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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hypnotized by Karen Wiesner

Hypnotized: Incognito Series Book 10 by Karen Wiesner
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short (121 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Dr. Sherry Mansfield is a talented hypnotist who possesses the ability to use the power of suggestion in an eerie, supernatural way. When she sends the Network a message through a suicide bomber that she wants to escape her abusive husband—the leader of a small terrorist group—they offer her a deal: They’ll rescue her from her husband if she’ll use her special skill for them in the pursuit of justice. The Network also fears that a rival terrorist faction will target Dr. Mansfield, wanting to use her unusual gift for evil the same way her husband’s group does. Network operatives—and former secret lovers—Noah Harlow and Rhiannon Murray must rescue Dr. Mansfield to keep the world at large from falling into jeopardy.

Emotional investment and sympathy for the heroine grips and twists your heart as early as the opening scene in Hypnotized, the tenth book in the Incognito series by Ms. Wiesner.

Intermixed with a tale of suspense and intrigue is the very personable story of Rhiannon. She had a life changing event that turned her beliefs upside down and sideways. What she accepted of her life and of herself no longer holds true and now she’s on a very difficult journey of discovering what and who she wants for and in her future. Not easy when we’re talking about The Network, the super secret agency that produces more heroes and heroines the world will never know. She embraced the old company policy that falling in love meant corruption of their efficiency and was to be avoided – with dire results if caught breaking the rule. She is now willing to embrace the tantalizing new option in The Network, that love can be openly pursued and enjoyed – but there is a glitch. The one man who Rhiannon would dare to test the new policy with is stuck like a burr to the old policy, and it’s breaking her heart. But true to the strength of character that Ms. Wiesner imbues her female agents with, Rhiannon is another woman who gets the job done while hiding the torment inside of her. The big question is how is she going to get her man? How can she get him to embrace and believe the new policy of tolerance is real?

Noah is a stubborn, over-protective, self-sacrificing professional who doesn’t recognize love even when it’s smacking him aside the head. He has all the internal self-dialogue to prove to this reader that he really does love Rhiannon but his mental blinders are so thick, he can rationalize it all away. Noah is a strong, principled man who has her under his skin so bad, he turns Neanderthal when he sees a threat to his mate. And he still rationalizes it away. It was romantic torture and quite comical in a warped sort of way. And when he tries to meet her emotional needs? He’s so guy – stoic, fervent, assured and a hurt puppy because he still didn’t get it. Noah is so tight he’s going to break. Watching it unfold is fascinating agony.

The internal conflicts aside, the threat to life and security comes from a compelling source; the ability for someone to hypnotize people into doing terrorist acts. The choice of unwilling victims is a bit disturbing. I’ve found that Ms. Wiesner does not shy away from controversial subjects. She tackles them head on and solves them in a way I wish were really possible. The research involved to make this seem plausible had to have been astounding. The possibility that someone somewhere could actually think of doing these vile things raised the hair on my arms as I read. The build-up of suspense during the tale kept me turning the pages because the villain is a stroke of genius. Dialogue is crisp, fast moving and authentic sounding. My adrenaline was pumping when the plot picked up speed and raced towards the exciting battle and it’s pivotal outcome.

As I’ve come to expect, Ms. Wiesner’s grasp of the perfect kind of HEA for each of her characters’ personalities and situations is spot on. When finally Noah and Rhiannon overcome external and internal obstacles, it’s satisfying and romantic. Who knew Noah had it in him? Hypnotized kept me riveted, emotionally invested and entertained all the while expecting and getting a well rounded expertly told tale. It’s adventure from the comfort of your couch.