Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Heat Seeker by Lora Leigh

I enjoyed Heat Seeker (50+ named characters in a 300 page novel) even though about half-way through reading it I took time to set up a spreadsheet to list all the names and I read another novel, Heartbreaker by Linda Howard. (7 named characters.) between chapters. Just for comparison.

I very much like all the Elite Ops heroines, Sabella, Lilly and Bailey. (As opposed to the heroines of the previous SEALs series, who were mainly bat-crazy and delusional imo.) Although I think it is a shame that the series seems to have moved into socio-economic group A. The first book, Wild Card was set around a struggling gas station if I recall…and that was an absolute stonker.

Who is the arms-dealer and traitor Warbucks? That is the plot of Heat Seeker. Other reviewers have griped on about how Mary suddenly changes into Jules. I have to admit that was a cruise missile out of nowhere. Particularly during the denouement, within a couple of pages (321 to324), one minute the character is Mary, then she’s Jules, then she changes back to being called Mary. It is very very strange. However. There was a precursor to that craziness on page 71. In the course of one paragraph the reader is told Micah Sloan's real name is David Abijah, his current alias is Jerric Abbas but then the heroine Bailey refers to him as Mr Abdul and Azra. Later on Bailey calls him Garren Abijah. That’s six different names for one minor character. And even earlier, the hero is named John Vincent when he should still be Trent Daylen ie before the explosion that killed Timmons.

Actually even though I knew what to expect I still have to admit…I’ve never come across anything like it ever ever before. Are the publishers too scared of the author?

There’s more on the plus side in Heat Seeker. Some of the dialogue is great. Landon Roth gets told ‘release Bailey or you’ll die hard.’ And Bailey herself has a great response to John Vincent. The killer for me was towards the end, when Myron reveals that he’s helping Bailey, he says, “I’m old and tired. And I voted for our current president. I believe in him.” I laughed out loud at that. But was unexpectedly impressed by the throwaway line about Saddam. There’s plenty of hotness too. I suppose you could say the story gives the reader an insight into the world of illegal arms-trading and how it connects to the rich, powerful, and double-dealing agency staff. It’s all a bit too labyrinthine for me though.

The real weakness, I suppose, is things like Raymond Greer suddenly changing into a good guy half way through the story. So a totally new bad guy, Landon, has to be introduced to provide some action. Rodriquez presumably is suddenly put in for the same reason. And suddenly around page 230 Bailey is defending the four fathers where towards the beginning of the novel the reader is lead to believe that one of them is Warbucks. Otherwise the reader might get bored with all the pointless chatter going on. And the endless round of house parties. Not me though. I even enjoyed the final chapter discussion about that silly contract. Bailey came across as a very kind-hearted princess.

Let’s see. Elite Ops have official permission to terminate a rich powerful American citizen (suspected traitor of course), the gun-runner Warbucks…on American soil. Isn’t that a completely illegal activity? Isn’t that the kind of action that Jason Bourne and Pamela Landy objected to …the kind of action that got Agency Director Ezra Kramer fired in Bourne Ultimatum? In fact Travis and the team execute Rodriguez in cold blood. Bailey of course doesn’t know jack…she suspects everyone except the real Warbucks…I can only handle one red herring per novel not dozens while she flails around clueless. Plus she has to be rescued (by John Vincent) from the only two tight situations she finds herself in…with Landon and Alberto.

Yet somehow. Despite all the craziness. Maybe because of all the good parts. This is a perfectly readable and entertaining novel. Readers may like to know the first Bourne novel was a dnf for me because Bourne slaps Marie around. That certainly didn’t appear in the movies. The point I’m making is good novelists can have iffy things happen in their stories.

...begorrah! I'm reviewing Lora Leigh books again. I was under the impression that I had given her up. Probably do Maverick next.


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