m strangely curious to see what else is in store

two-stars