Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-234913-2
Romantic Suspense, 2017
Final Exit is an entry in Lena Diaz’s Exit Inc. series, which revolves around our special FBI dudes out to take down the rogue assassins of EXIT Inc. These rogue people, called Enforcers because they are all so cute like that, did bad things under some power-hungry money-grubby leaders. If you listen to our Enforcer heroine Bailey Stark, though, a couple of bad seeds that led to the deaths of some people here and there shouldn’t be used as a justification to take them all down. Doesn’t they killing all those people in our countries as preemptive measures before they strike back at America counts for something?
Anyway, Kade Quinn is the one in charge of taking the Enforcers down, and it’s personal to him, this mission, because they killed his wife. But that’s okay, Bailey is hot so yay. As for Bailey, even when she’s running for her life from him, she can still notice how hot he is, how his clothes didn’t hide his muscular physique, so yay. The plot thickens here, because Bailey is adamant that there is something funny going on in the FBI, as her apprehended colleagues vanished without trace, possibly killed. Hmm, can Quinn and Kade get to the bottom of this, in addition of getting to one another’s bottom as well? Okay, that’s really awful, but I’m grasping at straws trying to make this one seem interesting.
I mean, yes, this is a competently told tale of romantic suspense, but I have a hard time getting into it because, as you can probably guess if you have known my tastes after a while, this one has a fake kick-ass heroine. Bailey starts out all, oh, watch as she poses like a badass diva, but the moment she has to actually do something…
Oops, she hits him at his wounded leg to get away from him… she feels guilty! She may be a bad-ass assassin, or so the author wants me to believe, but she is actually a superheroine! She signed up to do good, and everyone she kills was conveniently enough a bad egg, a threat to the USA (which also means a threat to the world, of course), so people, don’t hate her, please. The author will be hurt if you think of Bailey as, oh, an actual assassin, because that would be so not nice. Oh, and when she is flustered. her face turns red and all the guys she confront can see that. How did this woman kill anyone again? Maybe she wears a paper sack with a smiley face over her head so that no one can catch that she’s all worried and sad when she does the bang-bang-bang thing.
Even better, this story conforms to the same old gender roles where our kick-ass heroine continuously plays the weaker role compared to the hero.
He could have handcuffed her and been done with his mission, on to the next Enforcer. But he hadn’t. Could she really doubt him anymore?
He’d saved her from a sniper.
He’d saved her from the man in the bushes at his house who’d been about to shoot her.
He’d figured out that she’d follow him this morning and had planned to face her one-on-one. That was obvious to her now.
In other words, he could have screwed her incompetent ass during any of the numerous moments when she acted way out of a character for someone supposed to be the Enforcer that has eluded Kade all this while, but he didn’t, so yay, love. There are many moments while reading this book that I feel like weeping, although I’m not sure whether I’d be weeping for myself for having to read such a story or for the heroine for being made into such an embarrassment by the author. And I wonder whether the author deliberately made the heroine to be this way, or was it unintentional?
At any rate, this is a competently written story, but the cringe factor is too strong for me to overlook.