Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In the Cold by Jeanie London

I am always on the lookout for a good romantic suspense. But I'm a bit picky about certain things. I don't like lots of graphic description of blood, mutilations, torture, child abuse, animal abuse and I really don't want to be inside the head of a crazed psychotic perverted killer. If I liked that kind of thing I'd read true crime. OK, I admit I'm a sissy wimpy girly-girl. Linda Castillo is a good RS author but she kind of skates on the edge of my comfort zone sometimes. I can usually skim over the squicky parts in Castillo's books because she doesn't drag it out over the whole book. Linda Howard is another favorite RS author but a bit uneven lately. Of course, Anne Stuart is the Goddess of RS. She focuses more on the suspense aspect rather than blood and guts and her heroes are to-die-for. Yummy!!

I have never read Jeanie London but several people raved about this book on the AAR boards (and KarenS too I think) so I had to try it. London has written for Harlequin Blaze and ITC is JL's first effort at RS and a very good one.

What Claire de Beaupre knows could kill her . . . again.

Simon Brandauer, head of the elite U.S. intelligence agency Excelsior, blames himself for the capture and execution of his top team of agents during a covert mission in the Balkan Republic. Now, three years later, Simon is shocked to discover one agent survived.

Claire endured months of brutal torture and remembers nothing of her past. But Simon must risk her fragile memory to unravel the mystery. When an unknown assassin wants Claire dead before her memory returns, Simon realizes he's no longer safeguarding agency secrets, but protecting the woman he loves.

ITC is a compelling spy thriller/suspense that delves into the terrible torture and ethnic cleansing that went on during the Bosnian-Serbian war. London described the horrible atrocities and traumas that Claire suffered without going into graphic detail. Claire and Simon are realistically drawn characters, both very strong and intelligent but by no means perfect. Both of them were damaged in their own way; Claire from her months of torture and Simon from his survivors guilt and I felt pain for both of them. The plot grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let go, although at times the spy adventure aspect overshadowed the romance. The love scenes are steamy but as usual I found myself wanting more of them :)

We know right from the beginning who the bad guys are but the element of suspense along with Claire's struggles to regain her memory kept me on the edge of my seat. The action really kicked into high gear when Claire and Simon return to the former Yugoslavia to retrieve some critical information. The aliases for the operatives in the spy network were a bit corny and the plot was a tad convoluted near the middle, but I still enjoyed the book very much. ITC was hard to put down and if she keeps up this level of work I predict London will join my list of fav RS authors along with Stuart, Howard, and Castillo.

My grade: B+


CW said...

I think I picked this up and put it down, but I'll take another look at it. Thanks. :)

Karen Scott said...

I loved ITC, but I think that a lot of die-hard romance readers might not be as enthralled, purely because of the length of time it took for the H/H to meet.

Jill Monroe said...

Just the cover alone makes me want to pick this book up!

ReneeW said...

CW: yes, give it another try.

KarenS: I didn't really notice that. I didn't like that the suspense overshadowed the romance a bit too much. But I still loved it.

Jill: Oh, yes, it's worth finding this one.

Wow, I haven't touched my blog in over 6 years and I'm still logged in!  Good thing because I have no idea what my password is.  In ...