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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Review: Dead Drop

Dead Drop
Book Four of the Incognito Series

by Karen Wiesner

Roan Emory, Network operative, was inducted against his will. Parris ‘Perry’ L’Engle, an FBI agent and the only woman he ever loved, has never been convinced that the car accident that took Daniel Sands’ life was legitimate. Just before his disappearance twenty-five years earlier, Daniel had been approached for recruitment by a covert agency. Now the scenario that had seemed like the catalyst to tragedy is taking place again. Outside her son Danny’s office, Perry hears a familiar voice she’d overheard the day before Daniel disappeared, giving an identical recruiting pitch to her son. Horrified, she vows this cipher won’t get him...but he can lead her to Daniel. When she finds the man Roan Emory in Chicago, she has to face the fact that Daniel had willingly given up her, their love, and the child he’d never known she was carrying.

Roan is a man on the edge with the face of a fallen angel and the heart of a machine. Not feeling is how he’s existed all these years. Better not to feel when he can't change his circumstances. He’ll never be free of the Network. Even if they willingly let him go, their enemies will see him as collateral. His presence outside could cripple them. Only legitimate death can free him. Ironically, though he’s found his heart again with Perry, he knows the only one who can save their son from the same fate that destroyed their lives is Roan Emory—the most dangerous man in the world.

The previous Book, Bounty On A Rebel's Heart, had me thinking the author might be heading towards more mainstream romantic expectations. As the first chapter unfolded in Dead Drop, my throat constricted with tension and my breath labored with anticipation. The feelings that grabbed me in the previous books are back, stronger than ever. This time we're seeing a different perspective - the repercussions The Network leaves behind once someone is "recruited". Once again, emotional drama embraces pain, hope, passion, anger and betrayal as Ms. Wiesner sharpens our focus on Perry and her son Danny and what they went through once her husband and Danny's father, died.

Perry is cool. She's a strong and tough woman who is equally strong in her love and devotion to her son as well as to her job. I was tickled that she got away with what she did to Angelo for as long as she did. I felt like cheering, "You go, girl!"

I appreciated how well Perry's character was written, although there was one point where I wondered, "Would someone be devoted to someone who was considered and accepted as dead for as long as Perry's character had?". It made me think. It made me contemplate how I felt about my own loving relationship. If I had Perry's training and keen sense of observation keeping in mind the field she was in, could I have done and felt the same way? I have to say,'yes'. I also think that Perry has much in common with women whose husbands or sons are MIA in any military conflict.
I find Karen's depiction in that regard quite astute. Whether she planned that or not, I don't know. But in my opinion, that's pretty powerful.

As for the hero? It still astounds me that Roan Emory is a white hat guy.
He has a lot of issues, most of them The Network gave him. What do you do when you’re the enemy, but not? How do you feel when you are revealed as a White Hat guy but no one believes you? Coming to accept Roan as a hero wasn't as hard to do as I thought it would be. Why? Because Karen found the perfect foible. The key to any romance reader's heart is a truly tortured and conflicted hero who has known love and through no choice of his own, had it ripped from him. And when he's been brutally trained and programed to turn his back on a true love he'd already possessed to become a creature of duty? When he's faced with that reality, what is there left to live for?

The Network never allows agents to retire back into the world. In no way can I see the character of Roan Emory chained in such a way and still keep his sanity. Once upon a time, I was cheering for his demise. This time I was cheering for Roan to succeed in his mission. Because this time, it was personal.

Remember too, thanks to The Network's ice maiden, Shannon Mckee, and her denial of emotions, she destroys any hope of hope and I think she's as worse an enemy as the terrorists. Heck, even Frankenstein found love and emotion. Nature can be delayed but not denied.

And Angelo? I'm keeping my eye on him. He has me warming up to him in a big way in this book. I hope the rug doesn't get ripped out from under my tender appreciation of his character.

The Organizational Hierarchy, is again touched upon in the story and is explained more thoroughly in Dead Drop. It's like one of those genealogy charts, but better.

After all is said and done, Dead Drop met my romance book needs. It embraced strong and pure passion and love, it held my absolute attention with its suspense and high tech wonders and the characters made me care while I cried, bit my nails and ate lots of chocolate as I read wide-eyed while wondering if love, Perry, Roan, Angelo and Danny would survive.

Dead Drop is dead on. And I'm ready for more.

Reviewed by: Xeranthemum