Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review: Bulletproof Marriage by Karen Whiddon

Title: Bulletproof Marriage
Series: Mission: Impassioned
Author: Karen Whiddon
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 1, 2007
Publisher: Silhouette
ISBN: 1426807147
ISBN-13: 9781426807145

Protecting Sean McGregor's widow

Natalie had faced trouble before. As a highly trained agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, she'd known heartache and passion and fear. But never before had she been pushed into a corner with no way out. Until now... The man the Lazlo Group sent to help her, to protect her, was none other than her husband, Sean McGregor. After two years of mourning a man who had never died, would she have the time to forgive him—or would the brutal actions of a madman leave her widowed, once again?

My rating:

Trapped under heavy fire in a warehouse, SIS agent Natalie Major calls her father's old friend for help. Corbett Lazlo, head of the elite Lazlo Group is to send his best man to get Natalie out. Pronto!
Sure enough, Corbett does send his best agent. Natalie's husband Sean McGregor. The man who supposedly died in a car crash two years ago.

Seas has faked his own death to save Natalie, the only family he has left from the grudge a crime lord nicknamed the Hungarian holds against him. Needless to say, Natalie isn't too happy about him having risen from the dead and she is even less inclined to forgive him for putting her through two years of grief.

But they don't have much time for debate or recriminations. The Hungarian is after them, intent on finally getting his revenge one way or another. Both will most certainly result in both Natalie and Sean ending up dead for sure this time.

Certainly not as bad as the first two, but not as good as the third (or as good as it could've been). The recycling of the theme from Secret Agent Reunion (an agent coming back from the dead to be reunited with his lost love/wife) bothered me , but at least the execution was better than "the original".

Also, the fact that the villain appeared out of the left field, and had his own reasons for hating Corbett (and little to do with the biggest picture - the Dumont family's vendetta against Lazlo) also didn't contribute to my feeling very enthusiastic about this story. With just two books left until the end of the series it isn't good to seemingly forget about the "big evil" that's plagued the agency in the first two books.

But the biggest problem for me was Natalie. From her thoughts and the author's explications throughout the book, she'd been a little too codependent in her "former" life. I'm glad she's moved on after her husband's "death", gotten stronger, more determined, decided to become a leader instead of the follower she'd been before. But her stubborn refusal to listen to reason, to understand just why Sean did what he did, didn't seem in character with the strong woman of the now, instead reverting her to the codependent creature she'd been before Sean's disappearance. The Super-spy, as he called her, the determined, strong, intelligent agent she thought herself to be, would've examined everything, listen to him with both her heart and her head and understood his reasons, but it was easier for her to scream betrayal and avow her eternal hatred. Talk about dysfunctional.
And of course, typically, she realized her error when it was almost too late. Lame and experienced so many times it's not even remotely believable.

I've noticed I have quite a few problems with relating to the female characters in this series. Strong, independent, gun-carrying, intelligent women that turn into obtuse, emotionally-dysfunctional wenches at the drop of a dime...I actually feel sorry for their men.

There was nothing wrong with Sean, IMHO. He was drool-worthy and so utterly in love with his wife...No woman could refuse that. I understood his motivations completely and that's why I couldn't comprehend Natalie's stubborn refusal to see reason. Sure, I've never gone through such a scenario, so I can't vouch on what I would've done, but to me, her reaction seemed exaggerated.
I actually hoped the author would incorporate the little tidbit about his learning to pain in the epilogue, and I was disappointed, the shrew that was Natalie didn't get to see his paintings (at least not in this story), because I would've loved to read about that particular reaction.

And yet again, the multi-author-miniseries curse reared its ugly head. And again with the names. The mole from the previous book (not saying his name because of possible spoilers) has changed a vowel in his name between the books. Distracting.


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