Where Death Meets the Devil

L.J. Hayward. Riptide, $19.99 trade paper (381p) ISBN 978-1-62649-717-7
In this complicated romantic thriller, a spy and an assassin work both with and against each other as they deal with the secrets and lies inherent in their work. Jack Reardon is an SAS soldier turned undercover agent for the Meta-State, an intelligence-sharing operation of several nations in Southeast Asia and the Antipodes. He spent over a year infiltrating villain Samuel Valadian’s paramilitary organization only for his cover to be blown by Ethan Blade, one of the world’s top assassins. Once Ethan explained his reasons—and the two of them teamed up against Valadian, saving each other’s lives in the process—Jack slowly started to trust his unlikely ally. A year later, Jack has recovered from injuries sustained during the escape from Valadian’s forces and is ready to resume work as usual—and then Ethan turns up out of the blue and promises to reveal a mole within Jack’s agency. Hayward ratches up the suspense in this action-packed piece, with constant twists and betrayals on all sides to keep things unpredictable. The gradually mounting sexual tension between the leads, which explodes into scorching sex, adds another level of energy to the story, while parallel narratives of past and present allow surprises to be revealed at opportune times. Fans of tense action and smoldering romance will appreciate the emotional connection between Jack and Ethan; there’s plenty of chemistry and a great setup for future books. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 02/24/2018
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