Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: With No Remorse

With No Remorse

by Cindy Gerard
Book 6 of Black Ops, Inc. series

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

We’re nearing the end of the Black Ops series and Ms. Gerard has brought the conflicts back to familiar ground for our Black Ops boys; this particular installment brings the boys to Sierra Leone for With No Remorse’s final confrontation. Sierra Leone, if we recall, is where the series began it’s “fifteen years ago” flashback from Show No Mercy, in which Bryan Tompkins, a fellow Task Force Mercy member was killed in a mission gone FUBAR. Following this catastrophic tragedy, the leader of the now disbanded Task Force Mercy decides to take his career into a private contracting agency to operate the same covert ops, but on his own terms with the proper eyes and intel propelling his missions. He invites the former Task Force Mercy members to join him once they split from Uncle Sam’s military.

And that was the birth of Black Ops, Inc.

(Yeah, I know, it’s a little late for back story now, but whatevs.)


While we won’t truly touch upon the death of Bryan Tompkins and a conclusive resolution for the Sierra Leone incident until the next book, With No Remorse gives us some nibbles of what’s to come by bringing the BOIs to this country that only serves to remind them of tragedy and heartache. Just as well, our last BOI, Joe Green’s story in Last Man Standing (of course), begins his own personal mission in this installment when he discovers something significant about Bryan’s death.

With No Remorse begins with quite the bang with the action starting almost immediately upon Luke “Doc Holliday” Colter’s introduction in chapter one: ”Luke Colter’s number one rule of self-preservation: Don’t ignore the itch.”

Following his instinctive “itch”, the train that our BOI medic is traveling on is suddenly detained by gunmen mercenaries who are out to find a specific someone who happens to be international supermodel Valentina Chamberlin… who, of course, just happens to be napping on the seat across the aisle from Doc when the train comes to its unscheduled screeching halt.

His hero instincts kicking in, Luke immediately dispatches of the two gunmen and shucks Valentina off of the train in order to both help her get away from the mercenaries hired to kidnap her as well as to get the rest of the guns away from the innocent passengers on the train. In characteristic Cindy Gerard style, the suspense begins immediately as our two main characters run with gunmen in hot pursuit.

And so begins a long hike across the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Peru where Luke learns that Valentina is a stubborn and sometimes bitchy, ice princess who has a bad case of bad judgement and decision-making skills. Okay… well, he doesn’t think so--he believes she’s just running on adrenaline and is frightened and so is acting all impatient and bratty and rude. I, personally, thought she could have been a little nicer to the guy who just saved her ass.

Of course, this only gives Valentina the chance to develop throughout the rest of the story (which she does and which appeases me enough to stop being irritated with her by half-time because she does start realizing the reality of her situation and grows stronger for it). Luke also learns that someone, somewhere, speaking Korean, is determined to take Valentina alive, but for whatever purpose, of course, we don’t find out until we join with the rest of the BOIs and start doing some research.

It turns out that Valentina and her now ex-husband’s frequent trips to Sierra Leone to help those in need by distributing food and other necessities plays a big part in a North Korean weapons deal.

I mean, of course, the story for the day is yet another global conspiracy and possible act of terrorism… or something like that (I should probably verse myself better in politics and current events). And while I’m making noise about the plot and about Valentina, I will admit that I did immensely enjoy this book, much like I’ve enjoyed all of the Black Ops books since the beginning. The action and the suspense really helps propel the story forward, and while a few things may or may not make too much sense to me, the plot and the telling are interesting enough that I just as soon enjoy the book and be happy with it.

Nonetheless, it’s a great plot device and a good story to follow. Again, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of the Cindy Gerard story progressions, and since I love her characters so much, I give leeway to anything that seems less than ideal.

Luke Colter is a friendly, sweet, and fun guy… he’s a different kind of friendly charming than, say Papa Bear Savage. And he’s a different kind of flirty fun than Johnny Duane Reed. He’s his own kind of interesting, which is great because even while brooding about his life-altering moment of near death, he still manages to exude a shine of strange realistic, yet jokey FEELS that make him extremely endearing.

