May 26 2008
Dear Ms. Brand,
I’ve been on a WWII kick the last few weeks which is what made me focus on the blurb for “Blind Instinct.” The heroine obtains a Nazi codebook that’s going to lead to all kinds of secrets and threats to her life. This is what brings her together with the hero as they race to solve the connection between the codebook, a killer and a Nazi criminal.
When I looked at “Blind Instinct” at the eharlequin site, I didn’t realize that it’s actually the third book in a series. Usually there is some icon on the front cover of series books but there wasn’t one here. So when I started it, there was a lot of information that I had to catch up on. You do a good job filling in the information from the past books but there were times I still had to stop then mentally flip through the many characters and their relationships and their pasts to get myself back on track. By the end of the book, everything made sense but newbies should be aware that they’re coming in on the tail of the tale.
I also didn’t know that the heroine, Sara, was experiencing dreams of a past life. And what dreams. If I’d been seven years old and started doing this and speaking in foreign languages in which I’d had no education all while sleepwalking, I’d have been freaked out too. I liked the relationship she had with her father and how he helped her cope with it all.
I’ve said in past reviews that rom-susp heroes are tricky. Are they tough enough that I believe in their suspense side while still being able to maintain a relationship? Marc is a bad ass dude. He’s intelligent, capable, can multi-task like a mother and oozes testosterone. Unfortunately he also does just about everything except lift his leg on Sara to ‘mark her as his own.’ At one point he tells her he’s loved her since she was seven and he was nine. Okaaay. Then Sara guesses it was Marc who warned away some of her past boyfriends while he kept tabs on her over the years. I was creeped out too. I mean, if he wants to date her and have a relationship, why not call her up – since they already know each other – ask her on a date and bring a bouquet of flowers?
Sara is also intelligent and quick on the ball. It’s she who puts together the fact that when she’s around Marc, she has her past life dreams. She’s also the first to realize that a series of events against her are tied together and relate to the code book she found. Even though not a trained agent, she’s got enough common sense to manage to evade the killer after her and knows to call in the experts rather than try and deal with this alone. But then, while knowing that the bad guys are trying to kill her, she does a few bone head WTF things. She eventually snaps back into her usual smartness but I had lost a degree of respect for her by then.
While I think the romance tips towards the alpha side, it is well balanced with the suspense aspects of the plot. You obviously put a lot of thought into backgrounds of the villains and plausibly detail their actions and motivations. Billions of dollars in looted gold, diamonds and artwork would motivate most criminals but when combined with trying to escape Nazi pasts, the villains have some strong reasons to avoid capture. I did notice that you have a lot of former government agents who’ve defected to the dark side. Maybe US government pensions need looking into.
The dream/flash back sequences were excellent. Even though I already knew how that part of the story would end, I was riveted while reading about Sara’s past as a secret agent stationed in France. It was like watching a
slasher movie and wanting to scream “don’t go in there!” each time she interacted with the Gestapo agent or her Nazi boss. The last line of the book was especially poignant.
So, let’s see. Parts I liked, parts I really liked and a few things which annoyed me add up to a B- overall. Which is not bad considering I haven’t read the first two books in this series – both of which I’m considering going back to read later.