Ivy, $6.50, ISBN 0-8041-1953-8
Romantic Suspense, 2001
Margaret Moore’s daughter Amy and her mother Eve are kidnapped by the Kazbekistani Extremists. Instead of telling the K-stani Extremists how high on the lame-o-meter charts their name is (you don’t see the IRA calling themselves Irish Militia, do you?), she decides to obey their orders and take the US K-stan Embassy hostage. But that woman imagines she’s smart when she asks an old flame, Lt John Nilsson to come negotiate with her and hopefully, help her.
That’s the main premise of this busy novel. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that The Defiant Hero is Hollywood action material, because I doubt even the hardened macho men could stand Meg’s whining. Likewise, I find myself waiting for the party to start and the story to grab me. When I close the book, I’m still waiting for the party to start.
Part of the problem with this story is that it is tired, period. Meg is a stereotype – married to a man ten years her senior because she didn’t know better and he was charming, and he turned out to be a cheating, lying bastard. Surprise. She wants to sleep with Nils after her then-husband mocked her and challenged her to, and she ended up weeping over Nils’s manly shoulders. In fact, Meg spends most of her time trying to stand up for herself, only to collapse in tears or close to in Nils’s arms. Nice rescue fantasy, I’m sure, but it gets tedious after a while.
The terrorist action is nice, but really, I’ve read it before. In this author’s Navy SEAL categories. Sure, here she is allowed to let loose and add in a few extra fuck you‘s here and there, but she is still retreading the road she herself paved. The romance between Nils and Meg is completely overshadowed by Meg’s save-me-save-my-family whine-o-rama and Nils attempt to rise above being a pale shadow of Ms Brockmann’s glory Navy SEAL heroes, but no dice there, honey.
The only moment I am hooked is when Eve tells of her childhood romance with Ralph, a man she never got even to first base with, but one she remembers all her life. Now, if she is the main star of this story (if Ms Brockmann tells Eve’s story instead of rehashing her Navy SEAL repertoire), The Defiant Hero may be worth something substantial.
The Defiant Hero sees the author resting her laurels and dishing out the same old stuff she has dished in her previous books, only of course, this time she gets to add in macho men-talk and lots more pages of Uncle Sam lording it over backward, pathetic Third World buffoons. I’ll just give it a Mediocre stamp. If this is a movie, it is more a Jerry Bruckheimer’s all flashy-pyrotechnics-no-substance stuff than anything else.