Monday, June 1, 2015

ARC REVIEW: "Shattered Duty" by Katie Reus

Shattered Duty
by Katie Reus
Book 3 in the Deadly Ops series

When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.

As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself faced with an impossible choice: either put aside his need for revenge, or save the woman who’s reawakened his soul

Levi is a former Black Death 9 agent whose wife is tortured and murdered along with his unborn child.  Thinking that that NSA isn’t doing enough to bring her justice, he takes off on his own to track down her killers. He goes underground with no regard to the rules and regulations.  He has gone rogue.  In another operation, Agent Selene Wolfe is sent to track down and stop the top man who is about to commit a terrorist act using biological warfare.  Millions of lives are at stake.  Selene is a prodigy, having been brought into the NSA at a young age.  She is a computer whiz, sniper, and field agent.  Their paths converge when they start pursuing the same man.  

This book is primed to be an emotional rollercoaster.  Levi is so distraught over his wife’s brutal death, that he has turn off all emotion and avoids any intimate contact.  He is fairly single-minded in his purpose to get revenge.   Coming from a dark place, how will he find his way out? 

For me, the success of a redemption story relies heavily on the chemistry between the characters. Levi’s character carries most of the baggage.  He is emotionally void. She is a young, somewhat idealistic, trained assassin. He is attracted to her almost innocent perspective on life. Here lies my critique of the story.  I like both characters. Levi is hurting so deeply, I just want to give him a hug.  Selene is a young, kick-ass, agent who has been working under Wesley (the boss’) tutelage for six years. Having started training in her teens, she is a young member of the team.  Maybe it is my bias, but I thought that Levi’s character needed more mature mate/partner.  If not, then I needed more relationship development. I feel like there is a little too much insta-love, especially considering where Levi is coming from emotionally.  I can see the physical draw, but the emotional attraction is too superficial. 

However, as far as the suspense goes, this is one of Katie Reus’ best plotted stories.  The story is tightly woven with no extraneous side narratives to distract.  From the beginning to the end, the story is well laid out and highly suspenseful. For an added bonus, some of our favorite characters from previous books make an appearance.  And then the ending…oh, the ending…sheer perfection.  

Despite my criticism, I highly recommend this book.  Entertaining and thrilling, you won’t want to miss this latest addition to the series. 

Thank you to author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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