Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Book Review] The Very Secret Weapon

Title: The Very Secret Weapon
Author: Tillman Gillson
Date Published: December 1, 2008
Publisher: BASCOM Hill
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Mystery

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Book Information:
Alex is as knowledgeable about Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Hermes, and Christian Dior as she is about Glock and Sig Sauer. Come along on a breathtaking race through a world of glamour and danger with a truly new kind of covert agent. She is a woman who not only loves her work but also has fully enjoyed a relationship free life until she meets a virile, mercenary who adds a great deal to her sex life and ropes her into love.  

''...This one's going to be trouble...'' 
Alex had this first impression when she met Simon Hewitt. As one of her country's very secret weapons, Alex has survived many difficult situations, often exercising her ''terminal abilities'' to eliminate threats to national security. She does it all while maintaining her facade of a chic Washington widow whose prime concerns seem to be shopping and socializing.
But this was one of a very few times when a man has threatened her life of romantic freedom and independence. While jetting around the world to be with this new lover, Alex finds herself up against the Russian Mafia, high priced assassins, and Arab terrorists.

Imagine a female James Bond and you get Alex - fashionable, sassy and more than capable of intel-gathering.

From the get-go, I had the impression that this book will be filled with adrenaline-pumping fight scenes against mafia groups, terrorists and the lot as most spy books do. However, as soon as I started reading, the action scenes came waaaay later because they were placed within the last quarter of the book.

First of all, this book is largely contemporary romance. Majority of the book alternated between Alex' intel-gathering and her growing relationship with Simon Hewitt. Oh, and shopping designer clothes and bags, too.  Their favorite shop is Hermes.

Story-wise, there wasn't really anything ground-breaking. In fact, the story is simple enough: a spy whose cover is being a socialite widow finds love in a man who shares the same trade as she does. She generally avoids relationships but is surprised to have found someone stable and completely compatible with her in the person of Simon Hewitt.

Character-wise, nothing ground-breaking either. I appreciate Alex, but she has that unrealistic quality in her. Simon, too. Truthfully, the characters didn't really grow on me. I only finished reading the book for the sole reason that it would be a waste to put it down.

Oh, and one thing that really bothered me when I was reading are the dialogues. They sound too stiff and formal. Sure, Simon could sound formal because he's British, but even Alex sounds too stiff, too.

All in all, this book gives a lot of details on how actual intel-gathering is done by covert agents. It's informative because the Author, as I found out from her Bio, worked for the CIA. But then again, while the book did have its highlights, it just didn't work for me.

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