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Cindy Gerard

REVIEW:  The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

REVIEW: The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

The Way Home Cindy Gerard

Dear Ms. Gerard:

I skipped over this book initially because the cover was so different than previous Gerard stories except for the reprint of old category titles.  Later I saw JenniferRNN mention on Twitter how angsty it was and I trotted over to check it out.

The premise of the story promises a heart wrenching tale. Jess Albert’s husband was killed in action four years ago. Tyler Brown, a former special-ops soldier, comes to her small northern Minnesota town chasing down a connection that Ty believed existed between he and Jess when they had met 18 months earlier.

Jess and Ty begin to fall in love when Jess is informed that her husband, J.R., is still alive. He’s been held in captivity for years and has no memories. When the news reaches Jess, her plans with Ty fall by the side. She now has a husband that doesn’t know her and a lover who is not her husband.  The blurb kind of gives away the resolution to the story so I’m not spoiling anything if I say that there is a fourth woman, Rabia, who cared for J.R. during his captivity. A romance reader isn’t going to have to work hard to figure out how this all unwinds.

Ty has a reason that drives him back to Jess after 18 months of silence. The reason makes a lot of sense but what happened in those intervening 18 months bothered me like a grain of sand at the ball of my foot. It made Ty out to be a little flighty, his affections too easily set and then displaced.  And the ease at which the two fall into bed and then into love together was almost too quick. A boat ride and then a dinner and that was about all it took.

As with all Gerard books there are plenty of little details that give authenticity to the story. Ty talks and acts like a military man with wartime experience and Jess is the widow who is ready to set aside her grief for a new love.

Despite the set up, the storytelling came off disjointed.  Just when you were settling in to appreciate the emotional movement in the romance between Jess and Ty, you’d get jerked out to spend a few chapters on JR and Rabia. There were two stories being told at once and while they were tangentially related, they didn’t flow well with each other.  And because the characters having these relationships are actually married to each other even if one believes the other is dead and the other cannot remember his married, there’s a certain awkwardness for me when I was reading.

Around the 200 page mark, however, the angst set in and so did the action and the book ended on a high note.  Jess and JR weren’t a perfect couple before his death and the distance between them and his captivity had irrevocably changed both of them. It was an interesting meditation (and could have gone farther) on the changing foundations of love.  In many ways it challenges the first and only soul mate concept that is so prevalent in the genre. I just wish we had taken a slightly shorter route getting there (which is, I acknowledge, in contradiction to how I was discomfited by how quickly Ty and Jess fell in love).

This is Gerard’s jump to hardcover. It’s easy for me to say I’d read this because I got a free copy. I’m a fan of the series and I’m not so sure I’d have made the jump to hardcover with her. The book delivers a solid romance with action and humor but every reader’s budget is tight these days.  B-

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

REVIEW: Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

Killing Time Cindy Gerard

Dear Ms. Gerard:

“Killing Time” makes a smooth transition from the Black Ops, Inc. to the One Eyed Jacks series with pilot Mike Brown and CIA attorney Eva Salinas.  Eight years ago, Eva’s husband died in Afghanistan in a terrible mission gone wrong, a mission that Mike Brown was involved in and one that haunts him yet today.  Operation Slam Dunk resulted in the loss of lives and cratered Mike’s career.  (This should not be a surprise to anyone involved. Everyone knows that the first rule of naming missions is to not tempt fate.  Called it Operation Goat Fuck or Operation Screw the Pooches or even Operation Possible Success, but never, ever Slam Dunk).

This year’s anniversary for Mike is spent in a bar in Lima, Peru, getting stinking drunk and possibly laid by the gorgeous woman eying him in the bar.   The story opens with Eva getting the actual upper hand on Mike and handcuffing him to her bed.  She wants answers from him, however, he doesn’t have those answers.  Mike convinces Eva that he was a scapegoat.  While he feels traumatized by the death of seven of his unit members and dozens of civilians, he knows was not the root cause of OSD going pear shaped.

The plot is obvious – find out the real secrets hidden behind OSD.  Part of the story is told through the eyes of a paid assassin, a woman. The role that Eva and the female antagonist play  is a welcome respite from the overwhelming testosterone in the series.  “Killing Time” follows the same formula for past Gerard books. It’s full of angst ridden characters seeking redemption for a past mistake.  In between sexy make out scenes, there are gun battles, captures, and escapes.  Some of the BOIs make an appearance to help Mike and Eva carry out some of their mission.

To the extent the reader likes these types of books, “Killing Time” will be an enjoyable interlude.  If the shoot ‘em up and then make out storylines don’t work, then “Killing Time” likely doesn’t have enough emotional layering to carry a non action reader through the suspense scenes.  There isn’t a larger moral story being unfurled here although.  There are good guys and bad guys.

“Killing Time” worked for me because the action made each page exciting to turn.  Mike and Eva’s interaction was peppered with snark and badassery on both sides.  I felt Mike had a genuine respect for Eva.

Eva Salinas, aka Pamela Diaz, aka the woman who’d had the cojones to brave the hazards of a for- eign country, seduce him, drug him, cuff him to a bed, and kick him in the face, hadn’t deserved to be played. Strangled, maybe, but not played.

Eva was smart and capable.  She proved her ability to handle herself in almost any situation in the very first chapter, thus it made sense for her to be involved in later hijinks.  She wasn’t there just to provide emotional drama, but contributed on every level.  Mike and Eva came off as real equals and not just because she was salving his wounded heart. In some ways, Mike was the more emotionally vulnerable.  He had been hiding in South America, nursing his wounds, missing his surviving unit buddies, and holding his martyrdom close to him.  Eva was the one going all out, jeopardizing her career trying to find answers to the death of her husband eight years ago.

As a long time reader of the series, I appreciate how smooth the transition was from the previous books to this new series.  Paranormal writers could learn a thing or two on how to create momentum for a sister series and then how to power that series forward on its own.  I can’t wait for more of the One Eye Jacks. B-

 

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