Author: Linda Howard

Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Troublemaker by Linda HowardTroublemaker by Linda Howard
Published by HarperCollins on May 10th 2016
Pages: 400
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two-stars

A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

An utter disappointment.

I don’t have much experience with Linda Howard’s books but this one has gone a long way to put me off them.

There’s something rather old-fashioned about the narrative – the omniscient, sweeping POV that simply follows a character through every thought and action, most of which can be superfluous – which simply didn’t sit too well with me. Apart from these details (which didn’t seem to tie into the bigger picture), the lack of explanation in the bizarre twist of events where the female protagonist suddenly gets saddled with a wounded operative because her long-estranged stepbrother orchestrated it is more bewildering than I can accept without question.

Waiting for that grand plan to unravel from this strange set-up however, didn’t quite materialise in the way I hoped it would. The pages that followed simply veered off into documenting the quirky behaviour of Isabeau’s smart but spoilt and rather annoying Golden Retriever rather than the injured hero and the mystery behind the attempt on his life. And as much cute as these dogs could be, reading page after page of the dog’s antics made me give this up halfway, when everything that mattered – the suspense, the mystery, the relationship – just seemed too long in coming.

two-stars

All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard

All the Queen’s Men by Linda HowardAll the Queen's Men by Linda Howard
Series: CIA Spies #2
Published by Pocket Star on June 1st 2000
Pages: 376
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three-stars

THE PAST PROVED DEADLY...
No one knows the dangers of getting close to legendary CIA Black Ops specialist John Medina better than communications expert Niema Burdock. Five years ago, she and her husband worked with Medina on an explosive mission that ended in a tragedy. Although she has slowly recovered from her terrible loss, Niema planned never to see Medina again. Until now.
HISTORY IS ABOUT TO REPEAT ITSELF...
A French arms dealer is supplying international terrorists, and only Niema can plant the bugs needed to crack the deadly ring. Against her best instincts, she infiltrates the dealer's glamorous world. But when the plan goes awry, Niema and Medina must take flight in a strange land--and soon find their partnership sparked by an erotic charge. In a world of deception. John Medina has once again set Niema on a free fall into danger...and into desire like she's never known.

A trailblazing novel and an entirely enthralling read that is probably revolutionary and fresh at time of publication. ‘All the Queen’s Men’ plunges straight into action with an unforgettable heroine who is reunited with the enigmatic, legendary spy who has played a pivotal role in her husband’s death 5 years earlier.

More importantly, it’s hard not to admire what Linda Howard has done with this story; reading this over a decade later hasn’t diminished the impact of the issues of terrorism and the black market on weapons/technology that the book raises.

But above all, I loved the kickass Niema who’s the perfect combination of smart, dry and capable without venturing into TSTL territory at all. I could appreciate to a lesser extent, John Medina, because his initiation of their first sex scene together felt a little uncomfortably non-consensual, or at the very least, manipulative. But throughout, I couldn’t exactly get a read on him and even the revelation of his feelings seemed piecemeal and sparse at the end.

The build-up between Niema and John kept me on my toes and while I thought their resolution happened too abruptly – after a ridiculous climax brought about by a shopping trip (?!) – without sufficient closure, Niema/John actually do get a very cautious HEA with which I’m not entirely satisfied.

three-stars