Deadly Game by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was another great story in the GhostWalkers series! I was really looking forward to reading this book since I finished Conspiracy Game, but some reviews warned me it wasn't going to be a "comfortable" read so I waited until I was in the right mood. I'm glad I did, because there are some very "disturbing" torture scenes in this book. Thankfully, forewarned is forearmed. :)
Ken Norton is a deadly sniper, member of the elite Ghostwalkers, and a very, very dark and tortured hero. He has scars all over his body - yes, even there - due to several nasty torture sessions inflicted on him when he was taken prisoner during a rescue mission that went wrong in Conspiracy Game. Deadly Game opens with Ken and his twin brother Jack on another mission, one that goes wrong the minute they realize there's another team of GhostWalkers in the area. Friend or foe? They can't afford the time to find out, so Ken doesn't hesitate to shoot the other team's sniper. But somehow the shot doesn't kill the sniper, and Ken soon finds out that the sniper is Marigold Smith, the long lost sister of his twin brother Jack's wife Briony. Not knowing if Mari is an ally or enemy, Ken and Jack capture her and take her with them.
Mari has worked with Dr. Whitney - yes, the Mad Evil Doctor is alive, no surprise here - all her life, trained since childhood to be the perfect soldier and subjected to all kinds of testings, exercises and procedures to enhance her natural psychic powers. She was OK with it, since she didn't know any other way of life, until Dr. Whitney stepped over the line and decided to start his "breeding program", making all "his" women prisoners and encouraging his male soldiers to impregnate them, with or without their consent. Now Mari just wants to stop Dr. Whitney's madness but knows she can't do it alone.
Ken and Mari are strongly attracted to each other from the start, due to Dr. Whitney's genetic manipulation, but trust is another issue. They don't know where the other stands, and Mari tries to escape from Ken more than once. It doesn't take long until he realizes he's falling hard for her, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. Ken knows he's extremely dominant and agressive, so he fears he won't be able to control his jealousy and temper around Mari. At the same time, he doesn't know if he'll be able to let her go. Obsession, thy name is Ken. And that's where I had a problem with this book...
I think Ken loved Mari more than she loved him. Maybe I need a psychiatrist, but I wanted to see her as desperate as he was when it came to their relationship. Up until the end, I got the feeling that he would kill himself if she left him, while she would be sad but OK. I know, obsession isn't the basis for a healthy relationship but, seriously, this is Romancelandia and Ken deserved to have his obsession returned.
As usual in any GhostWalkers book, this story was action-driven, fast-paced, and filled with several thrilling moments that kept me glued to the pages. CF does know how to write fighting scenes. The torture scenes and the almost-rape scene weren't easy to read but, like I said before, forewarned is forearmed.
I'm a big fan of the GhostWalkers series, so I was kind of preconditioned to love this book. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Make no mistake, I really liked Deadly Game and I'm still a fan of the series, but the overall story arc took a turn in this book I'm not particularly happy with. What I always loved about this series was the fact that it was PNR with a "realistic" vibe. I mean, I suspend disbelief completely when I read PNR, as I don't belive in vampires, shapeshifters, and the alike - no matter how much I enjoy reading about them :) -, but the psychic world built by CF in the 1st books of the GhostWalkers series wasn't that far from possible - at least, to my open and delusional mind, LOL - so I was a bit bummed when the concept of inserting animal DNA into human beings was introduced into the mix. Now the series isn't only about people with psychic powers anymore, and the "realistic" vibe is gone. While I'm all for an author introducing twists and turns to keep a series fresh and interesting, I was slightly disappointed with the path CF has chosen here.
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