Oh, there were FEELS here alright! Doc got me all wound up and in love with him before I even realized it.

The way he takes care of business despite his reservations and his self-doubts, and the way he takes care of Valentina… Again, all of his actions and reactions and just him in general are endearing to the point of warm fuzzies in my heart.

Valentina, on the other hand, had started off a bit cold and stubbornly TSTL. And to top it off, I just feel like she has all the wrong ideas about how to be independent and strong. Her logic also gets a little bit skewed with how she feels she needs to do certain things in certain ways to take control of her life for herself. While I understand the need to be in control of your own life, and I understand the need to feel strong enough to stand up by yourself… I also understand being a strong and smart person for yourself as well.

If you’ve come across a man such as Luke Colter who has saved your butt again and again and you’ve decided that you can trust him, and you also know that he has the skills and the resources to get you safely out of danger, then you really should just continue to rely on that professional to get you where you need to be. Instead, she actually seems kind of ungrateful, going behind Luke’s back to try to control her own safe travel, obviously putting herself in danger again before she’s even out of the fire.

Pride is one thing. Needing to feel strong and in control is one thing. But none of that matters if you get yourself killed in the process.

I mean, there are times to be independent and strong, and there are times when you need to know when to rely on someone who knows what he’s doing to do his job. Get yourself safely back on American soil, hire your own security detail when you get there, if you have to, THEN take steps to take control back into your life.

Or maybe I just missed something somewhere.  And it's also possible I've got an extreme bias for my BOIs.

But it also still kind of irked me that she continued to withhold vital information when her life was at stake. Sometimes being too stubborn for your own good can get you killed.

But anyway, Valentina grew on me and developed to realize the severity of her situation and took measures to aide her own survival in the right directions. So I’m square with her now.

But, to be honest, this installment of the Black Ops series is really all about our Doc Holliday. Luke Colter runs this show, and despite his few moments of out of character panic, he is still the heart of With No Remorse and makes this book what it is.

Once again, with the arrival of the rest of our BOI team members, I get giddy and start grinning like a fool. I know Johnny Duane’s dialogue before his name is even mentioned. I know what he’s going to be jokey about before he even opens his mouth. Of course, he might have gotten a little out of hand in this book with the jokes, but I’ll let it slide because he’s Johnny Duane and I love him.

Also, this doesn’t hurt:
”Hey, Tink,” Reed called to his wife. He’d given up on the poker game and was cradling the little pink bundle that was Mariah Savage [Wyatt’s daughter] in his arms. “Look how cute she is. I think I want one. S’pose we can stop by Walmart and pick up one just like her?”

Crystal glanced up from her cards and gave her husband a look. “Three o’clock feedings. Smelly diapers. Responsibility.”

“Oh. Right,” Johnny said with a thoughtful look. “I’d have to grow up.” He kissed the baby’s little pink cheek and handed her back to her mother.”

How much do I want to bet that Tink and Johnny Duane are the next pair getting pregnant and it’s totally going to happen in the last book? And Johnny Duane is totally going melt like goo about it?

Finally, With No Remorse also introduces a new player to the Cindy Gerard Romantic Suspense world who is supposed to be presented in the next series following Black Ops, Inc.. Mike Brown is a rogue pilot with his own sketchy business, but he used to be the guy who flew the BOIs in and out of missions before they had been BOIs. If I’m not mistaken, I believe we’ll be getting a look into the life of the set of Brown brothers in the One-Eyed Jacks series (which I’ll be starting into soon).

This is how I really know that the series is coming to an end so that a new story with a new set of revolving characters can begin their adventures. (I may or may not start getting emotional soon.)

Final Thoughts: (Finally, I suppose, because this review turned out longer than I’d expected). With No Remorse was just as enjoyable and exciting as the rest and Luke Colter is one helluva guy. While the romance was a bit insta with much too fast development into love than I normally like, I may or may not have cringed a few times. But in the end, the romance was still a sweet and steamy one, all at the same time, so I have no complaints.

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in February 2015.

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