In the line of fire…
OPERATION SHADOW WARRIORS
An ongoing U.S. military experiment to test the integration of trained female military operatives in live combat scenarios…
The Alpha Platoon. A unit of Navy SEALs stationed in the unforgiving dryness of Afghanistan…who just learned that their newest team member is a woman. But Bay Thorn has a spine of steel—and the chops to prove it. Without a team to back her up, however, she’s dead in the water. And her only ally is Gabe Griffin, a lone SEAL who is lethal, dangerous and unbearably attractive….
Between the open hostility from her team and the harsh Al Qaeda territory, Gabe is a lifeline for Bay. But mutual respect quickly grows into mutual attraction. And with each day and every assignment, the longing only deepens.
They mustn’t speak of it. Mustn’t act on it. Because in this line of work, falling in love can get you killed…
To start I’d like to mention something. I’ve seen some pretty heavy advertising for this book in various places, including RT Magazine, and they seem to have made a big mistake. They’re marketing it as a love story about two Navy SEALs named Gabe and Bay – and it totally sounds like it’s a gay romance.
This isn’t a gay romance – maybe the fairly conservative people in romance publishing didn’t even think of that when they made the ads…?!
This book is part of a series, and I read the one that comes after this before I read this one.
I regretted that decision at first, but now I’m glad I did, because if I’d read this first I wouldn’t have read the other one (spoilers later on).
Lindsay McKenna has been writing since the early bodice ripper days, and I think it shows. Some authors manage to evolve as the genre evolves, but this is a very old-fashioned book, with the world’s biggest Mary Sue as a heroine. Despite the very well-researched military aspect, these characters are not recognisable as twenty and thirty-somethings of today.
To be honest, I was expecting more suspense. It’s a brilliant concept for a series: gradually integrating women into America’s Special Forces. However, instead of focusing on the danger aspects, this is a sweet, sappy romance that just happens to take place in a military setting.
The whole book is basically Gabe admiring the perfection that is Bay. Right from the outset he has no issues whatsoever with using a female medic to help the SEALs out. He thinks she’s beautiful and wonderful and kind and perfect and he loves her and he wants her to have his babies. Even though she is a hillbilly of the highest order (think the hillbilly family in The Simpsons).
The first day she’s with them, the men challenge her to a shooting contest. Despite their intensive SEAL training, Bay beats the Navy SEAL SNIPERS in the contest.
And despite the fact many of the men object to her being there, they’re *all* won over two days later when she shares her mama’s cookies with them. Seriously. That’s all it takes and then they’re all best friends.
But even though she’s physically superior and better at all things military than the men in the Special Forces, soon after this Gabe finds her sitting in an orphanage, giving a bottle to a baby and surrounded by toddlers who love her so much they won’t leave her. He watches her, imagining her having his babies, and then walks over to her and says, “You look beautiful with a baby”.
If you’re not getting it yet, this isn’t a suspense book. It’s not a military romance as I’ve read before. This is granny romance for a different generation.
I think this author is about the same age as my mother, and I can’t imagine my mother liking this. I also can’t imagine other grandmother authors like Cindy Gerard writing like this (if you want excellent military romance, she is the author to read!). Some people move with the times, while others are stuck in the past. This book is thirty years out of date.
Now, I can go along with a bit of the sappy stuff, but another thing that was always in the back of my mind while I was reading was what is coming up in the next book. I don’t know why, but for some reason these characters get two books about them.
Here is where the spoilers start!
In the next book, Bay is kidnapped by the Taliban, where she is tortured for a few days and then raped so badly she is… bleeding profusely from various orifices… Then she is shot in the head, put in a coma and has amnesia.
It was beyond brutal and puts the relationship in this book in a different light. And while I’m okay with rape if it’s handled sensitively, in light of the theme of women trying to prove themselves against men, it seems a hell of a lot like punishment to “put women back in their place” and prove they have no business being in the Special Forces.
I was very lenient with reviewing the other book, but the more I think about it, the more upsetting it find it.
So, I really don’t think this is a good book. I think it’s a bad example of military romance, and I think it shows women in a terrible light.
Because, no matter how “perfect” Bay is when it comes to military things, in the end all she’s apparently good for is staying home and producing the hero’s babies.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.