Series: Endgame Ops

Running the Risk by Lea Griffith

Running the Risk by Lea GriffithRunning the Risk by Lea Griffith
Series: Endgame Ops #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 3rd 2018
Pages: 347
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Survival is crucial. Trust is optional. Love is unstoppable.

Jude Dagan's life as he knew it ended a year ago. On a mission gone wrong, he was forced to watch as Ella Banning, the only woman he's ever loved, was killed. Or so he thought.

Jude wasn't the only one who lost something on the day Ella was presumed dead. She sacrificed Endgame Ops, the love of her life, and parts of herself she can never get back. Now she's determined to take down the world's most dangerous terrorist--even if it means working for him. When Jude and Ella are reunited, they'll battle the lies Ella has been forced to tell...and struggle to save a love that knows no bounds.

How do you love a woman who has, supposedly, for the greater good, betrayed you? A woman whom you’ve thought dead, coming back from the grave, who’d actually walked away willingly?

‘Running the Risk’ is a hard one to swallow, but then again, books about betrayal, second chances, big-time conspiracies and a high-stakes game are never easy to get through because they demand for sides to be taken and thereafter, leave you there and then bank on your (romantic) capacity to overlook the gravity and/or the cost of betrayal and proclaim that scarred love still conquers all.

Jude Dagan has found himself in a cruel twist of events that brought him back face to face with a one-time love, and the story unfolds with him learning about the depth and the breadth of her deception, even though it has been done for the sake of pursuing the same goal: eliminating a dangerous player in the international-arms dealing arena. Ella Banning on the other hand, is unable to outrun Jude’s crafty determination, torn between duty and mistaken loyalty (perhaps even stupidity)…and for this reason, it was easier to love Jude more than Ella. Without a good reason given for her actions until later, it was difficult to sympathise with her position in the book for the first half at least, but what do you really say about a woman who made this decision mistakenly believing she was protecting him?

Thankfully, that angst isn’t drawn out too much. The second half is relentless action, a consolidation of sorts, a reaffirmation of team effort, along with sex that sometimes happens in places and situations that seem rather inappropriate and unbelievable—that’s where the suspension of disbelief kicks in.

Still, Lea Griffiths’s effortless writing swept me through it all, unravelling the complex network of arms trade, the shady players and the constant jetting from one locale to the next, where nothing is as it seems—this is the type of high-octane romantic suspense I dig. There’re moves and counter-moves on a chessboard and the dangerous game that’s played has a price that’s typically too high for anyone to afford…all of which Griffith manages very well. But the whole largeness of the entire conspiracy that Griffiths has built here means that only a part of it is resolved in this book and there’re still too many things that haven’t yet fallen into place.

‘Running the Risk’ can of course, be read as a standalone. There are however, references to what happened in the previous book in the secretive and high-strung world of covert ops (and some recap for the reader’s sake here) which can be a confounding—I think the secret-keeping and the classified stuff sometimes work against the story—and the epilogue that’s like a trailer for the next book to come is merely a stark reminder that the whole arc is far from over. I’m always itchy for more (particularly when it comes to world-domination-type things), but the wait for the next one looks to be long.


Flash of Fury by Lea Griffith

Flash of Fury by Lea GriffithFlash of Fury by Lea Griffith
Series: Endgame Ops, #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 17th 2017
Pages: 384
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Their spark is immediate
Kingston McNally lost men when someone betrayed his team, and now he's out for retribution. His quest for the enemy's courier leads him to Cameroon and Allie Redding, a petite Peace Corps volunteer as stubborn as she is brave. Their attraction is immediate, but Allie has secrets of her own...and she's not giving them up easily.
But their secrets could burn them both
Allie's life has been spent hiding in plain sight, but she's had enough of her cloak-and-dagger existence. On her way home, her plane is hijacked-and King saves her life. But that doesn't mean she owes him anything...even if he is the most damnably sexy man she's ever laid eyes on. He's got black ops and secrets written all over him, and trust is a two-way street.

The moment I got my hands on ‘War Games’, I knew that Endgames Ops was a series I needed to sink my teeth into.

‘Flash of Fury’ harks back to what I’ll probably always think of as classic, romantic suspense: gritty and fast-paced, with over the top tangled webs of conspiracy-theories wrapped up in shadowy figures, a larger-than-life plot, and exotic locations matched only by near picture-perfect characters who are the right amount of screwed up and in need of revenge in some way. And I lapped it all up: pawns, baits, the game of chess in the shady world of political manoeuvring and all.

Lea Griffith’s writing does bring back the good ol’ days of Cindy Gerard and Suzanne Brockmann—just to name a few—and there really isn’t a moment to breathe from the start. The pace is deliciously unrelenting, along with a dialled-up amount of mutual lust and breathless gasps with every touch coupled with the amount of intrigue that’s present with characters hit their stride when the going gets tough. I did like King and Allie enough; there didn’t seem to be any particular TSTL moment or inexplicable scenes where one acted (too much) out of character or like a Marvel/DC superhero impervious to injury or emotional fallout. I thought it only faltered towards the end, where it felt a bit rushed, particularly when King and Allie hadn’t gotten their act together by the last few pages, and then suddenly did by the time the last page was turned.

But as the first book in a new series, ‘Flash of Fury’ has a very foundational feel to it still; there were times I simply felt I was thrust straight into a complicated situation and was more confused than the characters trying to make sense of the bigger picture that still eludes us all. There’s already a setup for Jude’s story that I can’t wait to read, but above all, I think I’m itching to know just what the overarching narrative will be as the series rolls on.