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-