Friday, October 23, 2009

Show No Fear (by Marliss Melton)

Reviewed by Tracy L. Karol

I bought this book on my Kindle because Marliss Melton has become one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. I have really enjoyed this series and am sad that this is the last installment. With that said, I didn't enjoy the first part of this book as much as I've enjoyed her other books. In fact, I actually stopped reading it midway through and read several other books and only went back to it when I didn't have anything else to read. The very detailed sex scenes and something about the character of Lucy were not appealing to me.

That said, once I did start reading the book again, I finished the second half in one night. It was not a disappointment and Lucy's character grew on me. I still don't think this book was as good as Ms. Melton's others, but I appreciate that she was trying to make a statement in the story about FARC and the plight of kidnapped Americans (and others) in Columbia and Venezuela. For that, she did a very good job indeed.

The story starts off with the character of Lucy, a reckless CIA agent, almost dying in a warehouse explosion (after she was also almost raped by Venezuelan thugs/soldiers). She is saved at the last minute by a Navy SEAL, who turns out to be her old college boyfriend, Gus. She has no idea he is a SEAL - he was studying to be an architect when she broke up with him, and she was traveling overseas with friends. But they both suffered tragedies they didn't tell each other about: She was the victim of a cafe bomb, where her friends literally died in front of her eyes, leading her to join the CIA and with a hefty dose of survivor's guilt and a reckless disregard for her own life. Gus (who she knew as James), lost his father in the Twin Tower attacks on 9/11 and joined the Navy to fight the war on terror. So they are both fighting the same battle, but haven't had much contact and have not seen each other.

After the warehouse explosion, Lucy goes from this reckless fighter to a frightened woman suffering from PTSD. It takes months before she is ready to work again, and when she is, she is teamed with Gus to go into the jungle under the guise of UN peacekeepers trying to rescue hostages. These hostages happen to be friends and coworkers of Lucy's, so she desperately wants the job, but does not want to work with Gus.

This is where I got a little irritated. I would have liked the PTSD explained better, rather than just told that Lucy was a kick-butt fighter but not is afraid of her own shadow and clings to Gus, while resenting him, yet having quick, explicit sex with him. That's when I put the book aside. I shouldn't have, because it quickly moved past that. The sex scenes were still pretty explicit and didn't really do much to move the plot along, but I get that a lot of people like steamy sex scenes and that's fine. I'm not taking away stars for that - I just skip past them if they go on too long because I don't need to read about every lick and moan.

Anyway, while in the jungle things get complicated as Lucy and Gus, posing as husband and wife, grow close again but come under suspicion from the FARC guards who are negotiating for the hostages' release. I won't give more away, but it gets very suspenseful and fans will enjoy it.

What I really like about Ms. Melton's writing, as opposed to some other writers who I think are great and also write about SEALS, is that she has stuck to her guns. She seems to truly like her characters and hasn't changed her position with the political winds. There isn't a lot of humor in her books, but there is great suspense and action and details. You don't have to read any of the other books in the series to read this one; all work fine as their own novels. I highly recommend reading all her novels, though, and think you will enjoy this author very much if you like suspense with a good dash of romance. Just be prepared for some steamy sex too! Ms. Melton has now moved to my favorite romance author of Navy SEAL books. I haven't even bought the latest from my previous favorite. Great job, Ms. Melton!