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REVIEW: No Surrender by Shannon Stacey

Dear Ms. Stacey:

1185 I confess that I haven’t ever read you before.   I thought I had and just decided that while you were a great gun, your books were just not for me.   Then, after seeing two recent releses, Becoming Becky and No Surrender, I thought I ought to give you a try.   I tried Becoming Becky but couldn’t get into it at the time. But then I saw that Keishon, a very picky suspense reader, mentioned she was excited about your Devlin series book, No Surrender.

No Surrender is a fast paced action story that is sort of split in two. While I was reading it, I was instantly reminded of Suzanne Brockmann back in her earlier days when she was writing more romance actions stories than simply action stories.

I hadn’t read any other books in the Devlin Group series and never once felt lost.   I do, however, have the urge to read the entire series now (and plan to buy them this weekend).   The primary focus of the Devlin Group is of Gallagher and Carmen Oliveria.   Gallagher is the number two man at Devlin Group who is primarily responsible for logistics of a mission.   Carmen Oliveria (and her past was a little light on the details) appeared to be a former thief whose speciality is picking locks and being invisible.

Together Gallagher and Carmen are sent to peak through a very bad man’s house in Canada.   The house is supposed to be empty of everyone except for staff but the situation turns ugly when the bad man returns unexpectedly.   Carmen and Gallagher get out a live but are stranded in the mountains of New Hampshire.    The first part of the story is a road romance as the two struggle to survive in the mountains with very few supplies and an attraction that at least Carmen does not want to explore.

Whether it is the adrenaline, the near death experience, or the forced intimacy, Carmen can’t hold out and she and Gallagher enjoy a memorable physical encounter.

The second part of the romance takes place in Matunisia where the Devlin Group sets up camp to remove a hostage.

Carmen and Gallagher are both very competent.   I was also very convinced that these people knew what they were doing.   There is a great scene in which Carmen is stuck with only a .22 and the bad guys are out of range.   Gallagher does something with the pistol to force a greater velocity from the bullet.   It was details like these (whether it was accurate) that made me a believer of the story.    There is a great sense of realism here which rachets up the suspense.

For the most part, I kind of guessed what would happen next.   I thought that the conflicts were signalled a bit strong.   For example, when we first meet Jake Donovan, a member of the Devlin Group, he’s drinking a beer and being despondent over the loss of his best friend who he lost in a rock climbing episode three years before.

There was another tell in a setup scene when the Devlin group first gets to Mutinisia which I thought was overtly obvious as well.    The lack of surprise in the story is the one complaint I had so I was even more grateful that the penultimate moment (assuming you don’t consider the epilogue the final scene) wasn’t what I thought it would be.

The emotional exploration was a bit on the sparse side although I wouldn’t have expected either of the characters to be big mopers. The absence of long expository segments was a relief after I had tried to get through two others that were replete with them.   Gallagher is really the all American boy next door, a very capable and deadly one, but one who had little emotional baggage other than his longing to be with Carmen.

Carmen is more conflicted, having had a bad childhood and a lack of close friends or good relationships.   Her one good thing in life is the Devlin Group and she certainly doesn’t want anything to happen that would affect her position.   She worries, rightfully so, that Gallagher’s feelings for her will prevent her from being part of the group. She worries about what would happen if they would form a bond and then break up.   Her concerns were legitimate and I liked that there was no easy, concrete answer for her. To be with Gallagher would be   a risk.

While I thought that there were a few problems (and thought the two part story was a bit strange), I really liked No Surrender and think that those readers who are looking for a Suzanne Brockmann type of story with more romance, would be pleased with this book. I’m off to get the other Devlin Group books.   B

Best regards

Jane

This book can be purchased on line at various retailers on August 25, 2009. You can read excerpts at Shannon Stacey’s site.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. Kalen Hughes
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 14:42:07

    I do, however, have the urge to read the entire series now (and plan to buy them this weekend).

    That pretty much says it all! I think I’ll go check this out . . .

  2. Elise Logan
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 14:49:52

    Thanks for putting up the review today. Tells me just what I need to know. Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy the reviews? No? Well, I do. FYI.

  3. Angela James
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 15:20:03

    There is so much I love about this series and Shannon’s writing, I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope you enjoy the others.

  4. Bev Stephans
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 16:23:37

    I read the teasers on Shannon’s website for No Surrender and can’t wait for the 25th to download the book. I read the first two in the series and really enjoyed them.

    I’m sorry that you couldn’t get into Becoming Miss Becky, because there are some memorable scenes in that book that had me laughing out loud. Maybe you can go back and try it again.

  5. Jaci Burton
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 16:30:55

    I’m so thrilled you reviewed this book, Jane, and am confident you’re going to love the others in the series.

    With full disclosure that Shan and I are good friends, I love the Devlin Group series. It’s nonstop action and adventure and romance, and makes me want to be Shannon Stacey when I grow up. She writes like she knows what the hell she’s talking about, as opposed to some of us (me) who have to struggle with things like which guns work for which scenes and how to blow shit up and timelines and bad guys and locations and how the hell are my characters going to have sex when the world is imploding around them. She makes it look easy, and an author who can do that has my admiration.

  6. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 21:21:50

    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    And thank you to everybody else for your awesomely kind words, too. I love writing the DG books, so it thrills me when others enjoy them, too.

    The gun thing’s true! My husband and his brother were talking about a guy on the gun range doing it, which made my writing radar ping. My brother-in-law then gave me a very long and very boring lesson on the physics of it, but I left the physics lesson out. :)

    I’m slightly reluctant to admit this out loud, but I think I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped making Becoming Miss Becky stand alone. While the plot does (I think), the books are almost as much about the town as the main characters, and I fear readers who haven’t read Taming Eliza Jane won’t connect with Becoming Miss Becky as much.

    But thank you again, Jane, for taking the time to review No Surrender!

  7. abc
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:35:47

    I read the second book in this series. If I remember correctly, both characters in that book had emotional issues relating to their childhood. The main issue I had with that book was that neither character ever drew me in enough to care what happened to them. I remember one scene in particular that was supposed to be very highly charged, with the hero agonizing over what the heroine was doing, but it pretty much fizzled out for me at that point. It’s when I realized this particular author had lost me, because she hadn’t made me care about either of her main characters.

    The third book sounds similar enough to the one I read to keep the author on my do not buy list. But for those who liked this one, you’ll probably like the second one too.

  8. REVIEW: No Surrender (Devlin Group Series No.3) by Shannon Stacey | avidbookreader
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 23:03:04

    […] to ignore what­ever griev­ances I had with the plot­ting or the flow of the story. I agree with this reader in that, Suzanne Brock­mann fans should give this author a try espe­cially if they like a lot of […]

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