Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: The Colonel's Widow? by Mallory Kane

Title: The Colonel's Widow?
Series: Black Hills Brotherhood
Author: Mallory Kane
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 1, 2009
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 1426843178
ISBN-13: 9781426843174

In her nightmares, Irina Castle relived the horror of witnessing her husband's murder. For two years she'd grieved his death while running Black Hills Search and Rescue—and privately searching for him. Then he emerged from the shadows and was in her life again...leading her to question everything she'd once believed about the man she loved.

Rook Castle, a former air force combat rescue officer, had "died" to protect Irina from a terrorist. He couldn't fault her for not trusting him when he returned on a mission to keep her safe from the danger that targeted her again. Nor could he resist the passion that even death could not erase.

My rating:

Irina Castle has spent the last two years tirelessly searching for her husband that everybody presumed dead. She wasn’t deterred, determined to find him—or his body by any means necessary…Until she ran out of money. And apparently hope.

Novus Ordo, a terrorist that was partly responsible for Rook Castle’s death (Rook was the only one who could identify him), has taken Irina’s backing out of her investigation as proof Rook is indeed still alive and Irina knows where to find him.

But she doesn’t. Not really. He’s supposed to be dead, remember? Well, not exactly dead, since he’s standing in front of her in their secluded cabin. He’s enacted his own death to keep her safe…Not only did he fail, he’s also betrayed her, lied to her, and broken her trust. And now he just might get her killed to top it all off. You go, Rook!

This was the final book in the Black Hills Brotherhood series. I haven’t read the first book (it had a baby on the cover, no thanks), I actually ended up liking the second, and though I promised myself I wouldn’t poke into the hornet’s nest anymore, I actually picked this one up. For curiosity’s sake at least. The last one, The Sharpshooter's Secret Son, left too many unanswered questions I somehow had to read the ending of this trilogy. Yeah, I know, curiosity killed the cat. But notice, I’m not dead…I am a little disappointed, though.

This story recycled another common (and much loved by Harlequin and Silhouette RS authors) theme—the coming back from the dead spiel. The hero faked his own death to keep his wife safe, but now has to come back into the land of the living because the chick is in danger because he faked his own death. Talk about a vicious circle.

The major problem in book with this recurring theme is always the heroine. Irina didn’t disappoint. She felt betrayed, she felt used blah blah blah, always thinking about herself, how everything impacted her and her alone, never bothering to think about how everything might have impacted Rook, what Rook has been through without the cushion of the familiar surroundings of their house etc. She was annoying for the better part of the book and only came marginally around upon the realization she might actually lose her husband for real this time.

Well, Rook wasn’t much better, but you know how guys tend to be. Arrogance and pride working as masks to hide their fears and feelings. Lucky for the guy he had such a great friend in Deke Cunningham, the hero from The Sharpshooter's Secret Son, , that saw the light in his own book and now preached the truth to anybody willing to listen and to those not so willing—namely Rook. But his teachings somehow penetrated the dude’s thick scull and Rook succeeded in shaking his pride long enough to actually talk to his wife.

The other hiccup in this book was the terrorist plot angle. When the truth about Novus Ordo and what he was actually trying to accomplish was revealed, I barely could hold the laughter in. That was it?! That was his goal, his purpose? WTF?! Are you for real? I was hoping there was some kind of world-domination ploy involved, while in reality he just wanted everybody to pay for not believing him, for… (I’m not saying more without revealing everything). I’m still snickering, though.

The only redeeming part was the suspense and buildup with the full-scale battle at the cabin when Rook returns, the searching of the traitor in their midst and for Novus Ordo’s true identity, the capture, and the action scene upon the rescue. But still not enough to move this one onto the keepers shelf.


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