Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 1 January 2013
I have read and enjoyed all the other books in the KGI series but I found this one disappointing and not up to the standard of its predecessors. This is PJ and Cole's book. They are both members of Steele's team and have been minor characters in the novels so far in the series having been involved in all the adventures to date. I had looked forward to this book as the two of them have had an interesting relationship so far and it was obvious that sparks would fly when they got together.
The book starts exceedingly well, with Cole turning up at PJ's favourite bar and the two of them having a night of passion. It was great to see him take the initiative this way and it was an interesting start to what could become a new relationship. When a mission gets in the way the two of them cannot move forward but have to concentrate on getting access to a child trafficker. They do this by having PJ dress up as a sexy woman and try to seduce him in order to get him alone. This backfires seriously and PJ is very badly hurt and her team are devastated. I admire the author for writing these scenes as so many authors have their characters threatened with horrible things but they are rescued at the last minute. It is obvious that some times missions must go wrong and that team members will bear the consequences.
What happens at this point is where the story goes wrong for me - apologies if there are some spoilers here, I will try to avoid them. Firstly, PJ disappears for six months and we never get a really good idea of what she does and how she feels during that period - I found that this broke the narrative for me as when we pick up with her again she is in a different stage of recovery. When she is reunited with the team both PJ and Cole have very good and sensible reasons why their relationship won't work if they stay team members - they agonise over this for a long time and then seem to forget all the reasons. A lot of the emotional threads, like this one, are not carried through so it seems that Cole and PJ have different emotions about the same thing every chapter. This especially applies to how PJ thinks that the team will treat her after her ordeal.
I could cope with these inconsistencies (after all, this is romantic suspense and not great literature) were it not for the main theme of the book which is revenge. This may be personal to me, but I actually thought that the idea of tracing the perpetrators of the crime down and killing them to be morally repugnant. However black the author paints their character and however awful their deeds which she describes it is difficult to understand why, at no time, does PJ or anyone involved with her get the authorities involved. It is clear that the author's view about victims having the right to inflict punishment on those who commit evil acts is shared by the characters - PJ does feel bad about it on a few occasions but soon talks herself out of it. I was uncomfortable about this aspect of the book.
A couple of instances occur where it looks like the author was rushed or just didn't give us enough details - how did the bad guy know who PJ really was ? How could PJ stand on her bad leg and use karate with her good one when two days before she had been so injured that she couldn't walk ? Why does no one in Vienna speak German ? How did they capture Cole (and know where he was) and overpower him ?
I'm sorry that I didn't enjoy this book more as I have really engaged with this series. I wish that the author hadn't rushed this story and produced a plot with holes and inconsistencies. I didn't like the overall premise (although that may just be me). I did admire how the author took PJ's injuries seriously and didn't gloss over the long-term effects of this but I thought that this might have been stronger if we had shared the missing six months with her. I was slightly nauseated by all the good-will, love, acceptance and pseudo-family feelings projected on to PJ although I really do wish that the world was like this (Maya Bank's characters are either very, very good or very, very evil with the possible exception of Resnick who I would like to see get his own book.
Even though I found this book disappointing I still think that this is a good series and would encourage new readers to catch up from the beginning.