"Without Warning"

Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.

Daniel might be concerned, but he's not convinced that a bodyguard--and a female one at that--is necessary. A new attack and his niece's urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who's behind the intimidation and threats--before a would-be killer strikes again.
"Without Warning" is the second book in the Elite Guardians series (though easily standalone) by Lynette Eason. The novel follows two main characters, Daniel and Katie, who are faced with not only a "would-be killer" but also the memory of their pasts. Dubbed romance plus mystery/suspense, I was excited to read a book that wasn't the usual cookie-cutter inspirational fiction, but sadly the overall story and writing itself lacked the depth and detail to hold my interest, let alone keep me in suspense.

The book jumps right into the initial suspicious circumstances, when Daniel, working late, hears an intruder in his restaurant's basement and then finds a body hanged there, and later that same night learns his second restaurant has been burned to the ground. Katie quite literally walks onto the scene, when she happens to drive by the first restaurant after law enforcement has arrived, and stops to "investigate". While I have no doubt it's supposed to be a tense, heart-pounding situation, I was just wondering who these people even were, not worried they might be in danger. And, similarly throughout the whole book, I felt the story got ahead of the characters, trying to create intrigue without vested interest. More specifically, however, was the premise, which to me was unconvincing. Daniel is a Marine who has served multiple tours in the Middle East and is clearly capable, and while he personally doesn't hire the Guardians, including Katie, it seems incongruous that he would willingly agree to a team of women "protecting" him. If this was an attempt to push the feminist agenda, it was disappointingly, in my opinion, at the expense of the military's reputation. (Albeit, the bodyguards seemed more adept at knowing exactly what Daniel's niece, whom they also shadowed, was thinking or feeling, than saving anyone from actual harm. For instance, Katie spends fifteen minutes painstakingly defusing a bomb, and then cuts the detonator wires that are tied around someone's neck, barely escaping from the room before another bomb in the building goes off; so, why not just cut the wires in the first place and walk out?)

On a different note, the writing was marginal and at times distracting. Of course, I'm the first to admit I have high standards for writing. But throughout this book I kept coming across words or phrases that just didn't work (tears "leaked" from her eyes, for example), and I thought the dialogue was sometimes too grammatically correct, not reflective of how people actually speak. Also, I wondered at the use of "weapon" (rather than gun) in most cases; I wouldn't have chosen a word with a negative connotation, at least not when writing about the protagonists. More generally, as alluded to above, the characters are superficial and not well developed; what they say and do seems to be directed by the plot, rather than having "life" of their own.

If you want a quick read and don't mind overlooking (or don't notice :)) some plot and writing weaknesses, "Without Warning" is not a bad book. But, I couldn't really connect with the characters or get into the story enough to recommend it personally.

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.

No comments :

Post a Comment