Ballantine, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
ax Bhagat is the dedicated, hard-driven and unflappable commander of the FBI's most elite anti-terrorism unit. He asks nothing of his team that he does not expect of himself, and his keen ability to read others has enabled him to defuse many impossible situations. Former hostage Gina Vitagliano owes him for helping her survive a hijacking. Both are still struggling with the incident, Max more so than Gina. He blames himself for being unable to rescue Gina before her captors brutalized her.
o further complicate matters, Max finds himself attracted to Gina. He doesn't want to acknowledge that attraction, and actually believes it's aberrant as she's young enough to be his daughter. A much more open-minded Gina begins a campaign to convince Max to explore a relationship. Max's cool attitude and unwillingness to talk to her inevitably drives Gina overseas to continue her relief work. When Max receives the shocking news that Gina has died in a terrorist attack, he drops everything to begin his own investigation. Once he arrives in Hamburg, he gets an even bigger shock - Gina (along with fellow relief worker Molly Anderson) is still alive. Both women are very likely in the hands of killers determined to re-capture Grady Morant, a former Special Forces operative turned smuggler. Equally determined to rescue the women they love, Max and Grady head to Indonesia to confront a faceless, brutal enemy who will resort to anything to achieve objectives.
uzanne Brockmannís ability to bare her characters, heart and soul, is unsurpassed and she's done an exemplary job with Max Bhagat. Ever since his introduction in book one of the
series, he's been a hard man to understand. But it's clear Brockmann knew exactly how to lead him toward his own personal breaking point, and she gives readers the rich emotional pay-off they've been waiting for. Add to that plenty of action and a sub-plot involving Molly and Grady (the star-crossed pair first introduced in
Over the Edge
) and you have one heck of a roller coaster. The plot was bogged down at times due to Brockmann's timeline and time zone hopping, and some confusing transitions. Also, the final showdown with the bad guys seemed a little too drawn out, but as a whole
delivers the goods.
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