Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q: All the Queen's Men

All The Queen’s Men by Linda Howard
Genre: romantic suspense

Linda Howard is an immensely popular writer - as you can tell from the size of her name vs the name of the book. Like many famous genre women (Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, etc), she started out in Romance (the only genre where, traditionally, being female wasn’t an obstacle to getting published), and eventually shifted into her own niche. She was a charter member of Romance Writers of America. Her first book was published in 1980, and she’s been pretty prolific – she has over fifty books in print, and a ton of short stories.
Linda Howard will always be one of my favorite authors, though for me, her last few books (entertaining as they were) don’t have quite the same unique freshness of most of the books she wrote in the late ‘90s through about 2007 or so. She seems to be moving into paranormals, though, so maybe she just got bored. She’s still an incredibly skilled storyteller, and I’ll still buy any suspense she writes, just in case that special spark comes back.
General premise The last time Niema Burdock met John Medina, she and her husband were part of John’s team on a CIA Black Ops mission to Iran. It went terribly wrong, Niema’s husband was killed, and afterwards Niema transferred to a stateside desk job.
Even though John is sure Niema blames him for her husband’s death, he can’t help keeping tabs on her. When he’s assigned to stop a French arms dealer who is supplying terrorists, he insists Niema is the only communications expert with the background and skills to help him infiltrate the dealer’s circle and plant surveillance bugs…

All The Queen’s Men is my favorite of Howard’s books. I liked the hero, the heroine, and the villain. But I would also recommend Up Close and Dangerous (a sabotaged private plane crashes on a snow-covered mountainside in the middle of nowhere), Cover of Night (the bad guys decide to hold up an entire “frontier” town), and White Lies (this is kind of an older one, so the hero is a bit, um, harsh, but the concept, far-fetched as it was, was well-executed).

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