Cold War, Hot Passion
Linda Howard has built a reputation for penning sizzling love stories that offer up nonstop thrills, both of the romantic and the suspenseful kind. In her last book, Now You See Her, Howard combined a creepy paranormal situation with cold-blooded murder and hot-blooded passion, creating a riveting read that thrills on several levels at once. Now she follows that up with All the Queen's Men, resurrecting an elusive hero from one of her previous books, Kill and Tell, and crafting a spy thriller of high suspense, gut-wrenching emotion, and sweet passion.
John Medina is considered by many to be a legend among the intelligence crowd, though he is all too real. Due to his past efforts, John takes great pains to keep his existence and identity hidden. Only a handful of people even know his real name, and he has no permanent address, preferring to keep on the move to make himself less vulnerable. After years of working as a CIA operative, he has countless disguises and an equal number of enemies, and taking precautions comes naturally to him. But when he watches the shock of grief tear through Niema Burdock as she learns of her beloved husband's death, John feels the first tinges of vulnerability, the first hint of a love he can't afford to feel and is sure will never be requited.
Niema Burdock was one of four children born to an ordinary couple living an ordinary life in an ordinary town in Iowa. However, Niema herself is anything but ordinary. Even as a child, she was unsatisfied with the conventional lifestyle the rest of her family preferred, seeking out adventure and risk. Niema is an adrenaline junkie, someone who enjoys risk and danger, the uncertainty of never knowing what might happen next. For this reason, intelligence fieldwork with the CIA suits her well and even brings her the one thing in life that has made her truly happy: her husband, Dallas. But the work also rips Dallas away from her after only five months of marriage, involving him in a field operation that goes horribly, tragically wrong.
Medina keeps his love and lust well hidden as he observes Niema's grief, knowing it would be inappropriate to approach her and fearing that she blames him for Dallas's death. Though Medina is fairly certain his love for Niema can never be fulfilled, that belief is sorely tested five years later when he and Niema end up working together on another operation. Though Medina tells himself he is asking for Niema's help solely because her expertise is essential to a delicate part of the operation, there is a part of him that thrills at being near her again. Given a second chance, Medina now must focus on keeping both himself and Niema alive long enough for their hearts to connect.
Howard does an excellent job of tugging on the heartstrings while keeping the adrenaline flowing. The dangers, both romantic and physical, are always close at hand, and her characters are carefully and intricately drawn, making their lives and dilemmas leap off the page. Howard gets better with each book she produces. Besting All the Queen's Men will be quite an accomplishment.
Beth Amos is the author of several mainstream suspense thrillers, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury. A longtime romance reader, Amos manages to bring a strong romantic sensibility to the absorbing thrillers she pens.
[A] sexy thriller...Another explosive hit...When it comes to mixing that perfect blend of romance and danger, Ms. Howard is unbeatable!
Ms. Howard has made the character [of John Medina] irresistible...A fascinating novel of suspense and sensual tension.
Heart-pounding sensuality and gripping tension made it impossible to put this page-turner down until the very end....John Medina is quite a hero.
John Medina gave the order that killed Dallas Burdock, but Burdock's widow, Niema, assumed the guilt. She never expected to see the Black Ops commander again; she had no idea how much she had touched the hardened man. Five years later, Medina goes in pursuit; he single-mindedly coerces Niema into another undercover mission, sensing how much she missed the excitement. But nothing is simple between them, and the past merely widens the chasm. As with many Howard books, it is the man who chases, the man who wants the commitment. Heightened sexual tension keeps the listener on edge, though the action ebbs and flows. Initially uneven, with too much attention to diction, Kate Forbes's narration smoothes out as she adjusts to the pace. Her deep voice lends itself to the male characters and the narrative itself, the husky undertones adding a sense of urgency or languidness, depending on the need. Public libraries should purchase. Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist A high-suspense romance...Howard's trademark darkly sensual style and intense, layered plot will delight her fans.
Rendezvous Ms. Howard has made the character [of John Medina] irresistible...A fascinating novel of suspense and sensual tension.
Old Book Barn Gazette Heart-pounding sensuality and gripping tension made it impossible to put this page-turner down until the very end....John Medina is quite a hero.
Romantic Times [A] sexy thriller...Another explosive hit...When it comes to mixing that perfect blend of romance and danger, Ms. Howard is unbeatable!
Amazon.com First introduced in Kill and Tell, agent John Medina is as intriguing as the perilous world he operates in. Watching him in action, à la James Bond, is exhilarating as is the single-minded intensity of his feelings for Niema...Throw in a couple of chilling chase scenes, some romantic interludes hot enough to peel paint from the walls, and one or two bigger-than-life, internationally connected characters, and you've got a romantic thriller that's sure to be a...bestseller.