Private Maneuvers (Wingmen Warriors, #4) by Catherine Mann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my first book by Catherine Mann, and I will definitely put her on my list of go-to authors for military romantic suspense. What I really liked was that the military part of the equation in this book was the heroine, Darcy Renshaw, who is a pilot in the Air Force. She was a very likeable heroine--well-balanced with a soft, feminine side and a tough exterior. She was great getting along with the guys, but not too prickly where she was annoying. I liked her confidence, but I also appreciated her awkwardness as she tries to let Max know she's interested in him. I also liked the hero in this book, Max. He's a deep-cover CIA agent who happens to have a PhD in Marine Biology. I have an unrepentant fondness for intelligent guys, so he gets bonus points for being a scientist who's also a CIA agent.
I could understand and respect both character's baggage. Darcy was kidnapped at a young age and mentally tortured by her captors. Sense then, she's been afraid to let anyone get too close, and highly values her independence. Max is mourning his lost lover who got murdered in the line of duty as a CIA agent, taking his unborn child with her. Max blamed himself for not getting out of the life. Since then, he's kept women at a distance. But the attraction between them breaks down their barriers.
Ms. Mann has a very good, dramatic and descriptive writing style. She brought the tropical locale of Guam to vivid life for me. I could have been there on the island as I read this book. I found myself impressed with how she kept the narrative active and my interest engaged. I do have to say I felt the suspense conclusion was a little abrupt. I felt somewhat underwhelmed with the reveal on the villain. I was thinking, "That's all?". Also, I could have done with the brutal, wanton spider-killing part. I could understand Darcy's issues with spiders, but I felt bad for the critter. I certainly got why she took out the snake. I just wished the villain had more respect for animals instead of using them to terrorize Darcy and leading to their untimely demise. But otherwise, I thought this was a very good book. It's great to see a heroine who is in the armed forces, and is blazing her own trail in her military career, and a hero who is not at all threatened by her independence and proficiency in her field.
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