Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Above Reproach by Lynn Ames

Publisher:                   Phoenix Rising Press

Above Reproach is book two in the Mission Classified series by Lynn Ames.  It’s another action/suspense story that reintroduces the reader to Vaughn Elliott, one of the major characters in the first book Beyond Instinct.

Sedona Ramos works for a government agency and sees satellite images from Iraq that she wasn’t meant to see.  A nuclear facility that she helped to deactivate years before is showing activity again.  Sedona immediately becomes the target of a group that goes high in the US government and that wants to stop her from revealing what she’s seen, but she’s able to reach the president first.  That leads to Sedona making contact with retired agent Vaughn Elliott and a hand-picked team of super agents.  They are tasked by the president to go to Iraq to find out what is going on and are hunted by killers the whole way.  Sedona has a secret power though that will guide and protect them along the way.

For people who have read many of Lynn Ames’ books, this one is difficult to evaluate.  It’s certainly far better than her first books, but it doesn’t show the promise or ability of her recent work, especially Beyond Instinct.  The dialogue isn’t very good between the characters and there’s never really a feeling of suspense in the story.  The “bad guys” are supposed to be super-secret plotters who have tremendous resources available to them, but they are extremely inept at stopping the agents from achieving their goal.  Vaughn and her group have little real trouble confusing and evading their opponents and getting into Iraq.  The way they deal with the facility is probably meant to show their level of training, but it doesn’t create the suspense that a reader would expect.  The rate that a relationship develops between Sedona and Vaughn doesn’t match with the feelings they each express about past relationships, so their situation doesn’t feel “real.”  The story might have been stronger if the relationship had been left out.  Finally, there is a supernatural aspect to the story that, for those who don’t believe in that type of thing, can be very trying and contributes to the disjointed feeling of the book.

Above Reproach is not a poorly written book.  For someone who is looking for a quick read that is fairly entertaining, it will do fine.  For anyone who has read Ames’ recent books, it doesn’t quite come up to the ability she has shown recently; therefore, the book may be somewhat disappointing.  For fans of suspense novels, this one is tepid and there are others that demonstrate the genre better.    Those who are Ames fans and follow her work will read and enjoy this.  Those who are genre fans may want to find something else.

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